What is AI networking?

AI networking is a new term introduced to specifically target how artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) applies to Wi-Fi, switching and WAN environments.

AI networking explained

Networking IT professionals are bombarded with artificial intelligence news, advice, and solution overviews that may or may not pertain to helping operate a network. To provide clarity a new term was introduced.
  • AI networking is defined as a subset of AIOps, as it offers a more efficient way to describe managing Day 2 network operations.
  • It supports Day 0 and Day 1 functions in terms of network design, setup, and dynamic advice to optimize network performance.
  • In essence, AIOps refers to a broader information and operations (I&O) focus, while AI networking is specific to wired, wireless, and SD-WAN concerns.
AI networking, AIOps

Why AI networking?

There is ambiguity surrounding AIOps, its use cases and maturity levels. While vendors have been promoting AI capabilities to manage network operations more efficiently, the hype can overshadow the value it offers. Considerations for AI in networking and security use cases:

  • AI networking can better improve IT teams’ perspective on how AI will drive better availability and optimization improvements for network and security use cases
  • Seeing examples or outcomes of shifting to AI networking-based solutions will allow IT to leverage automation to do more with the same or fewer resources
  • Vendors can more clearly define how solutions differ from horizontal AIOps offering that encompasses a broader infrastructure environment

The benefits of AI networking

From a networking perspective, much of what has been tied to AIOps remains consistent as we transition to using AI networking in our “enablement” objectives. While the new term is used more frequently going forward, many of the use cases previously introduced and, on the roadmap, remain:

  • Determining the probability of a hardware failure such as a faulty CPU or memory in an AP or switch to proactively circumvent an outage.
  • Offering recommended troubleshooting guidance through a natural language interface or targeted alert.
  • Saving time and cost on specific functions such as troubleshooting, installation efforts and minimizing site visits.

An AIOps and AI networking comparison

 AIOpsAI networking
Inception of term

Coined by Gartner, Inc. in 2017

Coined by Gartner, Inc. in 2023

General definition

Application of AI capabilities, such as natural language processing and machine learning to automate and streamline operational workflows in broad terms.

Specific to Day 0 to Day 2 network troubleshooting, optimization, and IT administrative efficiency.

AI used for network and security

Not specifically. Use of AI fits into broader narrative that includes storage operations, incident, customer relationship management, and more.

Yes. A full-stack implementation will include Wi-Fi, switching, WAN and security insights.

Examples of representative providers
  • ServiceNow
  • Broadcom
  • ScienceLogic
  • Others
  • HPE Aruba Networking
  • Others

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