Roughly 10 years ago I was lead network engineer designing and deploying the LAN infrastructure for a global investment bank’s new HQ in London. The network was state of the art with Gigabit Ethernet to the desk as well as ‘new’ technology such as wireless and IP Telephony.
At the outset of the project the CIO questioned our decision to flood wire the building, “Why can’t everyone connect using wireless?” he challenged. At the time the limited shared bandwidth of wireless was simply not adequate for the majority of users, especially the banks trading floor. It was a step too far, too soon. Whereas there was a desire to embrace new technology with wireless there was a reluctance from the voice team to transitioning from a traditional PBX to an IP solution. A great deal of effort was expended in proof of concept labs to gain their trust in IP Telephony.
Spring forward 10 years and wireless technology is ubiquitous in the home, public spaces and across the enterprise. It is no longer seen as complimentary to a wired LAN but an essential part of the network. VoIP is not just the standard way to deliver telephony, but it has morphed into Collaboration, where voice is just one element along with video, content sharing and messaging that is transforming the way we communicate. My previous CIO would be pleased his vision of a wireless office is now possible.
In addition the Internet and cheaper, faster bandwidth has allowed companies to break beyond the confines of office walls providing greater flexibility for users and IT infrastructure alike. Hosted solutions and remote and mobile working are essential elements of today’s IT strategy. As a result the LAN has evolved and so too has the way we need to think about security. Data and cyber security can no longer be confined to the edge of the corporate network, but requires to be integral to all aspects of IT.
All of this means network engineers can no longer rely on routing and switching skills alone. As a professional services leader at Natilik, key to my role is to continually evolve a team of inspiring experts that are multi-faceted, incorporating technical capability across network, wireless, security, datacentre and cloud and a deep understanding of how these architectures complement and interact with each other. Confidently guiding our clients through their transition to the new IT landscape needs both vision and cross-architectural experience.
This blog was written by Ian Anderson, Professional Services Director, Networking, Security & Data Centre, Natilik.