By: Sri Subramanian

Internet-only offices are now real

There is no spoon

Remember that scene in The Matrix, when Neo finds out that he can bend the spoon only if he realizes that there is no spoon? What if you realize that there is no corporate network — that your WAN is just like The Matrix, an illusion? Could you then bend and transform your network?

My colleagues and I brush shoulders with some amazing network architects who have done just that. These were the ones tasked with connecting really remote branches — the paper factories in the middle of the jungle, the floating offices in the ocean, the places from where they could not backhaul anything, but from where they could get to the internet.

These remote branches are the manufacturing plants, oil drills and other similar sites, that in the past, never needed to be on the corporate network. That has changed now. Without network access, workers can no longer be part of the corporate communication, which is mostly through email and intranet, and can no longer access their paycheck or other HR information. Even the machines in these sites now need to connect back to the manufacturer’s network to get critical updates.

Red pill or blue pill?

The network architects did not choose the red pill. They had no other choice - they were never offered the blue pill. And, so they took the red pill and woke up in a direct-to-internet wonderland.

Enter the matrix

While these remote offices were outliers, they paved the way to the realization that all corporate offices really just consist of users, personal devices, and some ioT, and an internet connection is all that any office, remote or central, branch or HQ, really needs. In other words, working from your office is (and should be) no different from working from your home office. And, once you know that, you too can enter the network and bend it to your will.

In part 2 of this blog, we will explore how these internet-only offices are configured.

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