In order to accommodate the shift to work-from-home employees, IT teams have made significant changes to support the internet edge. As employees begin migrating back to working at the office, network administrators are asking whether some of the changes provide long-lasting value with broader application to the local area network (LAN).
Some Last-Minute Changes May Be Permanent
With employees moving in large numbers to remote work, administrators with private data centers or with hybrid cloud environments needed to ensure that there weren’t bottlenecks created at the corporate edge. This probably centered around a verification process through network monitoring of how much bandwidth was consumed during a typical workday.
Network teams then estimated the need for additional throughput for fully remote employees and used this to assess the amount of bandwidth needed. Steps to meet the requirements included:
- Making upgrades to the upload and download speeds for internet
- Adding redundant internet links
- Load balancing and implementation of software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solutions
Enterprises are finding that it may make sense to reduce their planned bandwidth upgrades or redundant links, particularly if the internet service provider (ISP) contract may soon be up for renewal. Others find that the redundancy upgrades and additional bandwidth were timely investments.
IT teams are also examining the internet edge to evaluate the software, licenses, and appliances for remote access virtual private networks (VPNs). In most cases, VPN architectures were intended to support a certain percentage of the workforce. Before the big shift to working from home, only a small percentage of employees were connecting to enterprise VPN services.
Working from home required administrators to accommodate many more employees being simultaneously connected with VPN licenses and to also work with an increase of dispersed termination points for VPN into the network. Distributing these points of entry eliminated the risk of bottlenecks but also reduced latency for geographically-dispersed employees.
IT teams now have the opportunity to evaluate their remote access strategy with the option to eliminate legacy VPN solutions and instead choose virtual hosted desktop solutions. If department managers are considering these types of solutions, it should be evaluated with the assistance of the network teams so that administrators can ensure optimal network performance and security tools are native to the solution.
As workers head back into the office, there may be other network considerations, such as the impact on Wi-Fi availability if workers are more spread out, or the use of uniform coverage rather than clustered coverage where employees were previously more densely assembled.
Network administrators may also be facing the management of fleets of internet of things (IoT) devices that may include smart thermometers, contactless kiosks, and other devices that utilize Wi-Fi and bluetooth technologies.As employees begin to shift back into normal work environments, network teams must evaluate which changes should be applied to the LAN to enhance connectivity and boost application performance. Contact us at Cory Communications to discuss options for creating the right network solution for your enterprise.