Artificial intelligence and machine learning are integral to how the networks of the future will operate. No network will be able to operate without them and be taken seriously as a competitive prospect. This is for a number of reasons:
- We all rely on networks a lot more than we used to, whether we’re talking about a mobile service provider’s 5G network or an enterprise WAN. Business can’t function without networks, which means we need better and better tools to keep those networks running. AI is the basis of many of those tools, making it easier to run a network in ways a human can’t compete with. Business moves at light speed and it needs automated, AI-driven networks to match.
- We are long past the era when most enterprise data was stored in nice, neat SQL databases. Vital corporate data can take many forms these days. Data centres and the networks that serve them need to be able to handle natural language processing (NLP), including speech recognition and natural language understanding. ML is all about using data to spot patterns, make inferences and enable predictions. Technology not suited for such tasks will not be able to play a part. At the level of the network, this might mean intent-based networks where AI takes the place of human decision makers by replicating their nuanced patterns of intent in response to a changeable scenario.
- As networks become more critical to our business and social lives, so they become more of a target for cybercriminals. The task of protecting networks used to be fairly labour-intensive. But just as criminals are now using AI to steal and destroy, so AI is really the only way to fight back. The efforts of human security professionals must be augmented by AI and ML or we all face disaster.
- 5G is here and it is well on the way to changing everything. For one thing it will vastly increase the number of devices that hang off a typical network. Those devices will be more varied than ever and found in a wider range of locations that has been possible with previous generations of unwired tech. AI will simply be essential if all these end points are to be afforded protection. It’s not just cybercrime that can bring a network down or diminish its performance. Any number of other non-malicious factors can do this. AI provides the basis of the next generation of network monitoring, telemetry and predictive analytics. It’s there to detect network anomalies and faults, identify root causes and also trigger the recovery process before any human is even aware that something is wrong.
- Multi-cloud is here to stay. Cloud-native networking solutions are appearing on the market in large numbers. AI is an important part in the jigsaw that enables a complex cloud investment to function smoothly.
To hear a lot more about AI, ML and the networks of tomorrow, this event should be considered unmissable.
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By Guy Matthews, Editor of NetReporter