Digital Networks: The Neural Network of the Digital Age (UK)

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The 2020 pandemic set into motion an unprecedented chain of events across the UK and the globe. Instances of lockdowns, social distancing and work from home meant the way we communicate with each other had to radically change. This brought about much needed attention to the critical role played by digital networksin connecting almost every facet of the society with each other, not just in the UK but all over the world.

Let’s cast an eye on various elements related to digital networks that are shaping a brave new world ahead:

  • What is digital network technology?
  • What is data network?
  • What are the different types of data networks?
  • Why does digital networking matter?
  • How do digital networks work?
  • Features of digital networks
  • How STL is using data networks to transform tech space?

What is digital network technology?

Fibre optics are made up of extremely thin strands of purified glass carrying information from one point to another in light form. These cables don’t use electricity during transmission. Instead digital signals travel through the cable as pulses of light. These cables can either be of plastic or glass tubing, capable of transmitting light converted into speech, sound, or information. The outer diameter of an optic fibre is 125 micrometers while the core of the inner transmitting cylinder has a much smaller diameter, lesser than 10 micrometers in some cases. A basic fibre optic system comprises:

  • A light signal generating transmitting device
  • A light carrying optical fibre cable
  • A transmitted light signal accepting receiver.

What is Optical Fibre Cable and How Does It Work?

Thanks to data communication and networking, we now have more innovative solutions to take care of social, environmental and economic issues than ever before. With digital network solutionson hand, we have enhanced efficiency and have more power to make intelligent, informed decisions. Data networks are a trigger for developing an open market for any digital infrastructure consumer. But first, let's comprehend the basics of digital networking.

A digital network includes both digital switching and digital transmission. Digital networks have a wide range of market places, platforms, data networks, communication networks – all linked to social media. Additionally, a communications network offers a comprehensible, strategic platform that enables IT to optimise operations, save costs, identify and address threats, and align the network continually with business.

What is data network?

A data network includes electronic communications processes which enable the orderly transmission and reception of enormous data. This sort of network is built for data transfer exclusively in contrast to audio or speech networks. This network is made up of a certain number of nodes or stations connected through different routes of communication. Typical topologies of the network comprise six key types – bus topology, mesh topology, ring topology, star topology, tree topology and hybrid topology.

What are the different Types of Data Networks?

Let’s talk about the two most common types of data networks in UK at present – private and public data networks. It is interesting to note that a shift from private to public networks has been observed in the last 12 to 18 months in the UK networking market.

Private data network:

A private data network is a type of local network designed to transmit data between different departments within a specific organization (such as a company). All locations can be integrated as network nodes. The communication takes place through a shared server, which acts as a repository for data files used by the company. In some cases, these private data networks allow data to be exchanged between multiple companies in the same industry.

In a private data network, a connection is established by creating a virtual private network (VPN) or providing a connection through an operator.

Such a network is usually used for home, business or school WiFi, or mobile hotspots to ensure security and bandwidth. The private network provides various security measures to prevent unauthorized connections.

Public data network:

This type of network is widely accessed by private and corporate clients of a communication network. While setup, the configuration of a public data network usually involves multiple servers, which are connected to the network through various processes. Some public networks, such as public Wi-Fi, require a password to connect, while others are open and do not require a password. However, some public networks simply require you to log in using a web browser.

This is where data transmission comes in. It is a process wherein information is transferred between two connected devices on a communication network. Now, let us look at the different transmission modes to better understand the concepts of networking.

When it comes to data flow, the physical layer decides largely the direction and how it reaches the recipient system or node. Various types of data transmission modes are available, based on exchange direction, transmitter-receiver synchronisation and the number of bits delivered to a computer network.

There are three kinds of modes of data transmission based on the direction of information exchange:

1. Simplex

2. Half-duplex

3. Full-duplex

There are two types of transmission modes, based on the synchronisation between the transmitter and the receiver:

1. Synchronous

2. Asynchronous

Finally, there are two sorts of data transmission modes based on the number of bits delivered concurrently into a network:

1. Serial

2. Parallel

Why does digital networking matter?

It is quite evident that digital transformation has entered all areas of life in the UK, as new processes, technologies and product development come to the fore at an astonishing speed. But an outdated static network is no longer sufficient for organizations that are beginning to implement digital transformation plans. You need to be more secure and use software-defined networking (SDN) because it can quickly support continuous changes throughout the network, all the while meeting the challenges of digital transformation.

As a consequence, many UK enterprises are quickly embracing SDN technologies to establish 4G and 5G mobile networks across the country, and accommodate distributed computing. This comes on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipation of 20% growth in internet traffic in the next 12 months. While the former has exacerbated the need for network upgradation for enterprises to boost work-from-home and employee collaboration, the latter is pushing the needle on SDN adoption.

Every modern digital networks groupin the UK thus need to be very flexible so that they can be changed in real time to meet business needs. This agility is achieved in a digital neural network, where management is centralized, and configuration changes can be completed at once, and then immediately propagated across the network.

Digital network solutions can also provide great security. IT companies now regard cyber security as their top priority, and it is the second largest investment priority after cloud in terms of digital transformation. Since the digital supply network infrastructure can see the entire flow of data traffic, it can collect data and point out security vulnerabilities when necessary.

In addition, digital technology can achieve a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, which also includes accelerating the digitization of public services.As a consequence, we are witnessing a surge in popularity of SD-WAN services amongst UK enterprises, led by work-from-home arrangements. In fact, SD-LAN as the core part of entire digital network is also being deployed in the UK by many businesses. Another thing high on the agenda of UK enterprises in terms of digital network transformation is network virtualization and improving efficiency of remote operations via more automation.

How do digital networks work?

The core of digital networks is made up of specialised equipment including switches, routers, and access points. Switches link and secure devices, such as PCs, servers and others to a home network or business network while connecting devices without cables. Routers are used to link networks and analyse data that may be transferred over a network. The way they identify end-devices is a major difference between switches and routers. Most switches are currently enabled with basic routing functionality as well.

  • Evolving computer networks Organizations all over the UK and the world are embracing digital transformation, which puts all the more emphasis on how digital networks are critical to this sea of change. To meet these requirements, new network architectures continue to emerge and are being incorporated by every local digital networks group:
  • Software Defined (SDN): In this network, data traffic is routed using software mechanisms that are centrally controlled. This leads to a high degree of agility to meet the requirements of the digital age.
  • Intent-based:Such a network is based on SDN principles. This not only provides flexibility, but also creates a network that achieves the desired goals through continuous operation automation, performance analysis, high security, and integration into various business processes.
  • Virtualized network: This type of network is achieved by fashioning multiple overlay networks via logical partition of the underlying physical network infrastructure. Each of these logical networks can be configured to meet specific security, quality of service (QoS), and other requirements.
  • Controller-based: In this type of network, the controller realizes the automation of network functions by converting business intent into device configuration and continuously monitoring the device to ensure performance and safety. Controllers are used to simplify operations and help companies respond to changing business needs.
  • Multi-domain integrations: These networks allow larger companies to communicate with each other through their controllers. The integration of multiple domains usually involves the exchange of appropriate operating parameters to ensure that the desired business results are achieved across network domains.

Features of digital networks

Digital networks have the following characteristics:

  • Centralized management: Digital communication networks design and provide end-to-end digital network service through cloud-enabled centralized management.
  • Automation: Complete automation of the network infrastructure in the access network is enabled.
  • Security:Digital networks can mitigate threats through end-to-end network segmentation. Through analysis, these networks can also detect threats in encrypted data traffic.
  • Virtualisation: The ability to implement network services on any platform and connect users to various applications through an integrated servicesdigital network.

Moreover, digital network platforms provide unlimited scalability and availability, and their functions go far beyond communication networks. They help customers obtain intelligent insights via integrated services such as compute and storage solutions. Thanks to digital communication networks, one can also create an automated environment in which smart machines can communicate with each other more reliably and efficiently, for example, self-driving cars.

How STL is using Data Networks to transform the Tech Space?

STL believes in using technology to build a world with next-gen connected experiences that have the power to greatly impact daily life. STL has emerged as one of the leading digital network integrators globally with its much acclaimed 25 years of expertise in optical connectivity. STL is the premier end-to-end provider for global integrated services digital networks, with key competencies in Optical Interconnect, Virtualised Access Solutions, Network Software and System Integration.

In the UK, STL is offering fully integrated services digital network and end-to-end solutions from the ‘factory to the field’ as full fibre network connectivity has taken over precedence as part of the £5bn 'Project Gigabit'. STL’s optical deployment services in the UK prioritise network design via algorithm-based tools, GIS-based surveys, and 100% digitisation of networks.

STL has further partnered with UK’s largest digital network business, Openreach, to deploy new full-fibre broadband network by leveraging its optical cable solutions. This future-ready digital network will be densely fiberised, and provide over 20 million homes and enterprises high-gigabitbroadband by mid-2020s. This will help lay the foundation for innovative technologies like FTTH, IoT, 5G, enterprise networks and Industry 4.0.

STL has also invested in developing a one-of-a-kind end-to-end digital networks ecosystem for all markets, including a next-generation optical and wireless 5G portfolio. By investing in technology and creating a network of partners in hardware manufacturing, cloud computing, and academics, the firm is continuing to strengthen the 5G ecosystem.

FAQs

What is digital networking business?

Using digital technology, a digital network business essentially removes or reduces the requirement for physical proximity. Thanks to a digital networking business, consumers are able to experience unique products and services. Digital data networking and digital networking business owners can use online technologies to gain granular understanding of their digital communication network.

What are the three key digital networking technologies?

Customer/server computing, packet switching and communication standards development (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)) are the three major digital networking tools or technologies. Client/server computing involves the presence of some processing power on small, inexpensive client computers. Packet switching consists of deconstructing digital communications into packets which are then sent through different communication channels to be finally reassembled upon arrival. Lastly, TCP/IP is a collection of information transfer rules and procedures between two locations in a network.

What are the 5 components of a network?

The data transmission network components are composed of hardware and software. The hardware components include server, client, peer, transmission medium, and connecting devices. On the other hand, operating systems and protocols are included in software components.

What is data communication and network?

A computer network is a collection of interconnected computers that allows for information exchange. Through a data communication network, data may be easily transmitted between nodes. In a network, the data signal might also be readily transferred from one place to another. For data communication, there are a variety of wireless methodologies.

What are data network effects?

A data network effect occurs when the value of a product increases as a result of increased usage and data accumulation. When the value of a product or service to your customer rises exponentially with the number of other users utilising the same product or service, this is known as direct network effects. WhatsApp and Skype are two instances of a one-sided network effect.

What are the 5 components of data communication?

Data, sender, receiver, transmission medium and protocol are the five components of data communication.

What are the major categories of data network?

Local Area Network (LAN), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), and Wise Area Network (WAN) comprise the three major categories of data network. Additionally, other network types have also emerged these days such as Campus Area Network (CAN), Storage-Area Network (SAN), and System Area Network (SAN).

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