Unify It All With Converged Network
Remember Power Rangers? Yellow, White, Green, Blue, Pink – colorful suited superheroes who used to fight against evil villains and protect humankind. They each used to have their own superpowers, characteristics and Dinozords (robotic creatures with superpowers).
If this sends you on a nostalgia trip, then you would also remember how they used to assemble into a massive robot (called Dino Megazord), to bring together their abilities and form a powerful humanoid robot to fight the supersized monsters.
Well, that is not the only time when people/things/services have come together to serve a bigger purpose. We have also been using a single network for our network requirements, such as telephone, video and data communication. Different network services are coming together, making a big network provider – akin to Megazord.
This concept is known as a Converged Network – allowing network providers to offer every network service, such as voice, data and video, under a single network. Excited to learn more?
Rangers, be ready - this is the good version of Megazord, aka Converged Networks!
We are living in a world of devices. Our homes have become smart with smart devices such as smart bulbs, security cameras, voice assistants, smart locks, etc. If we followed the traditional methods, we would have configured separate network connections with tangled cables and a complex setup.
Now, all these smart devices can communicate through a central hub – a common network – thanks to the concept of a Converged Network! This convergence of networks lets you easily control and automate various aspects of networked devices.
In the early days of networking, networks used to carry only one type of data traffic. However, as technologies evolved over the years, VoIP (Voice over IP) came into the picture and networks were supposed to carry voice data as well.
A Converged Network is a provision when a single network fabric carries both data and voice data – just like our articles – carrying both interesting technical content and wholesome memes!
If you want to know about this new-age technological convergence, read on!
What Is A Converged Network?
While businesses are adopting various technologies rapidly, the different technologies are working together for a greater purpose. As the different devices needed to connect and communicate with each other, converging different technologies became evident.
As the word ‘Converged Network’ itself says, it is a convergence of networks that consolidates multiple IT components such as servers, storage, network infrastructure, automation tools and more. It is often called a converged network system (CNS) or an integrated network system (INS).
If we talk about how businesses utilize Converged Networks, network convergence centralizes the management of infrastructure and network components, making them integrated. This results in better resource utilization, increased overall productivity and minimized cost. Streamlined and efficient, right?
Now we know how Converged Network has eased out internet communications. However, networks have not been converged since day one (duh!).
It is time to visit the history books!
A Brief History Of Converged Network
According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives. The species that survives is the one that can best adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.
The idea behind the quote stands even today. Technologies came and passed by – what survived were the ones that could adapt to the changing environment.
Imagine you are in 1970, calling a friend through a headset. The dial tone and the telecom technology seem fascinating, right? While both technologies were evolving, it was inevitable that the industry would find synchronization where the telecom network and computing functionalities would exist within the same network.
A decade later, the concept of convergence came into the picture. However, the telecom providers and subscribers called it an ‘integration’ to describe their vision of having a single telephone line for different applications. You call it integration; I call it convergence. We aren’t the same!
It was the year 1996 and the world saw the very first Telecommunication Act as a fundamental document of network convergence in the US. Before that, the industry was characterized by a service-specific network with no competition. With the 1996 Act, the telecommunication market saw a flood of telecommunication service providers.
Over the years, the Telecommunication Act kept updating regulations to accelerate network convergence. Today, we live in an IoT (Internet of Things) world where the rate of convergence is increasing rapidly in volume and diversity. With the cloud coming to network convergence, it continues to transform as technologies evolve.
It feels like we have overcome the challenges to serve better, right? Now, answering your burning question - how does Network Convergence even work? Let’s go!
How Does Converged Network Work?
The biggest challenge of serving a Converged Network system is bandwidth utilization. When the users exchange data over a network, the network gets overwhelmed. Therefore, it is important to design the network with the right hardware devices to perform in the best way possible.
If we talk about how Converged Network solutions work across the sphere, they converge different technologies for different domains. In hospitality, it merges VoIP, high-speed internet access (HSIA), IP-based television (IPTV) and property management software, while in building services, it consolidates IoT networks attached to door lock controllers, lighting, intercoms and Wi-Fi access points. #ExampleTime
When it comes to the interconnection of different devices, it can be achieved through different techniques such as data cabling, data outlets, patch leads, network switches, etc. Along with sending and transmitting the data, the converged network also provides power to devices through a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch, meaning it can connect to hardware that needs a power supply.
This makes it pretty clear how Converged Network as a concept has brought a revolution to every industry possible. If it’s not yet clear, let’s talk about the real-life applications of Converged Networks.
What Are Real-life Applications of Converged Networks?
Converged Network has been such a game changer ever since that it has reached every corner of the tech industry. Here are the real-life applications of Converged Network:
Data And Multimedia Services
Transmitting data and multimedia services like file sharing, streaming media and online gaming through a unified network. This approach offers users a more comprehensive and seamlessly integrated experience.
Internet of Things
Incorporating IoT devices and services under a unified network framework opens a window of opportunities for Industrial IoT solutions. The integration eases data exchange and communication among these devices and other interconnected network services.
Business applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), have been using a singular network infrastructure. This results in heightened efficiency and enhanced adaptability for organizations.
If a business adopts a Converged Network, it must have checked upon the benefits because no business is done without considering benefits. Unless you’re a Power Ranger, then the only benefit you consider is social good and defeating evil!
What Are The Benefits of Converged Networks?
Here is the list of benefits of Converged Network that businesses are keen on (and you should too).
The Converged Network lets different devices deliver different services to users seamlessly, that too with stability and security. Activities such as casting videos and integrating mobile apps under the same network make the user experience wholesome.
As the security protocols and policies can be centralized, managed and implemented more easily, Converged Network becomes more secure than ever.
While a Converged Network shares resources, it also optimizes the network resources, making the network utilization efficient.
As all network services reside on a single physical network, deploying new network components is easy while implying the same routing and firewall policies.
Bundling data, voice and video services save transmission costs by 15% to 20% upfront. Apart from owning networking and communication devices, businesses can also save on maintenance and support costs.
Guess what? Businesses can keep relying on Converged Network for upcoming years because it is only getting better in the future.
The Future Of Converged Network
New technologies are set to merge within the Converged Network, uniting Wi-Fi, wired switches and WAN edges – making it a WAN Convergence. It will include features such as:
AI, the trend and future of every possible technology, will also open opportunities for Converged WAN networks. While AI will enhance the user experience, network troubleshooting will become efficient, making it easy to address the problems directly.
Convergence will also amplify security outcomes. With increasing endpoints, the network components will get more vulnerable than ever. However, a Converged Network with a unified control interface will safeguard the vital data, apps and services with limited authorization and zero trust security.
As discussed earlier, we are breathing in a world of gadgets. While every technology integrates with one another to smoothen human activities, Converged Networks will replace the traditional Machine-to-machine (M2M) or device-based networks.
This has been quite an adventure, from discussing the Power Rangers to the future trends. Alas, we have come to the conclusion of this episode!
In summary, Converged Networks revolutionize modern communication by integrating services into a unified infrastructure, streamlining operations and enhancing user experiences. Despite challenges, these networks are pivotal in shaping an interconnected future - from securing single cloud infrastructure control to simplifying edge networks.
Let’s remember we may not have the power to call ourselves a Power Ranger but when we converge, we can defeat any challenge – just like Converged Networks do!
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