Managing the Modern WAN

December 13, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Today’s enterprise networks are utilizing more and more platforms and services, including cloud and multi-cloud computing. With all of these additions, there is an increasing amount of ground to cover and more challenges to face for today’s wide area networks (WANs). Here are a few tips to managing the modern WAN.

 

The cloud computing services that are becoming increasingly popular are not always easy to navigate. Each cloud operates in its own way and has its own intricacies, so educating yourself on the ins and outs is imperative to being able to successfully managing a modern WAN. When in doubt, jump in feet first. Sometimes the best way to learn how to manage a network in a multi-cloud environment is to just do it. Setting up a lab for research allows technicians to experiment and gather firsthand knowledge, and it’s usually not an expensive investment.

 

When it comes to actually implementing all of the new technology coming to market, integration can get tricky. Making sure that the legacy local area networks (LANs) and the new WAN platforms all work cohesively is a challenge. Fortunately, new products that enable software-defined WAN are also being developed and can be very useful in easing integration difficulties, especially for large networks. In a perfect world, all parts of a WAN would have end-to-end connectivity for seamless integration. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Thus, network administrators need to be able to adapt and be well-versed in alternative connection options such as load balancers, overlay networks and WAN accelerators. With a little savvy, you can achieve the performance goals of your WAN network while also staying within budget parameters.

 

Just like all other aspects of the world of technology, the parts that make up the modern day WAN are also changing. By staying current and educating yourself about new technology, and keeping a few tricks up your sleeve, you can integrate those changes and keep your network up to date.

 

5 Tips for Building a Modern Data Center

November 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The world of technology is always changing, and the same goes for data centers too. Data centers play a critical role in networking and have evolved to allow businesses better access to their data with improved usability while being easier to manage. Now, they must also adapt to be cost-effective, efficient and responsive with the technology they support. Accelerating business demands beg for more storage and resources, and new technologies require improved infrastructure. Gone are the days of bigger is better, what we need now are smarter, more efficient, easier to manage and scalable data centers. Here are 5 ways to usher in the modernization of the data center:

 

1.      Make Appliances Multi-Task

 

Instead of having dedicated resources for only one purpose, combining the computing and storage capabilities of devices into one makes data centers more economical and efficient.  This allows the data center to be designed with a single tier that can fulfill all of the server and storage needs of any application. Plus, it improves scalability without acquiring additional or specialized equipment.

 

2.      Flexibility is Key

 

Being nimble and flexible are important qualities to have in today’s world of technology, and that applies to data centers too. A modular data center design is more flexible, simpler and allows for easy additions/removals as needed, which allows for better management of resources. One approach that’s gaining traction is combining storage and computing tiers into a single appliance (as referenced in tip #1), the overall data center design is streamlined  into a single console which makes management easier than ever.

 

3.      Consumer Focus

 

In addition to multi-tasking and flexibility, data centers also have to be more resilient and reliable than before. Today’s data centers have to support traditional technology as well as newer virtual desktops infrastructures (VDI) and mobile devices. This has led to a more consumer-focused approach that allows employees to access desktops, applications and data from within the data center via any device, anywhere. This modern approach also allows IT admins to better manage a rage of consumer-based workload demands as well as VDI systems, storage data services and existing virtual applications.

 

4.      Cloud Fusion

 

To be able to keep essential business applications safe within a private data center, while also being able to access the public cloud for other things, hybrid clouds are the way to go. Hybrid cloud environments are able to offer the best of both worlds by fusing the public cloud benefits of on-demand resource-sharing with multiple users, with the security, service and performance of private clouds. It’s a win-win.

 

5.      Continuation of Service

 

Most data centers have a plan for disaster recovery, but what about an interruption of service or latency issue? Users are accustomed to being able to access their data quickly and whenever they need it, a connection slowdown, or complete shutdown, can lead to employees using unauthorized cloud-based services. Thus, in addition to a disaster recovery, admins should have a plan to provide service continuity as well. This means designing data centers to be easily available with high-bandwidth and low round-trip times. Distributing applications across multiple sites, geographic regions or data centers can also be helpful, plus it improves scalability and performance.

 

As with everything in the world of technology, there are always upgrades to be made, and data centers are not immune to the need for improvement. With a few tweaks and a slightly different perspective, data centers can modernize their operations to best support the needs of today’s users.

 

How Wired & Wireless Technology Is Helping Healthcare

June 29, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

Healthcare is a hot topic right now. It is something that touches everyone’s lives at some point, though we might not think about the technology that goes into building healthcare devices and keeping hospitals running smoothly. Here, we’ll look at the healthcare industry and how technology is used in devices and to build communications networks to keep medical centers connected.

 

OEM Medical Devices

 

A medical device may only be as good as the parts that it’s made ofand if you’re ever in need of a defibrillator, you’re surely going to want it to have been constructed with quality parts. Medical manufacturers use all types of connectivity products to build medical devices, these include USB cables and adapters, HDMI, VGA and D-subminiature cables and adapters. For all of these parts, there are strict design requirements that must be met to comply with federal safety regulations.  We work with medical device OEMs around the world to provide solutions to fit their requirements to build medical devices that will perform when they’re needed most.

 

In-Building Wireless Networks

 

Many of today’s hospitals and medical facilities have replaced old-school patient charts with portable, wireless tablets to keep track of patient information and records. Thus, they depend on reliable cellular and Wi-Fi coverage to keep devices used by doctors and nurses connected, plus those used by patients and visitors. Distributed antenna systems (DAS), access points, RF amplifiers and low-loss coaxial cables are used to ensure that medical staff and patients can stay connected with seamless cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.

 

Medical Campus Networks

 

When a medical facility spans across several separate buildings, a high-speed communications network is needed to share vital information such as patient records and test results. Wireless point-to multipoint networks use directional and Omni-directional antennas to send wireless signals throughout the campus. If a wireless network can’t be used because Line of Sight conditions are less that optimal, a wired fiber backbone can be implemented to connect the buildings. In this case, an intricate network of fiber cabling, media converters, routers and Ethernet switches are employed to provide comprehensive campus-wide coverage.

 

Wired Infrastructure/Data Center

 

Within hospitals and medical centers there can be numerous floors that all need to be connected to a main data center. A wide variety of cabling and connectivity products are used to build this wired communications infrastructure from the ground up, running from the IDFs to the data center.  Category 5e/6/6a cables, OFNP and LSZH cables, server racks, patch panels, switches, routers and more are all used to build a high-speed, fault-tolerant medical communications network to keep every floor, device and user connected.

 

For more information on how wired and wireless technology is helping healthcare, and how L-com’s products are being used, read our full healthcare industry overview.

 

Engineers’ Choice: What We Love

February 11, 2016 at 8:00 AM

 

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we decided to get a little more intimate with some of our favorite people – our engineers . We wanted to know what makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So we asked them, “What topic, technology or trend do you love?” The resounding – and unanimous – answer:  the 3-D Printer

 

What do they love about this innovation? Let us count the ways:

 

1.       It’s a technological marvel.

 

The 3-D printer gives our engineers the ability to take a design directly from their computer screen and make it into a physical object that they can hold, manipulate and test. This allows them to find flaws and make modifications much earlier in the design process and eliminates waiting for a tool to be created to make the part.  All of this saves time, money and resources and ultimately produces a better part.

                            

2.       They get to make some really cool things.

 

While designing a connector that required many components to be assembled together, the 3-D printer proved its worth ten-fold.  Instead of having to print each component separately and then assemble the pieces, our engineers were able to print the connector as one part.

 

The 3-D printer printed solid material in certain places and left gaps where needed. This created a single part that mimicked how the assembled parts would look and function, without having to actually create and assemble all of the individual pieces.

 

3.       Weeding out bad ideas.

 

Though there have been a few unsuccessful trials, many times the least successful projects simply come from bad ideas. This is the exact reason that the 3-D printer is such a useful tool!  It eliminates the time and money spent to create tooling for something that ultimately won’t work anyway.

 

4.       It provides unprecedented customer feedback.

 

Presenting customers with a physical prototype of an idea gives us the opportunity to use their feedback like never before. Customers can inspect the physical design of the product, provide their input and even test fit the prototype in their application.  This gives us the advantage of directly integrating customer perspective early into the design process, which is a win-win for everyone involved.

 

5.       Breakthrough design and creation.

 

Our engineers are currently designing a product that requires the user to assemble it onto an existing product in the field. Using the the 3-D printer, they have been able to design prototypes and distribute them to colleagues to test the assembly process, recognize flaws, gain additional viewpoints and make improvements before finalizing the design. All of this ensures that the final product will meet the product requirements without wasting valuable time, money and resources.

 

The 3-D printer has elevated the design and engineering process by creating an actual, physical part to test for form, fit and function. This ground-breaking technology is invaluable in the amount of savings and insight it provides. It is no wonder why the 3-D printer is the object of our engineers’ affection.

 

For more information, check out our blog post 8 Reasons Why a 3-D Printer Can Make Your Job Easier.

 

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