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Ready to Build the Network of the Future? Ask These 5 Questions First

Henry Franc

When you embark on your next network project, make sure you ask these five questions. They’ll help you build not only the network of the future, but also a network for your unique needs.



Everyone wants to make smart investments that last. Network infrastructure investments are no different. You need efficiency, reliability, continuity and security so your organization can grow and adapt as innovations evolve and your needs change.


When you embark on your next network project, make sure you ask these five questions. They’ll help you build not only the network of the future, but also a network for your unique needs.


1. What problem are you trying to resolve?

Every project begins because a problem needs to be solved. Something needs to be better, faster or easier.


For instance, students need a reliable way to connect to remote learning from anywhere. Workers need to be able to operationalize new applications without fear of slow performance or connectivity issues. Doctors need to collaborate internally and externally with clinical teams, business leaders and patients to provide care. Manufacturers need to find ways to get work done and keep up with consumer demand—despite a lack of qualified operators.


If you can’t define the need, then you can’t define the deliverable, which means it’s too soon to be talking about the project. The value of the project and its resulting expectations must be clear to everyone from the start.


Remember: Technology isn’t what matters. Nothing is deployed because of the technology alone. It’s deployed because it addresses a business need and may be required for survival. In other words, technology is just one way to solve a problem. For example, a hospital’s goal is never to deploy new artificial intelligence or extended reality technology. The priority is to improve diagnostic decision-making, personalize treatment plans and improve patient outcomes through effective care and clinical operations.


Once the problem is defined, then you can look for solutions. But technology is never the end—it’s the means to an end.


2. What does success look like?

Success isn’t about having the best technology or being able to brag about having the network of the future. It’s about meeting the needs of the people and devices who rely on your network.


For a campus technology project, success is about making sure students can enroll online for the programs that are most in-demand. In an office setting, it’s about workers being more productive because they can communicate and collaborate among remote and in-person participants. In a hospital, it’s about treatment being administered faster and lives being saved because medical professionals can find answers sooner. At a plant, success is achieved when in-demand products get into the hands of consumers sooner—without sacrificing quality or the environment.


The bottom line: You know you’ve achieved success when you’ve made work—and life—better.


3. Is your strategy scalable and adaptable?

Change is constant. Making sure your network of the future is scalable and adaptable is the only way you can be sure it will meet the needs of users down the road—whether that means growing quickly and suddenly or scaling back when needed—without being constrained by physical infrastructure or network architecture limitations.


To do this, consider things like:

  • Technology-agnostic solutions that aren’t dependent on a specific technology or platform but instead let organizations use whatever they need to meet requirements
  • Standardized connectivity infrastructure and procurement processes
  • Modularity, with standardized and interchangeable components that are simple to deploy, configure and reconfigure
  • Migration capabilities to allow technology changes down the road without major infrastructure overhauls


4. Are you using standards and best practices as a baseline?

Industry standards are always a good starting point for projects. But there are a few important points to remember about standards.


First, standards establish minimum performance levels and exist to ensure interoperability. They don’t factor in other variables such as cost, time, business requirements or maintainability. Standards  are essentially a set of conditions to ensure networks are “good enough” to perform properly.


Second, to ensure that you can create a network or data center that delivers the performance you require without being over- or under-provisioned, creating your own internal standards might be necessary. Internal standards often exceed TIA, IEEE, BICSI and ISO standards, for example.


5. Do you have a partner that is aligned with your goals and can show you what’s possible?

It’s a complex world and technology changes frequently. Having the right partner by your side to simplify the process of building the network of the future can make challenges more manageable. Belden is here to help you transform your network and make sure it can acquire, transmit, orchestrate and manage your organization’s data so you can use your technology to meet whatever business objectives are most important.


Learn more about how Belden can help you with your project, no matter how unique your goals.


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