Four predictions for networking in 2010

The IEEE committee has been working on two new standards expected to finalize in 2010 that I predict will force a similar change in our networking environment: IEEE 802.az and IEEE 802.3at. Under IEEE 802.az, an Ethernet link can sit in an idle state and turn itself on only when data needs to be transmitted -- rather than consume power without reason. Research from Berkeley National Laboratory reported using 1 Gb Ethernet cables capable of supporting the new standard would cut US energy bills alone by up to $250 million a year. Also, the IEEE 802.at standard will allow an increase in the amount of power that can be transmitted over Ethernet cables from 15.5 W to 25.5 W! This will allow a whole new class of products to be powered over standard Ethernet cables, for example wireless access points, desktop devices, etc.

Routing and switching
The most important routing and switching trend IT networking pros should ask about in 2010 is "How can I find the ways and means to provide unified physical infrastructure for my enterprise networks?" Routing a unified network infrastructure for your business will require you to provide transport for data, voice, and video over wired and wireless networks. IT professionals should also plan to have enough space for newer applications like RFID, physical security and intelligent building management systems. Another question that will pose a challenge to network designers and architects will be "How will I green networks and datacenters while keeping service levels the same?"

Cisco certification
"What is going on with Cisco's Security and Voice tracks?" is a question I predict IT networking pros will ask in 2010. They made some interesting changes to Cisco certifications in 2009, like their new Cisco Certified Architect program, and CCNA Voice and CCIE certifications. I hear Cisco is going to make some more radical changes again this year.
As another 2010 prediction, I suspect IT networking pros will ask about Cisco's new policy with Pearson VUE that requires Cisco certification candidates to take a picture when doing the exam. It might not be widely known yet, but I sure had my questions when I heard that!

Network project management
The most important question to ask in 2010 concerning network project management is "What will this do to other budgets or IT teams in the network?" Too often companies have made poor decisions based around a single product because it is the new "cool toy" on the block. Often these decisions have a very negative impact on other specialties that may or may not be involved in a particular project. It is really time for companies to stop letting the tail wag the dog when it comes to networking decisions.
A second 2010 prediction is that network project managers will ask "How much power am I using and how much do I really need?"

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