AI isn't going to put human network managers out of work. It will, however, help managers become more insightful and efficient.

John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author

March 6, 2024

1 Min Read
IT person in a server room
Aleksei Gorodenkov via Alamy Stock

As networks grow increasingly complex and distributed, the benefits of deploying artificial intelligence (AI) technology are becoming increasingly evident. In short, AI is poised to fundamentally change the way networks are monitored and managed.

A key AI benefit is rescuing skilled network teams from routine and mundane tasks. "AI can help monitor the health and configuration of the network, identifying anomalies and potentially taking corrective actions automatically," says Marc Herren, network advisory director with the technology research and advisory firm ISG, in an email interview.

More importantly, the emergence of software-defined WANs (SD-WANs) is opening the way for network managers to integrate AI technology into network operations and management. "For the industry to deliver on the promise of a self-healing or self-correcting WAN, AI tools can help automate routine network operation tasks, set policies, measure network performance against set targets, and respond to and rectify the networks as needed," Herren explains.

AI can also make snap decisions to remediate a variety of serious network issues. "Although human operators can more effectively triage complex and multi-step problems, AI is a powerful tool that can supplement the work of network engineers to add robust controls and automation to mature networks," says David Brauchler, a principal security consultant with cybersecurity and software assurance services firm NCC Group via email. "AI should be considered an addition to a company’s network team rather than a replacement, accelerating the work of engineers and creating new efficiency improvements to developed workflows."

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About the Author(s)

John Edwards

Technology Journalist & Author

John Edwards is a veteran business technology journalist. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and numerous business and technology publications, including Computerworld, CFO Magazine, IBM Data Management Magazine, RFID Journal, and Electronic Design. He has also written columns for The Economist's Business Intelligence Unit and PricewaterhouseCoopers' Communications Direct. John has authored several books on business technology topics. His work began appearing online as early as 1983. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, he wrote daily news and feature articles for both the CompuServe and Prodigy online services. His "Behind the Screens" commentaries made him the world's first known professional blogger.

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