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Local area network design gets boost from SDN

Network pros improve LAN design, especially in automating policies, with software-defined network functions, or 'SDN-lite,' even if true full-featured SDN is still out of reach.

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: Network Evolution: SDN components transform the LAN

Imagine organizing a conference and not being sure who the attendees are or what they're interested in. It could be a disorganized mess -- or it could be organized using policies to identify attendees' interests.

Using pure software-defined networking in local area network design could function along similar lines.

Full SDN in local area network design could be forever on the horizon, but not all aspects of it. Some enterprises are looking at "SDN-lite" elements that enable centralized automation of policies that govern users. For example, the ability to automate LAN policies can cut down on the massive amount of manual labor required to provide users and devices with the ever-changing access they need to different parts of the network.

In this month's cover story, we look at the elements of SDN that have begun to filter into local area network design.

Also in this issue, network pros are seeing fast-paced evolution in their fields. What does that mean for their skill sets? At one university, it meant retraining the IT staff. See how Oral Roberts University is transitioning to cloud unified communications, as the IT team is taking on greater data analytics and computing roles.

Finally, in our Subnet Q&A, find out how first responders in the Santa Clara County Fire Department are using new technologies to stay more connected while battling fires and responding to medical emergencies. 

Next Steps

Learn more about how LAN works

Understanding the basics of SDN

Comparing the top cloud unified communications products

This was last published in September 2017

Dig Deeper on SDN for campus LAN

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How have you begun incorporating SDN functions in your local area network?