In no particular order, here are five over-arching wide area network (WAN) technology trends for 2011:
Bye-bye address space: According to several IPv4 address depletion counters, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority will run out of IPv4 addresses tomorrow: February 1, 2011. For enterprise networks, this means you better have a service provider with IPv6 and you better have v6 planned into your budget. You can learn more in this Q&A with IPv6 expert Scott Hogg: Who needs IPv6?
Wider-spread WANs: WAN technology is here to support our more distributed and remote workforce. Nemertes president Johna Till Johnson says 4G and iPads will drive mobile VPN and branch office growth.
Virtual WAN optimization: This WAN technology makes it possible for enterprises to optimize traffic in those hard to reach places, like the cloud (which is another technology trend companies already have or are willing to implement).
WAN op-as-a-service: According to Gartner research director Ted Chamberlin, carriers are going to get better at offering and understanding WAN performance services in 2011 — a long-awaited capability by enterprise customers.
Bigger, faster WANs: Future-proofing is vital to a company’s survival. As evidenced by Certes Networks’ 10 Gbps variable speed network encryptor, large enterprises with lots of traffic are implementing 10 Gbps. In the words of Charles Kolodgy, IDC security VP, “Though you might not need 10 Gbps right at this moment, there will be a time when you’ll need it.”