Internet of Things (IoT) is defining the next decade of growth as more organizations, enterprises and entities across the world start adopting these technologies. IoT is re-imagining how we live, work and play. It is having a profound impact on the Enterprise, re-defining how they interact with their ecosystem, employees and customers. More so, in sectors that we call as the “Consumer Walk-in” where in the eventual user or the buyer of what the enterprise is selling, is a consumer. In these sectors such as retail, financial services, hospitality, banking and insurance, it has become imperative for enterprises to usher in new ways to engage their customers. IoT is increasingly becoming, not only a cost saving mechanism for the Enterprise, but an enabler of newer revenue opportunities and a means to keep the customer and the prospect engaged. According to Gartner – “Endpoints of the Internet of Things will grow at a 32.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 through 2020, reaching an installed base of 20.4 billion units”.
This unprecedented growth in the number of devices is having an impact on the IT infrastructure. Our systems, specifically, the networks were never built to handle this explosion in devices. Everything and anything, starting from the air conditioner in the corner of the office, to the refrigerator in the pantry to the point of sale machine at the cash counter to interactive and immersive devices with AR/VR capabilities at the store are needing to have an IP Address that can connect them to the Cloud. In geographies like Asia Pacific, where more than two-thirds of the world population lives, the stress on network infrastructure has been profound. The sheer numbers in population, with some of the fastest growing economies in the world, has only meant faster adoption of technologies as well. Also, the economies have emerged to become the economic powerhouses of the world in the past decade. This has meant that there is not only an opportunity with the size of the population, but native demand that is driven by the ability of the economy to spend on such bleeding edge technologies. This penchant demand has increased the consumption of IPv4 addresses. According to the Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC), the organization responsible for distributing IP Addresses in Asia, Australia and the Pacific, the final block of /8 IP Addresses were allocated in April 2011, meaning that the supply of IPv4 addresses is gasping and will run out of supply shortly by end 2020.
Over the classical use cases of Enterprise Branch connectivity, we at Lavelle Networks are encountering the new economy use cases as far as branch office connectivity is concerned. In the consumer walk-in segments like Retail, Banking and Financial Services, we are seeing deployments where network connectivity caters to not just the employees working off of the branch, but a myriad set of devices that are independently connecting back to the Cloud, for purposes starting from Analytics to Data Backup. One classic example here is that of Video Analytics and Surveillance. With one of financial services customer last year, we first encountered a requirement of running a surveillance analytics service off the edge, that connects the set of intelligent motion sensor enabled cameras at their branch office locations. This service runs on the very same edge on which the WAN terminates as a service. This service acts as a local processing agent of the video streams being captured by the set of IP enabled cameras connected at the branch. The financial services company is expanding by the numbers across the region and the connectivity becomes key to the business. This is just an example of how newer use cases are emerging as far as the network edge is concerned. However, the fact that gets hidden most of the times is that such devices at the edge will only increase in leaps and bounds, and many will be autonomous, requiring direct but secure connectivity to the Cloud.
At Lavelle Networks, we have always built and enhanced our product capabilities aligned to our stated mission of delivering the best network experience beyond every node. Our next set of capabilities in our platform, in terms of native IPv6 support and on the horizon 5G capabilities are in course of natural evolution of the platform.
The ScaleAOn IPv6 support comes from the need for the next generation network platforms to scale. We have come a long way in scaling the controller aspects of the platform with an Web Application approach to scale. The network scaling comes from the design of the platform at the edge, including the ability to support IPv6 addressing for the WAN links terminated on the edge. The support for IPv6 comes with a host of benefits. First and foremost, is the ability to support next generation of service provider links, that have IPv6 WAN addressing. This significantly enhances the ability to build larger networks, connecting potentially millions of edges on it. As IoT devices begin to use IPv6 to scale on the network, ScaleAOn provides the bandwidth intensive and security requirements of the devices on the network.
The ScaleAOn platform natively comes with an ability to inter-operate with a hybrid IPv4 and IPv6 network. It easily handles scenarios where the local area network is using IPv4 addressing while the WAN uses a IPv6 addressing. Staying true to its goal of not being a “rip and replace” solution, it perfectly inter-works when few edge locations still have a IPv4 WAN address, assigned via the Provider DHCP while many other edge locations have migrated to use a IPv6 address. With SD-WAN, the ability to use multiple transport links from different service providers is core to the value that the Enterprise gets. With ScaleAOn, this is realized with perfect harmony with the native ability to use combination of WAN links from different service providers with IPv4 and IPv6 addressing on the WAN. This dual stack capability enables the Enterprises to migrate to a complete IPv6 enabled network progressively.
The ScaleAOn SD-WAN for IPv6 involves all forms of network translation from IPv4 local branch networks connecting over any mix of IPv6 or IPv4 internet connections. The fundamental SDN architecture of the ScaleAOn forwarding plane, where the packet processing has little or no dependency on the nature of the packets traversing the software data plane, allows for rapid deployment with IPv6. With its true software defined networking implementation, the network routing is a series of cascaded traffic inspection lookup tables, programmed to re-arrange the traffic inspection logic on the fly. Furthermore, ScaleAOn architecture do not have built in assumptions of packet header sizes (IPv4 is fixed 20 bytes, but IPv6 is completely variable sized) or traffic classification algorithms.
The IPv6 capabilities of ScaleAOn further enhance the ability of the platform to scale and deliver on the promise of a Scalable and “Always ON” network for the Enterprise.