An article in NetworkWorld earlier this month on three fixes needed to get the network ready for the IoT revolution missed a fourth critical component: IoT automation. Cisco says today that there might be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, which some are beginning to say might be low, especially once you start adding in all of the connected light bulbs, kitchen gadgets, health monitors and more…

The article’s three fixes include:

Fiber – more devices and bandwidth hogs like 4K ultra-high-def television will require cities and consumers connected by 100Gbps fiber-optic networks. Work in this area has started with “Smart Cities” investing in infrastructure and beginning to apply the benefits of IoT connectivity to decrease energy consumption.

IPv6 – Again, according to Cisco, more than 99 percent of things in the physical world remain unconnected. This other-“other 99 percent” might be easier to address than equality in America by just giving everything a public IP, but that will take IPv6. While IPv6 has been coming for years, it will be the combination of consumer expectations and the economic incentives they bring that will ultimately bring IPv6 mainstream.

Security – Our baby steps so far into the IoT have been fraught with security missteps and concerns. The children’s toy manufacturer VTech was in the news with a data breach that impacted 5 million customer accounts. In addition to names, email addresses, mailing addresses were 190 GB of kids’ photos and chats between parents and kids — data uploaded from children’s tablets, TV learning systems and a kid-focused smartwatch and camera. IoT innovators must take a risk-based approach to balancing the benefits of the IoT with the security challenges.

What’s missing in this list? IoT automation.

Cisco is so enthusiastic about the IoT because the infrastructure that supports the IoT will include a load of traditional network gear. Deploying and managing this gear will make network automation a requirement. Products like Uplogix make it possible to identify, isolate and solve network problems before the NOC even knows there is a problem. This is the kind of smart management that is needed for true IoT automation.

Here are a few of the capabilities that will make reliable IoT infrastructure possible:

  • Automate standard support routines | Uplogix provides numerous recovery procedures that allow you to automatically address common faults without human intervention such as automatically rebooting a hung, or wedged, device to multiple types of configuration recovery.  A robust automation framework is provided for end-users to modify prepackaged or define sequential and conditional recovery procedures that align with their support practices (e.g.   Clear Service Module -> Cycle Interface -> Show Tech -> Reboot -> Cycle Power).
  • Recover from failed configuration changes via the powerful SurgicalRollback™ feature | This added “safety net” enables IT staff to make real-time to changes to network elements without the risk of failed configurations impacting operational performance.
  • Reboot hung equipment | Uplogix’ automated diagnosis framework can automatically detect a hung, or wedged, device and instantly cycle power to the unit. The Uplogix Local Manager can often detect and resolve this common problem before traditional management tools even know it exists.
  • Troubleshoot WAN connection issues | Uplogix can automatically detect common WAN problems, including outages or flapping circuits, and provide an instant diagnosis with the supporting trending or configuration data to speed recovery, document outages, or facilitate carrier resolution.

For more information, see reliable network management automation.