Convergence is moving to the WAN: lessons learned from the office

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As we know, our worlds revolve around data flow and connectivity. Nearly every part of our lives is facilitated in some way by the internet. From banking to business calls, streaming to shopping and from gaming to global communications, internet connectivity is at the heart of everything we do. 

For the companies that provide us with these services, naturally, network connectivity services are fundamental to their operations too. However, managing and monitoring all the network services required is a costly and inefficient task.

For about a decade now, convergence network services have been widely used in organisations across the globe to ease these demands within corporate functions. These convergence networks ultimately improve the end service for users whilst aid the management of them within the company. 

Given the persistent rise in connectivity requirements, there is now a move toward extending the use of convergence out from corporate environments - from LAN functions -  to WAN uses. We can apply the lessons we have learnt from LAN convergence to make use of this concept to help fulfil our growing connectivity demands as they grow wildly beyond the LAN environment.

Let’s re-cap what convergence networks are and how they are used in LAN

In this instance, convergence services merge multiple existing network systems into one, single physical network.  All forms of information including data, voice, video and media are delivered by the use of one provider, instead of all these forms being managed and carried separately on their own networks. So, in other words, companies can use a single network from one provider, for multiple communication services which usually would require different services. Or, In other words, one company provides services for all forms of communication.

What are the benefits of convergence networks?

Above anything, having all your communication services on one network offers convenience and flexibility that is not possible by using separate infrastructures. Different forms of information can be re-engineered to provide a better, more flexible service to the user. For example, telephone networks can transmit data, and video and cable networks can offer voice services.

Users can access a broader range of services and choose among more service providers. The service provider they may enjoy using for one circuit can be extended out to cover all requirements, which makes network management more accessible. It also means that all network services - data, video, voice- can be delivered with consistent performance, and the required security measures can be universally applied across all data connections. 

Applying the convergence concept to WAN

Voice, data, video - the now merged corporate functions within a local area network - are no longer the challenge. 

Companies of today require multiple single circuit networks that connect them to the various environments needed to provide their services and keep revenue streams open. This goes beyond the need for a separate phone and data network. They will likely have one circuit to their data centre, one for their offices, another independent circuit to their cloud provider - perhaps, even multiple, given the increase in cloud computing - and not to mention a separate route for their customers. Their WAN is becoming increasingly complex and far-reaching.

For the network managers, the CIOs and the people in charge of managing a company’s network, this gets costly both in time and money. The logistics behind maintaining separate routes, likely with various providers and therefore varying SLAs, contracts and considerations, make this a gigantic task and plausibly results in a lower quality of service. 

The convergence concept can be applied to this challenge. Through just a single or pair of ports, all services can be served via a sole network through a singular, chosen provider. 

The future of network architecture lays in the development of intelligent and innovative infrastructure designs, to move away from repetitive, monolithic circuits that only serve a single purpose. Convergence networks streamline your connectivity requirements and allow that extra focus and attention to be applied elsewhere. The added efficiency and consistency within the network will, in turn, improve a user’s experience and provide the same benefits as mentioned before.  




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