Why networking companies falls short in basic connectivity for the edge

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Why networking companies falls short in basic connectivity for the edge

By Iris Finkelstein Sagi, Chief Marketing Officer, Telco Systems

Edge computing, at its essence, is highly distributed. This makes your basic connectivity needs — the ability to exchange and transmit data, locally as well as to other sites or data centers — even more critical. In heavy, traditional legacy environments, providers supply dedicated networking devices (routers, switches, firewalls) to perform these functions; in a lean, dynamic edge network, these functions can (and should!) be virtualized and have the ability to run on any standard hardware or in the cloud. But even more than just virtualization, these network functions should be tailored to the edge — because the edge isn’t the cloud (despite much confusion on the topic), and that makes all the difference.

So how much power does your edge really need?

It’s no secret that organizations are constantly looking for ways to both optimize their operations and keep costs in check. Remember those basic connectivity needs we talked about? Well, one way to significantly reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO) lies in optimizing your basic connectivity. And when the network functions that control that basic connectivity are placed at the edge — well, that’s precisely the right time to really evaluate exactly how much power your edge really needs. Harnessing the potential of an edge computing platform that not only optimizes the essential network functions but also integrates them — that’s a game changer that can really help with your TCO goals. Added bonus? Seamless connectivity.

Again with the network functions?

Network functions refer to the various tasks and operations performed by networking devices and systems within a network infrastructure. These functions are essential for the smooth and secure operation of networks, allowing data to be transmitted, processed, and managed effectively. Network functions can include routing, switching, firewalling, load balancing, intrusion detection & prevention, and more.

Now, consider deploying and operating these same network functions not in the cloud, but on your edge on a scale of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of devices. On top of that, take into account the additional costs of software licenses and maintenance contracts and you can already see your TCO inflating quickly. Then again, you’re going to say — we’re talking about basic connectivity needs here — these network functions provide basic connectivity and we need them. Yup. But what if there was a better way?

All you need and only what you need

There seems to be a prevailing misconception that all routing capabilities have to live at the edge, but in reality most of these capabilities are much better suited for your core network infrastructure, while only minimal routing features are actually essential at the edge. In fact, the more routing capabilities you place at the edge, the higher the potential for security vulnerabilities. Routing protocols are specifically engineered to handle large-scale networks with numerous routers and intricate routing policies. However, implementing these same protocols at the edge is probably overkill. Even more than that, deploying, managing and maintaining all of these routing capabilities at the edge is resource intensive. It involves investing in specialized hardware, software, and skilled engineers to handle the details.

But wait, there’s more. Routing isn’t the only capability you need, right? What about your firewall? When it comes to your basic connectivity, security is always important — but it’s essential to recognize that utilizing just the basic firewall functions at the edge doesn’t automatically mean that you’re compromising on security. In fact, a well-designed and well-implemented firewall can offer robust protection without unnecessary complexity. By focusing on a few key features and adopting best practices, such as restricting access to only essential ports and services, you can strike the right balance between functionality and practicality.

So essentially, by limiting feature sets and prioritizing only essential features needed at the edge for your routers, firewalls and other functions, you can significantly reduce expenses and ultimately, your total cost of ownership. This approach not only saves costs, but it also makes sense to simplify configuration and management processes, making them more manageable and efficient.

Basic connectivity – but integrated

Now let’s take this one step further. What if instead of purchasing separate devices for your routing, firewall, and other basic connectivity needs at the edge, you could have one single device that could perform all of these functions? One device with an integrated router and firewall (and multiple other functions), all consolidated onto a single platform. Just think of the incredible drop in the number of devices, cables and power sources required for your edge network. Put all of that together, and there’s no doubt that integrating your network functions can significantly lower the costs involved in deploying large amounts of edge devices across massively distributed sites.

Tailor-made for your edge

So, let’s go back to those heavy, traditional, legacy environments that we talked about in the beginning, and to the traditional legacy vendors that supply them. While network architectures have developed and modernized, and technologies have evolved, suppliers of network equipment are still pushing dedicated boxes with fully featured network functions, all the way to the edge. But smart and nimble is the name of the game today —– for operators, service providers as well as enterprises, and for the vendors that supply them — because why deal with bundling, deploying, managing and maintaining super-charged, over-priced dedicated boxes, when you can get a platform that simplifies your edge, and integrates your devices with network functions that provide everything you need at the edge (but only what you really need).

About the author

Iris Finkelstein Sagi is Chief Marketing Officer, of Telco Systems and has over 25 years of experience. As a marketing executive, Iris has built and led successful, global marketing organizations from the ground up at companies such as Nokia. Iris holds an MBA from INSEAD.

DISCLAIMER: Guest posts are submitted content. The views expressed in this post are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Edge Industry Review (EdgeIR.com).

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