Top 10 Networking Myths

This Avaya CONNECTED Blog
is also available as an MP3 Audio File


Whether your building out a corporate network, or a brand new ESINet for Public Safety, you need to understand networking, and there are some common myths that will leave you with a poor deployment and huge amounts of capitol investment rusting away in the data center while you try to figure out how to save your career.

10)Cisco continues to be the undisputed leader in networking innovation

It is time to stop living in the 90’s, while I won’t spend time to argue that statement, it is time to look at technology and where the market is heading TODAY. I hate to answer a question with questions, but let me ask:

  • Q: Who was first in delivering Resilient Stacking technology?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who changed the resiliency model from Active/Standby to Active/Active?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who introduced Split-Plane technology first to market?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who introduced hardware based 20ms resiliency?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered end to end Ethernet Fabric technology AND drove its standardization with IEEE/IETF?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered the most scalable 2 Tier Data Center architecture with lower latency?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered Layer 2 and Layer 3 Virtual Services Networks with its Ethernet Fabric Technology?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered innovative, scalable, resilient and fast registration for Multicast applications?
  • A: AVAYA
Myth 10

Remember, Innovation does NOT EQUATE TO acquisition, so exactly who is the Innovator and who is the follower?

9)Juniper seems to be the logical alternative to Cisco

Due to the unfortunate situation with Nortel Enterprise, many customers and partners were given no choice but to consider alternative vendors. While it’s clear Avaya has heavily invested in Networking, is Juniper still a logical alternative to Cisco? To me at least, it seems their QFABRIC Data Center strategy was a failure, now it’s based on SDN promises?

It’s time for customers to look back at Avaya’s portfolio and the technological maturity it brings from the heritage of Wellfleet, Synoptics, Bay Networks and Nortel. The technology train never stopped, and they are in the lead for Campus and Fabric architecture…time to reconsider Avaya? Yes indeed as Avaya solves REAL IT CHALLENGES TODAY and is in a unique position for many quarters to come…

8)There’s no different between proprietary and standards-based Fabric solutions

While some may think proprietary Fabric Architecture is ok for the Data Center, aren’t we living in an open system architecture world where best of breed technology should be selected?
How will you extend or leverage your Ethernet Fabric if it is proprietary? The world knows better and there happens to be an IEEE and IETF standard out there, known as SPB (Shortest Path Bridging) or if you prefer IEEE 802.1aq or IETF RFC 6329.

Inter-operabiltiy with other vendors has already been proved and the recent flawless performance of the Core at InterNet 2013 in Las Vegas, demonstrates the maturity and stability of this technology. Avaya is leading, time to look at solving your IT challenges once and for all

7)Wecannot eliminate Spanning Tree

Do people use a bus to try winning a Formula 1 race?

Do people fly airplanes with one of the two engines on standby?

None of this seems logical, does it?

So why is it customers tolerate building a network infrastructure utilizing a protocol that wasn’t built to deliver resiliency?

The market has clearly endorsed Active/Active as the defacto design model now, and it is time for customers to stop accepting sub-optimal solutions for their network and ensure failures won’t be business impacting. Avaya has 12+ years of maturity implementing Active/Active resiliency, and while other vendors are trying to catch up, Avaya keeps moving the dial further ahead, and maintains its position as the undisputed leader of Active/Active resiliency.

6)MPLS is the solution to all of our problems

Customers that wanted to deploy a multi-tenant and multi-services business solution, had no other choice but to eventually consider MPLS as the solution in order to provide Layer 2 and Layer 3 virtualization.

While that might be powerful and scalable, its level of complexity just made it extremely difficult for IT departments to retain the skill set required to build and maintain it.

What if there was, today, an alternative provide Layer 2 and Layer 3 Virtualization for both unicast and multicast based services? What if MPLS level scalability was achievable without its associated level of complexity?

What if that same solution gave you network behavior flexibility too, so you no longer have to guess how the network is behaving? What if Avaya was once again in the lead, helping you solve these challenges

5)Deploying services must involve weeks of planning and hours of implementation

Today it takes hours, weeks, months of preparation to deploy a new service across your Enterprise. Why? Simply because of the level of complexity associated with extending a service using existing legacy technology such as VLANs’ to extend such services. This translates into nodal configuration, which despite the qualification of your IT staff, requires proper planning and change management control. There is so much business risk associated with such a deployment, nobody will take a chance on doing it without proper testing and configuration validation.

What if you could, today, provision end to end services, but only have to touch the edge of your network?
Basically provision where the service is to be used, and where its being offered and VOILA, you are done. Let the network SERVICE your application needs.

4)Equipment maintenance and upgrade must be business-impacting

“Sorry Folks! Park’s Closed. The moose out front should have told ya’.”

Myth5.jpgIn the past most applications ran in a non-geo redundant or even in a single data center non-resilient deployment model. Now, you can easily deploy every application in an active/active model and woouldn’t it be even more powerful if you take advantage of various hypervisors virtualization solutions?
The combination of Virtualization, applications running in an Active/Active deployment model, as well as having a Data Center architecture that can extend Layer 2 domains where you need to, gives you the utmost flexibility and agility that your IT staff, and more importantly, your applications were looking for, and needed. Well, you don’t have to wait anymore, it’s here….

3)Multicast is becoming mandatory, but it’s complex, unreliable, and doesn’t scale

Everyone has been suffering through Multicast deployments over the last 15 to 20 years. The level of complexity and limited scalability, often gave no choice but to limit its utilization and size of deployment to known logical limits that did not meet the business needs.

What if you could finally scale multicast to new levels, while also addressing the design complexity?

What if you could no longer have to say “NO” when you are requested to deploy a multicast based application because your multicast network scalability is already saturated?

What if you didn’t have to build a separate infrastructure because the one you have is running at maximum capacity and scalability for multicast?

What if you didn’t have to force usage of unicast anymore? Or, what if you didn’t have application failures or business impacting situations due to the lethargic, slow recovery of multicast applications?

Well, there is a solution to your challenges, It’s called Native Multicast over SPB, and it comes to the rescue to deliver a never-before achieved level of scalability, while delivering 500 milliseconds recovery and 100ms or less registration, and delivering all this without the need for PIM!
That is innovation at its best, while still supporting inter-connectivity to PIM domains.

2)Avaya is a Voice company and doesn’t bring anything to Networking

While Avaya continues to be a leader in Unified Communications, Contact Center and Video conferencing, it is important to note its level of competiveness in the Networking area. Not only do they provide cost effective Ethernet connectivity with or without PoE, they also led the way by solving some complex IT challenges such as E911 location reporting, regardless of the mode of connectivity being used (wired and wireless).

While Avaya has a very strong Voice heritage, it also understands the networking requirement and has focused on delivering best in class innovative solutions which customers and partners need to pay special attention too.
Avaya is about innovative Real Time Collaborations, UC, CC, Video and highly reliable and scalable network.

From Data Center edge all the way to your Branch Edge, Avaya can help you solve these challenges TODAY using industry standard protocols and best practices. How many other competitors can say that? Let me help you out with that one. . . .

Pick a number between ZERO and NONE.

1)The future is all aboutSDN, so you have to wait….

SDN Is gaining momentum in the market, it is like a Tsunami hitting all the IT personnel trying to understand if this is the technology that will finally solve their IT challenges?

While SDN seems to focus on solving relevant IT problems, the question is more “What IT problems is the industry trying to solve, more importantly, what are YOUR business IT challenges”.

What if Avaya was able to solve these problems for you, TODAY with products, solutions, protocols, etc..that exist NOW in an open system architecture that does not require the wait for some new SDN Protocol to be supported by ALL vendors?

What if Avaya endorsed the SDN concept in addressing key IT business challenges?

What if Avaya offered Orchestration and simplification of Applications Provisioning today?

And more importantly….would you be interested in chatting with one of our Experts?

Avaya continues to innovate, but more importantly, Avaya can solve real IT challenges today by changing the way Networks are being built, without waiting for all sorts of promises to be delivered in the next few years. Giving Avaya an opportunity to show you what we can do TODAY, will be a worth while investment, and we promise not to disappoint you.

Related Articles:

Avaya Mobile Engagement is #1 Seed to Power the March Basketball Championship Tournament

Let’s dance! I’ve been known to choreograph some big half-time dances in my day but this dance is all about college basketball. No, not Sadie Hawkins or the prom, the dance I’m referring to is, of course, the lively Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament. Played mostly during March, the tournament has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the United States. For the past five years, Avaya has powered these ultimate games in college basketball.

Experience is Everything in the World of Sports

To create a great experience, Allegiant USA partners with Avaya to power the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) annual convention in conjunction with the collegiate single-elimination championship tournament. For an event with this much coverage and participation, Allegiant USA sets up a mobile command center powered by Avaya’s IP Office™ Platform, inclusive of local and remote phones, wireless firewall switches, and VPN for secure, flexible, and easy set up that they can plug into anytime, even from their hotels. This mobile engagement kit enables the NABC to have instant access to an on-the-go office that is backed by simple, powerful unified collaboration technology for seamless engagement.

The Mobile Command Center

Avaya’s elite technology and solutions provide an instant office for the championship weekend, where the NABC sponsors several major events: the College All-Star Game, NABC Marketplace, coaching clinics, and a grand finale at the Guardians of the Game College Basketball Awards Show. During high-adrenaline times, the mobile command center connects coaches, staff, and volunteers with a reliable communications experience.

Scoring in the Cloud

The NABC Convention is home court for professional development and networking for coaches from all levels of play. NABC members use Avaya IP Office in their standard office, remote locations, tournament command center, and on-the-go offices for their mobile workforce. Throughout the single-elimination tournament, the NABC also opens a temporary office to attract new members, job applicants, and also provides networking experiences for participating coaches. Next season, the powerhouse team of NABC and Allegiant USA will be taking IP Office to the cloud for an elite, scalable, and championship-like infrastructure that protects their investment and scales as their communication needs change.

A Tradition of World Class Coaches and Technology

With the remaining four teams officially set (South Carolina vs Gonzaga and Oregon vs North Carolina), Avaya, Allegiant USA, and the NABC know it’s time to suit up and head out from Kansas City and Indianapolis and get to Phoenix, Arizona. While the championship game tips off at University of Phoenix Stadium, the NABC convention will be taking place nearby at the Phoenix Convention Center, which spans 24 acres and is named one of the top 10 conventions centers in the U.S.

The NABC was originally created to protect the essence of the game against the ban of dribbling. (See the NABC site for some background.) It evolved into an all-encompassing association committed to furthering the best interests of basketball for the players, coaches, and participants. Since its 1927 inaugural conference, NABC has grown from over 100 coaches to 2,500 coaches in recent years, and 5,000 members. Serving as an opportunity for the basketball coaching community to address issues surrounding the sport and collaborate on positive evolution of the game, it is ground zero for professional, high school, and collegiate coaches across the country.

Avaya carries a tradition of providing world class technology that pays tribute to the most important events and the highest levels of sports in the world. The national championship will be played Monday, April 3, so keep your eyes on #AvayaSports as the final bracket shapes up and the best of the best face off.  

Hope to see you on the dance floor or sitting courtside!

Don’t Underestimate Smart and Secure Remote Access

Like many people, I’ve spent a lot of time watching great NCAA March Madness games in the last two weeks. During the commercials, I’ve been thinking about the challenges faced by athletes aspiring to get to the Final Four—and realizing that many careers bring similar tremendous pressure. In my communications industry, I think of IT professionals trying to solve technology issues, bridging legacy and new solutions, always on tight deadlines and tight budgets. These teams need things to go right—and when there’s an error—they need smooth, secure, fast fixes from their vendors.

Underestimating the skills of the remaining NCAA players might be a mistake—don’t blame their current success on luck or a fluke. That’s basketball, but I’ve seen IT departments underestimate the problem-solving power of remote connectivity in a similar way. Remote Access is often dismissed as being too risky for network security.

In his blog “Achieving Secure, Mission-Critical Technical Support is a Two-Way Street” Mike Runda, President of Avaya Client Services, refutes the misconceptions IT can have about remote access. Mike discusses the three key attributes that IT managers should demand of a remote access solution. Before you choose your communications solution, make sure that the provider’s connectivity into your enterprise is smart, secure, and gives you full control.

Secure remote access connectivity is the foundational component for resolving complex network issues. Mike tells the real-life story of an Avaya customer having a network issue, and blocking remote access for Avaya support technicians. The techs needed access to diagnose and resolve the problem. The customer was steadfast in its cybersecurity. The situation became a full-court press (i.e., escalations) by both teams. Once both teams got together and discussed the power and security of Avaya’s remote connectivity, the issue was quickly fixed. Read the whole story in Mike’s blog.

For now, we know the teams heading to the Final Four are doing all they can to bring their A Games to Phoenix. Likewise, when the pressure’s on in IT, Avaya customers can work with us via remote connectivity—with confidence that the pros at Avaya will protect security and bring proven results.

Customers Explain Why Chatbots Matter for Contact Centers

I recently attended Jeff Pulver’s 2017 MoNage conference to get the latest views on chatbot usage and expectations for serving customers. Jeff Pulver created the Voice over the Net Conference when voice over the internet was in its infancy. As a co-founder of Vonage and other companies, his vision helped drive the industry we all take for granted. He’s brought his vision to the world of chat with his 140-Character conferences and most recently the MoNage conference.

Jeff says that “as chatbots get better and better, there may be less of a need to visit a business website.” We may reach a point where chatbots connected to Facebook pages and voice services via Amazon’s Alexa become the main conduit for getting information.” He probably is right. There is no shortage of software and services companies, including Avaya, that are investing significantly in the field of chatbot technology for contact centers applications.

Industry analyst Jon Arnold says contact center operators need to ensure millennials have a chat experience that is fast and personal. The ability for an agent to leverage the full context of all of the previous transactions is at the heart of providing a personalized one-to-one customer experience.

Anyone with a teenager knows if you want to reach them, you text them—unless you like the nostalgia of hearing a voice mail greeting and leaving a message that may not be picked up for a week. Those millennials, who use chat over email, including chat applications at work, are the same ones raising the bar for businesses to serve them via chat. How long will it be before the response a millennial expects for a package status is an emoji?

The introduction of chatbots represents the re-birth of interactive voice response in textual self-service instead of voice prompts. Chatbots enable a customer to answer questions via text. They ask, “How can I help you?” The customer’s answer of “What is my account balance?” is the equivalent of speaking to a speech recognition application.

With chat, recent AI innovations interpret your sentence and provide a response that is best matched to the context of your question. This is similar to Amazon’s Alexa listening to your voice and providing a response. Many companies are working to perfect the ability to interpret chat sequences, often to assuage the customers who press 0 multiple times to reach an agent. Today, customers can have the same frustrating experience with chat that they’ve had with interactive voice—ultimately they want to talk with a live agent. The goal has always been to enable more automation and self-service methods to reduce costs, without having a negative impact on customer satisfaction. There is a critical need to get it right.

Requesting a live agent to assist with a chat session introduces major challenges for businesses. They must staff a contact center with agents who can respond appropriately to chat messages. This introduces the need for typing and grammar skills and new staffing level challenges for balancing voice and chat demand.

Businesses must ensure consistency in chat responses and, most importantly, ensure a positive experience with the live agent during a transaction. So agent skills must now include the ability to respond to SMS and text chat sessions from websites and mobile applications. This includes the ability to type clearly, and often handle multiple transactions simultaneously to fill the delays with customer responses. Many of us have experienced chat sessions with agents where there is a long delay due to agents serving other customers.

Chat sessions are often emailed to customers at the end, creating a document that customers can use for many purposes: tweeting about what an agent just wrote, or using what an agent just wrote to get improper discounts or advantages from errors. To guard against such customer behavior, agents must have fast access to standard, consistent answers to common questions and ensure responses conform to company policies.

Customers Communicate with Companies—Not Agents

Customers expect a business that can communicate via live chat to ensure the agent understands their situation. The last thing they want is to send a lengthy email describing a situation, and then be offered a live chat with someone who doesn’t have access to the email. Internal information silos require the customer to ask if it is worth starting over again and again. They expect the agent to have the full context of all their interactions. The effort to serve the customer by chat can result in a negative experience even if the agent tried everything they could to serve them.

Agents Need Contextual Information

Chatbots start with an attempt to serve a customer via automation. Costs are avoided when customers serve themselves, just like they deposit a check by taking a photo instead of having a bank employee process it. Contact center managers must enable their agents to access the full context of the chat dialog, any emails, and CRM records so they can serve the customer without asking what they should already know.

Chat Introduces a New Opportunity to Leverage Agent Attributes

Once you make the move to introducing live agent chat, you need to determine which agents have the proper attributes for handling chat, including multiple simultaneous chat sessions. You’ll need to train employees how to properly respond, including how to deliver recommended standard responses. In addition, you’ll have to evaluate how many multiple chats an agent can handle, which will vary based on individual abilities. Selecting agents based on these skills can make all the difference in customer satisfaction results.

Agent Attribute Models Increase Contact Center Operational Efficiency

There is a tremendous opportunity to increase contact center operations by having agents with the attributes for handling voice and chat and SMS sessions. Did you know 250+250=450. Here’s why: the workload of 250 voice-only agents plus 250 chat-only agents can be served by 450 agents who can do both. The result is a higher utilization level than with individual silos. Evaluating agent availability by their individual attributes and operating your contact center at higher utilization levels significantly reduces your most costly resource—your contact center agent labor expenses.

Interested in learning more about defining and leveraging agent attribute modeling? Get more info in this Avaya blog from Laura Bassett: “Get out of the Queue: Drive your CX with Attribute Matching?” And talk with Avaya Experts—we’re here to help you serve your customers like never before. We can help you match agents with the best attributes for each individual customer. The ultimate win for all. Contact us. Let’s chat!