The Future of Ethernet Switches: Emerging Trends and Technologies

Ethernet switches can automatically recognize devices based on their 48-bit media access control (MAC) addresses. Using this information, the controller can filter and prioritize traffic to help create a reliable network.

Ethernet switch makers are introducing new products and solutions to improve network management and support technologies like TSN. These trends will impact both LAN and industrial networks.

The Future of Ethernet Switches: Emerging Trends and Technologies

Software Defined Networking (SDN)

So, how do ethernet switches work? Unlike traditional network switches configured to perform specific functions, SDN allows administrators to control their entire networks. It also decouples the network’s control plane from its data plane, which enables the centralized SDN controller to manage policies and traffic flows. In this way, networking devices like ethernet switches can increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Moreover, SDN supports device-independent management and allows organizations to choose from various manufacturers for their networking equipment. This feature helps reduce the time required to troubleshoot issues, which improves overall network performance. It also helps ensure that networks have sufficient bandwidth to support new applications and enable organizations to create safe, secure, sustainable, and intuitive workplaces.

While SDN is an emerging technology that can help improve network reliability and speed, it has challenges. Understanding the benefits and risks of this technology before implementing it in your business is crucial. It is also advisable to start small with a non-critical network area and test its performance before deploying it across your organization. This will allow you to identify if the technology provides measurable outcomes and help you make the right decision for your business. In addition, working with a trusted network partner with the expertise and experience to support you through your digital transformation journey is essential.

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) uses one network cable to carry data signals and electrical power. It is easy to install because there is no need for electricians, and it also eliminates the cost of installing additional outlets, breaker boxes, and other electrical infrastructure.

In addition, PoE reduces operating costs by enabling network devices to operate with less power. This can be a significant advantage for intelligent work and home environments, where centralized control can improve efficiency and responsiveness.

A network switch with built-in PoE injection can power devices like cameras, VoIP phones, or large monitors. Some controllers can even deliver up to 100W of power, which makes it possible to connect devices that require more power than the standard 5W of most WiFi access points and other networking hardware.

The latest advancements in PoE technology have allowed switches to be more than just networking equipment. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, they can turn the data they collect into actionable insights that help optimize brilliant work and living environments. These insights can increase productivity, cut costs, and improve safety. They can also make the entire system more reliable and enable a new generation of intelligent, self-organizing networks. To support this trend, the Ethernet Alliance has established a program that certifies PoE products. These include component-level evaluation boards, switches, power sources, midspan injectors, and other equipment.

Intent-Based Networking (IBN)

Intent-based networking is an intelligent networking system that uses AI and machine learning to create, manage, verify, and implement network policies based on business intent. This eliminates network administrators’ need for manual configuration, reducing complexity and liberating internal IT from time-consuming administrative tasks.

IBN is a new network management technology that provides a more intuitive approach to network management. It translates business goals into a network policy, automates the translation, and ensures all devices adhere to the new network policy. This can help enterprises solve business problems faster, improve network performance and security, and increase efficiency.

This emerging trend in Ethernet switches is expected to drive the growth of the global market as more businesses adopt this technology to streamline their networking processes and optimize business operations. SMEs and large corporations can use IBN to address their networking challenges, such as managing multiple networks, ensuring consistent network performance, and securing critical data.

The global intent-based networking market is segmented by component, deployment model, enterprise size, and industry vertical. The report also identifies key players in the industry and analyzes their market share. The information includes Porter’s five forces analysis to determine the potential for investment pockets in the intent-based networking industry. The report covers the period from 2022 to 2032. The Dell’Oro Group offers quarterly reports and 5-year forecasts for the Ethernet Switch — L2+3 overall market, copper BASE-T vs. direct attach, and Gigabit Ethernet.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

ML and AI applications require massive amounts of data to be moved around the network, as well as high performance and low latency. The network fabric must be able to meet these demands but be affordable and flexible simultaneously. The good news is that this technology is already available.

TRENDnet delivers these capabilities with Ethernet switches that can host an application locally so that data doesn’t need to be sent back to the cloud. This is a game-changer for intelligent buildings, as it means lights or other devices can turn on immediately when a person enters the room — without the wait of having to send the data to the cloud and then back again.

Additionally, some of these new Ethernet switches can support PoE, so they can power network-connected devices that need more power than usual (like medical equipment, large monitors, and PTZ cameras). This opens the door to highly connected, efficient, brilliant work and living environments.

As these technologies and more continue to evolve, the demand for faster and better Ethernet continues to grow. This is why Cisco is on a mission to ensure that Ethernet is the chief underpinning for artificial intelligence networks now and into the future. They’re working hard to develop physical, link, and transport layer advances that make the web more capable of supporting these emerging workloads.

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