The 2023 Network Computing Revolution: Words of the Year

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In the dynamic realm of network computing, where technology evolves at an unprecedented pace, the words of the year are the markers of transformative trends. Much like language reflects societal shifts, the network industry’s vocabulary witnessed significant additions and redefined meanings in the past 12 months. Let’s delve into the 2023 Network Computing Words of the Year, exploring their importance and the impact they hold.

1. GenAI and AI: The Pioneers of Change

Tied for the first place are the powerhouse terms – GenAI and AI. In the past year, ChatGPT emerged as a game-changer, bringing AI into the mainstream across industries and enterprises of all sizes. This widespread adoption resulted in a twofold consequence.

GenAI-assisted Network Management

Firstly, IT product vendors and infrastructure providers integrated GenAI and artificial technology into their network management solutions. This involves leveraging AI to baseline application traffic flows and telemetry data, instantly alerting administrators to potential performance issues or security threats. Notable implementations include:

  • Cisco AI Assistant for Security: Revolutionizing firewall management by employing natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) to provide rapid and precise responses to security queries.
  • Fortinet Advisor: Offering incident analysis, remediation guidance, and playbook templates, enhancing the capabilities of NetOps and SecOps teams through natural language prompts.
The Infrastructure Evolution for AI

The second consequence involves a paradigm shift in enterprise infrastructures to accommodate the demands of AI workloads. Unlike traditional applications, AI requires specialized compute resources like GPUs, Infrastructure Processing Units (IPUs), and Data Processing Units (DPUs). This shift led to noteworthy advancements:

  • Ultra Ethernet Consortium: A collaborative effort by industry leaders like AMD, Arista, Cisco, and Microsoft to build a complete Ethernet-based communication stack architecture for AI and high-performance computing (HPC) workloads.
  • Cisco and Broadcom’s AI-focused Chips: Introductions like Cisco’s Silicon One G200 and G202 ASICs and NVIDIA’s SuperNIC aimed at optimizing Ethernet-based networks for AI workloads.

As organizations increasingly keep AI efforts on-premises for data security, efficient networking and interconnection technologies become imperative.

2. Wi-Fi 7: Redefining Connectivity Standards

Runner-up for Word of the Year

Globally, Wi-Fi networks carry over half of all Internet traffic, and the advent of Wi-Fi 7 marks a significant milestone. Building on the technological strides of Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, Wi-Fi 7 introduces automated frequency coordination, multi-link operations, and 4K Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (4K QAM). These advancements result in:

  • Enhanced Performance: Wi-Fi 7 access points and routers offer significantly improved performance for enterprise users, supporting more users in denser environments.
  • Low Latency and High Throughput: Wi-Fi 7 enables extremely high throughputs, low latency, and jitter, providing a robust foundation for media-rich, immersive experiences.

While Wi-Fi 7 products began making their debut in 2023, widespread availability is expected in late 2024, promising a new era of connectivity standards.

3. NaaS (Network-as-a-Service): The Networking Subscription Model

Second Runner-up for Word of the Year

Network-as-a-service (NaaS) emerges as the latest addition to the “as-a-service” family, offering a connectivity subscription model. Instead of traditional installations, enterprises provision networks through a cloud portal, relying on service providers to deliver underlying networking infrastructure. Key highlights include:

  • Simplified Provisioning: Enterprises can provision networks through a simple cloud portal, streamlining the process similar to compute and storage services.
  • Global NaaS Event (GNE): Industry attention towards NaaS peaked with the inaugural Global NaaS Event (GNE) in October, accelerating NaaS offerings.
  • MEF’s NaaS Industry Blueprint: Introduced to expedite the deployment of NaaS, defining primary building blocks and presenting initial use cases in on-demand transport, SD-WAN, and SASE.

As NaaS gains momentum, it promises to reshape how enterprises approach networking, offering flexibility and scalability.

Conclusion: The Lingua Franca of Network Evolution

In the ever-evolving landscape of networking, GenAI, Wi-Fi 7, and NaaS have become the lingua franca, shaping conversations and strategies. As we step into 2024, these terms will continue to be driving forces, steering the industry toward innovation and resilience.

Explore the transformative power of these networking trends at Elevate your network infrastructure with cutting-edge solutions designed for the future.

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