GlossaryJuly 8, 2022

What is network infrastructure?

Network infrastructure refers to the primary components that enable communication and data transfer between devices and systems within a network. In simpler terms, it is what makes the internet and other networks possible.

Network infrastructure consists of physical components such as cables, routers, switches and servers, which facilitate data transport. Additionally, logical components such as software applications, protocols and security measures are used to manage and secure network traffic.

What are the main building blocks of network infrastructure?

Generally, network infrastructure is composed of two main types of building blocks : physical and logical.

Physical components of network infrastructure include:

  • Cables: In a network, cables are used to connect devices. They come in different types, such as Ethernet cables, fiber-optic cables and coaxial cables.
  • Network devices: Network devices transport data packets between devices and networks to their intended destinations. They come in various sizes to accommodate different network sizes, and they prevent unauthorized access by using firewalls and other security measures.
  • Servers: These are dedicated computers that provide services such as storage, email, web-hosting, databases and other applications.

Logical components of network infrastructure include:

  • Protocols: A network protocol describes how devices communicate and exchange data over a network. Examples include TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP and DNS.
  • Management: Management tools and software are used to monitor, troubleshoot and manage network resources and performance.
  • Security: This includes the use of policies, network segmentation, virtual private networks (VPNs) and other security measures to protect the network and its data from unauthorized access, attacks and malware.

Main building blocks of network infrastructure

What is well-designed network infrastructure?

Every organization that relies on technology needs a well-designed network infrastructure. With solid network infrastructure in place, businesses can incorporate new technologies and applications as they emerge, enabling organizations to stay up-to-date and competitive in their respective markets.

Service providers must aspire to build a well-designed network infrastructure that can deliver flexible scalability, high availability and optimized load balancing. These features are crucial for maintaining seamless and reliable connectivity, which is critical for modern businesses and organizations. Additionally, since no network is completely immune to outages, it’s also essential to have simple network design and automated management tools that enable network administrators to identify and resolve issues promptly. With these in place, service providers can minimize downtime and ensure that their networks remain accessible and function optimally.

What are the main network infrastructure trends?

Technological advancements, changing business needs and increasing demands for speed, security and scalability drive constant evolution in network infrastructure. Some of the main network infrastructure trends to watch for include:

  • 5G networks: Faster speeds, lower latency and greater connectivity are expected to be enabled by 5G networks.
  • Network disaggregation: This aims to separate the hardware and software components of networking equipment, such as switches and routers. The goal of network disaggregation is to provide more flexibility, cost savings and innovation in network design and management.
  • Network automation: Automation tools are revolutionizing network infrastructure management. They enable faster deployment, enhanced agility, and improved security of network infrastructure.
  • Cloud transformation: A shift towards cloud computing is changing network infrastructure, with more networks adopting cloud-based solutions to increase scalability and reduce costs.
  • Edge computing: Processing data closer to the source of the data has become popular due to its ability to address the challenges posed by the growing number of connected devices and the increasing demand for low-latency, secure and cost-effective data processing.
  • Network security: Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and complex, making network security a top priority for organizations. As a result, more advanced security solutions are needed.

Network infrastructure in a Nutshell

Network infrastructure is the backbone of any modern organization, enabling communication and data transfer across devices and systems. To build a reliable and scalable network infrastructure, service providers need to adopt a combination of different technologies and approaches. These include network disaggregation, network automation, cloud networking and security orchestration. 

 By leveraging these trends, organizations can build a network infrastructure that meets the demands of modern business operations, ensuring both reliable and scalable networks.