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3 Networking Trends to Watch as Working from Home Becomes Permanent

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Trends

Long after the risk of catching COVID-19 dissipates, many organizations plan to keep their employees working from home. The impact of this year’s unexpected pandemic will consequently affect the network technologies that they require.

Network technologies that many customers were once ambivalent about are now in high demand. And increasingly, it appears for many, interest in these technologies is not just for the short term.

As working from home becomes permanent among many organizations, the shift is changing their network priorities. A discussion during next week’s Channel Partners Virtual will explore new network requirements resulting from COVID-19. During the session: “Three Networking Trends in the Age of COVID,” Anish Patel will share his observations.

Patel, VP of emerging technologies at master agent TBI, will discuss how COVID-19 has changed organizations’ network priorities. Phil Harvey, editor-in-chief of  Light Reading, a Channel Partners sister site, will moderate the discussion.

“When the pandemic ends, a lot of people are probably not coming back to the office,” Patel told Channel Partners.

TBI’s Anish Patel is one of dozens of industry speakers who will “take the stage” at Channel Partners Virtual. Our online trade show is Sept. 8-10. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind event. Register now!
TBI's Anish Patel

TBI’s Anish Patel

The three network technologies that Harvey and Patel will focus on are: SD-WAN, wireless connectivity and security.

SD-WAN

When the pandemic began, SD-WAN was the last thing customers were thinking about, Patel explained. After all, network providers have marketed SD-WAN to optimize connections to branch offices. But in the months that followed, Patel said it became apparent that SD-WAN was also a good choice for employees working from home.

“SD-WAN edge has shifted from the branch office, corporate environment to the home,” he said. “If I’m a call center employee, or an executive, I need reliable, stable bandwidth if I’m working at home. Especially if my wife and kids are also at home chewing up my bandwidth, or I have a flappy DSL connection. SD-WAN helps with a lot of that user experience improving that user experience.”

Wireless Connectivity

Despite hype over 5G services, Patel will make the case for existing advanced LTE services. Likewise, there aren’t enough Wi-Fi 6 endpoints to warrant recommending it, he will argue.

“5G is great and Wi-Fi 6 is great; they are the bleeding edge of what’s available right now,” he said. “But a lot of our customers are using what’s on the truck today. They’re using a combination of DSL, broadband, fixed wireless satellite and LTE to get the bandwidth necessary to do their jobs at home.”

Among the options Patel will discuss is bonding with various solutions that can aggregate LTE connections from multiple carriers.

Security

COVID-19 has created the largest influx of people working from home to date. Many of them were never candidates to work outside of the office. The volume of people suddenly working from home stretched the limits of companies’ VPNs, according to Patel.

“With everyone working from home, you have hundreds or thousands of endpoints, compared with 10 or 50 sites,” Patel said.

And, he added, those connections become vulnerable when …

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