While smartphones such as the Apple X or Google Pixel generate a lot of enthusiasm among end users, for IT organizations these devices represent the beginning of a massive wave of change at the edge of the network. Not only are these and other mobile computing devices equipped with multiple radios for connecting to wireless networks, they come with next-generation, high-definition cameras that will be used to capture, for example, 4K video. It won’t be long before all the data these devices capture starts following across corporate networks.
To give IT organizations a hedge against that transition, Ruckus Wireless, a unit of Brocade, announced a Ruckus ICX 7650 family of edge 40/100G switches. Siva Valliappan, vice president of campus networking at Ruckus, says the Ruckus ICX 7650 was developed by Brocade using commercial silicon but is being sold now under the Ruckus brand. It is the second family of multi-gigabit switches the company has brought to market in anticipation of a major increase in demand for bandwidth at the edge of the network.
The Ruckus ICX 7650 series is designed to be compatible with both existing 802.11ac/802.11ax Wi-Fi standards as well as the forthcoming 802.3bz standard for stacking multi-gigabit switches and an 802.3bt standard that increases the amount of power that can be distributed over Ethernet to 90 watts. Because most organizations upgrade switches far less frequently than wireless access points, Valliappan says, IT organizations need to acquire switches today that will be able to provide the amount of anticipated bandwidth that will be needed over the next two to three years.
In the years ahead, Valliappan says IT organizations will be challenged to keep pace with advancements in mobile computing because they don’t always appreciate the impact of the latest generation of mobile devices on their networks. Many of them, for example, will buy faster wireless access points only to discover they’ve shifted the bottleneck to the edge switch, says Valliappan.
“It’s an education issue,” says Valliappan.
It may take more than a handful of new smartphones for IT organizations to appreciate that issue. But as the features and functions available in higher-end smartphones and tablets find their way into more widely affordable devices in the years ahead, major upgrades to the network are now all but inevitable.