The difference a year makes is incredible – especially when that year is 2020.
These 12 months have changed everything about how we live and work, ushering in new trends and accelerating existing ones, not least of all the challenges stemming from remote employees and reduced staffing.
Spoiler alert: It’s all about hybrid networking
If 2020 has taught us here at Zyxel the value of anything, it’s hybrid networking. Indeed, this is the end-goal that all networking trends are working in service of.
Hybrid networking is the use of two (or more) network technologies to create links between users, devices, and sites – and that’s why it’s so perfect for 2021. With more dispersed employees than ever, businesses have some users connecting via Ethernet, some using WiFi, and other through 4G LTE/5G wireless technology. By using technology such as cloud networking or SD-WAN, traffic from different connections can be managed and directed into your business’s central network with ease.
Which network technologies are optimal for use in new hybrid networks in 2021 and beyond? Let’s take a look.
1. Heads in the cloud
Cloud networking has been one of the less celebrated heroes of 2020, enabling smooth and secure connectivity for remote or home working. Its centralized architecture has quietly powered companies to realize remote management of network devices like firmware upgrade or troubleshooting. it’s been shown to be so useful under circumstances in which travel, and group gatherings are severely restricted.
In the past 12 months, we’ve seen firsthand the business-saving potential of the cloud, particularly its reduced networking costs and ubiquitous accessibility. It’s because of these competitive advantages that we’re expecting the Covid-induced uptick in cloud-based digital transformations to continue well into next year.
See it in action: Nebula is a user-friendly cloud solution that lets you control and manage APs, switches, and gateways all from one place.
2. World-changing WiFi 6
The abrupt global scramble to remote working demonstrated the importance of good home WiFi. Unfortunately, as millions of people discovered, it also laid bare the failings and vulnerabilities of the average home’s wireless: dropping out of video calls, an hour to upload an attachment, and endless headaches when trying to collaborate on a work file.
With WiFi 6, these problems end overnight. Its multi-gigabit speeds can deliver more-than-enough bandwidth to not just your laptop but all the devices of the modern home. It will also ensure faster, more consistent connections for every user, even in high-density environments with more connected devices.
The problem, at least when the pandemic hit, was that there were few WiFi 6-ready routers or other devices. The good news is that’s changing fast, with a slew of compatible equipment released in 2020 and ready to launch in 2021.
See it in action: Wait no more – Zyxel already has a diverse line of WiFi 6 access points catering to home and business use.
3. We’re ready for 5G
There’s unanimous agreement that the latest cellular networking standard is poised to start a new digital revolution.
5G networks are the enabling technology for new services and business opportunities because of its high speed, low latency and massive connectivity. For businesses, it’s the key to ensure stability network performance in any environment.
Even with 5G infrastructure in place, 5G-capable equipment is necessary to boost proliferation of 5G applications.
That’s why it’s so exciting to see an increasing amount of 5G-ready equipment hitting markets, catering to use cases from small offices to automated factories.
4. Cybersecurity demands more than a VPN
One danger from the pandemic-induced changes to how we work and connect is cybersecurity. And it’s not as easy to fix as some think.
Employees working from home are significantly more vulnerable to cyberattacks, which in turn are detected and addressed much later than in a workplace setting.
Some businesses have sought to address these dangers by requiring employees to connect via a VPN. While a good start, this isn’t a cure-all, as a misconfiguration can expose sensitive data and leave devices vulnerable to DDoS and other attacks. It’s a fact that we’ve seen more clients come to realize in the back-end of the pandemic, with greater demand for comprehensive firewall solutions they can use to supplement their VPN access.
See it in action: USG FLEX provides Unified Threat Management (UTM) and Hospitality bundled service to get the protection and connectivity.