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Firms waste billions on network over-design

Who needs desktop Gigabit Ethernet anyway?

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Most organisations follow outdated network design and procurement practices. Result? Overpriced and under-performing networking infrastructures. So says analyst firm Gartner, which reckons the trend of building over-engineered networks is set to continue.

It warns that firms will waste more than $10bn installing Gigabit Ethernet systems on local area networks (LAN) by 2008, a figure which omits the added cost of Gigabit-equipped phones, larger power supplies, upgraded facilities, and other miscellaneous requirements.

Organisations would do better on optimising networks to serve the needs of remote users instead of falling into the trap of simply installing "bigger and faster" networks, it advises.

"Organisations continue to spend money on bigger and faster core networking technologies at their headquarters and large locations that don't actually serve the user population," Gartner veep Mark Fabbi said.

"Most businesses have an increasing number of users in remote locations - either in branch offices or working on the road and at home - so high investments in LANs are totally missing the point. By designing networks that map to actual user requirements, rather than falling into the trap of buying the next new thing, businesses could recoup substantial capital dollars that can be redeployed in areas where they actually make a difference."

Network managers should focus their attention towards implementing technologies that bolster security, data control, application optimisation and mobility services instead of installing Gigabit Ethernet on users' desktops, Fabbi advises. He made his comments last week at Gartner's Symposium/ITxpo conference in San Francisco. ®

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