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5 Networking Trends for 2017

At Merit, we’re always trying to stay one step ahead of technology trends so that we can make sure our network is ready for your future. Here are some top trends reshaping networking that we’re watching for 2017:


  1. This year, we’ll see the number of IoT (Internet of Things) devices exceed the number of humans on the planet for the first time! [ 1 ] The number of connected devices will increase as employees and students bring more devices with them & expect to simultaneously connect them to networks.
  2. IoT botnets, composed of IoT devices from security cameras to refrigerators, are exceeding 1 Tbps through Mirai and other malicious and widely available DDoS-attack-on-demand services. [ 2 ]
  3. Network boundaries continue to blur as employees and their many devices connect from work, home, or their favorite coffee shop to cloud-based, data-intensive applications that have become essential to conducting business and research.
  4. Shocking to no one, budgets for connectivity services will remain flat, even as networking grows more complex.
  5. Increasingly, organizations are closing their on-premise data centers and adding direct internet access to branch offices and campuses for reliability. [ 3 ]
Infrastructure and operations (I&O) is tasked with delivering rock-solid quality services for today’s systems of record — those business applications that are the lifeblood of today’s business results. At the same time, I&O must be prepared to quickly support systems of innovation and insight — those modernized and emerging business applications that could very well be the foundation of the business for years to come.”

– Dawson, P., Chandrasekaran, A., & Gill, B. (n.d.). Infrastructure Modernization Primer for 2017, Gartner.

What does this mean for your network planning?

  1. Embrace the 21st century workforce! BYOD and working remotely from real-time applications are here to stay.
  2. Meeting the increased demand for bandwidth means increased threats of disruptive DDoS attacks on your network as bandwidth pipes are bigger.
  3. Networking is more complex — with more direct connections for reliability and other benefits comes additional complexity and maintenance, like adding more firewalls.
  4. As networks become more complex, patchwork solutions just won’t cut it. They increase the time it takes to make configuration changes to support new applications and introduce potential security flaws.

These trends may sound scary — more responsibility with less control over networks — but 2017 can also be an opportunity for simplification and innovation to get ready for your next chapter. Protect your network by adding a DDoS Protection service when you upgrade your bandwidth. Consider upgrading to Ethernet Networking Services to improve latency and simplify your branch office connectivity.

Looking for something free you can implement now to improve your network security and get a handle on IoT devices on your network? Check out this post by Jason Brown, Merit’s CISO, on cost-free ways you can prevent cybercrime. [ 4 ]

Not sure where to start?

Merit’s expert networking staff is here to help. Whether it’s to identify your future capacity needs, shore up your security or simplify your network design, we can help with that! Our experts can assess your networking & security needs and help you develop a road map to achieve your desired future state, enabling you to stay ahead of the needs of your campus community, your workforce, or your research teams.

1. IoT Devices will outnumber the world’s population this year for the first time, ZDNET

2. We feel it’s also important to note IoT trends we are not watching in 2017: microwaves turning into surveillance cameras.

3. Link to full Gartner Report (Paywall)

4. Security on a Shoestring, Crains Detroit