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Networking News

Gina Narcisi

From those specializing in hybrid cloud-based offerings and Networking as a Service to Secure Access Service Edge and private 5G, here are 10 of the hottest networking startups of 2022.

Bring In The New  

What a time to be a networking newcomer. Networking startups are making a name for themselves by starting at the edge, harnessing new kinds of connectivity and leading with a hybrid cloud approach. Not to mention they are all about embracing the new ways that businesses are looking to buy IT, including subscription-based services.

Networking startups are bursting onto the scene and giving some of the largest vendors a run for their money. Still, there’s room for even the market incumbents to partner with these startups. Networking and SD-WAN companies such as Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, and Versa Networks are choosing to team with startups because of their fresh takes on private 5G, managed networking offerings and next-generation connectivity options. Meanwhile, some startups are filling holes in the market around consumption-based or managed network offerings, as well as edge networking, next-generation data center networking and Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE. One thing that the incumbents and market newcomers have in common? They recognize the power of the channel and are tapping MSPs and resellers for help getting the word out on the new ways to handle networking requirements.

From those specializing in hybrid cloud-based offerings and Networking as a Service to cellular connectivity and 5G, here 10 of the hottest networking startups of 2022.

  • Alkira
  • Aviatrix
  • Celona
  • Graphiant
  • ngena
  • Nile
  • Perimeter 81
  • Prosimo
  • Rockport Networks
  • Trustgrid
Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is a senior editor covering the networking and telecom markets for CRN.com. Prior to joining CRN, she covered the networking, unified communications and cloud space for TechTarget. She can be reached at gnarcisi@thechannelcompany.com.

Mon, 21 Nov 2022 19:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.crn.com/news/networking/the-10-hottest-networking-startups-of-2022
Killexams : How Mesh Networking Works, and How To Find the Right System for You

Eero is one of many mesh options now available.
Photo: Amazon

Mesh networking has been around for several years now, but can it solve your home wifi woes, and is it the right networking upgrade for you? And if it is, how can you possibly pick the right system? Here, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about mesh networking, from the key hardware specs to how everything works in practice.

You don’t necessarily need to set up a mesh network: If you’ve got a powerful enough router and a small enough home, just one wifi-spreading device will do the job. However, adding multiple boxes can remove dead zones and areas where connectivity is patchy, as well as Boost transfer speeds in every corner of every room.

How mesh networks work

Essentially, a mesh network system adds some extra devices aside from your main router and modem. These additional devices, usually called satellites, act almost like routers themselves, broadcasting wireless connectivity into every corner of wherever you call home. Each point in the system is connected wirelessly to the rest, presenting a single wifi network to your devices.

The main advantage to a mesh network is that it lets you cover a bigger space with faster wifi—problems with distance and walls and furniture can be minimized. It also means you can hook up many more of your gadgets without any issue or interference, which is an important consideration in the era of the smart home and families with three personal computing devices each.

You’ll find that mesh networks are smart enough to route traffic in the most efficient way, and they can usually deal with one of the satellite units failing as well. The majority of systems also include wired Ethernet ports on each unit, so if there is a games console or a laptop that you want to hook up directly for a faster, more stable connection, then you can do that too.

If you need a broader spread of wifi, then you can also look into powerline networking (which transmits internet through your home’s power lines) and wifi extenders, which deliver the signal coming from your router an extra boost. For most people, mesh networking is the more powerful and flexible option, albeit the more expensive one—but depending on your situation, the alternatives might be worth considering.

Specs appeal

The first spec you’re likely to see on a mesh networking system is whether it supports the latest Wi-Fi 6E spec (or the slightly slower Wi-Fi 6)—you might also see an overall speed rating for the system, typically measured in megabits or gigabits per second (how much traffic the units can support, essentially). The faster the speeds, the better the network, and the more you’re likely to have to pay for the hardware.

It’s important to remember that these are ideal, top-end speeds, and you probably won’t see them on your network, what with all those walls and floors to deal with. What’s more, they obviously don’t affect the speed of your incoming broadband—that’s between you and your internet service provider. A mesh network won’t increase the speed of the internet coming into your home, but it should ensure that speed is maximized across every corner of your home.

The Orbi 760 series supports Wi-Fi 6.
Photo: Netgear

Then there’s pertinent information, such as the area that the mesh system covers: This should be quoted in most listings, although it’s an ideal figure (a bit like the battery life estimates that phone makers put on their handsets). It’s best to check actual reviews to make sure you know what you’re actually getting. If you need to cover a wider area, you can often add on extra satellite units, though the cost will of course go up, too.

Most mesh networking packs will tell you how many devices can be hooked up without losing speed, too: It’s usually in the hundreds if you’re working with one or two satellite units. If you have a lot of devices in your home online at the same time, then this is one of the most important specs to look out for, and it might well be one of the areas where you see the biggest improvement over using a single router/modem device.

Battle of the bands

Today’s mesh networking kits come with dual-band functionality, like any standard router: 2.4GHz (slower, but able to travel further) and 5GHz (faster, but can’t travel as far). While the majority of systems now make a smart decision for you about which devices are hooked up to which band, there are still some that broadcast two wifi networks (one for 2.4GHz and one for 5GHz), so you can decide for yourself.

Some more expensive kits offer tri-band or even quad-band functionality, with additional 5GHz or 6GHz bands commonly used for the mesh nodes to talk to each other. This means the communication between the units and your actual gadgets isn’t interrupted or interfered with, as the mesh network communicates with itself and works out how to optimize traffic—it should lead to a faster and more stable experience, especially on networks where there are a lot of different devices hooked up.

Nest Wifi Pro is the latest mesh system from Google.
Photo: Google

We’re also now starting to see mesh networking systems with integrated SIM card slots—that means your network can fall back on a 4G or a 5G cellular signal if and when your broadband internet goes down. If you’re working from home and you absolutely can’t afford to go offline, it might be worth investing in a package that comes with a SIM slot and signing up for another data plan from your mobile provider.

There are a bunch of other, less important features to look out for too, including the option to set up a separate guest network, voice control support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, built-in parental controls for limiting web access, and so on. One final point to note is that, to get the very best Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E performance, your connecting phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets also need to support Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E.

Using a mesh network

These days, most mesh networks are setup via an app that you run on your phone. It’ll guide you through the process of creating your new mesh network and assigning a name and a password to it, and it may even deliver you some advice about where to place your satellites. Even if you’ve never attempted to do any kind of network upgrade or maintenance before, you should find the whole process very straightforward.

The router unit from your mesh kit typically plugs into your existing router/modem rather than replacing it, so you can in fact keep your old wifi network running alongside your new one, if you want to. Your existing box still handles communication with the outside world, but the mesh devices take over the job of spreading wireless connectivity around your home and making sure that everything stays online.

The Orbi app gives you a rundown of the current system status.
Screenshot: Netgear

As you work through the setup process, you’ll be able to test that everything is working properly, including the links between the router and however many satellites you’ve got. If there are any optional extras, including the ability to create a separate guest network, then you’ll see prompts for these as well.

Most mesh network kits come with an app where you’ll mange your new setup, though it shouldn’t really need much in the way of management. You’ll typically be able to monitor obtain and upload speeds, check that your satellite units are connected, and see the devices that are currently connected via wireless and wired links. Depending on the mesh network system you’ve gone for, you might also be able to set up restrictions for the kids and access advanced security features.

Backhaul vs front haul

We’ve already touched on the tri-band systems that have an additional 5GHz or 6GHz band specifically dedicated to communication between the nodes of the kit: Technically, this is known as a backhaul link. Less expensive dual-band systems have what’s known as a shared backhaul, where the components of the mesh network chat to each other on the same channels as they’re chatting to your individual devices.

Meanwhile, the regular info your devices send over your mesh network is treated as fronthaul data. This info then gets transferred to the backhaul so that everything gets back to the main router, with a fair bit of smart optimization and organization along the way. Mesh networks that put both fronthaul and backhaul data on the same bands will still work fine for the most part, but having separate spaces means more room for each of them, and less chance of congestion and interference.

A dedicated backhaul can also be created over Ethernet, if you’re in a position to get all of your mesh networking nodes wired up to each other. This is the ideal option, because it means all of your wireless bands and channels are freed up for the data that matters most: the data that’s traveling to and from your phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers and gaming consoles. Some mesh systems offer this functionality and some don’t, so it’s worth checking.

Some systems—the Amazon Eero Pro 6 for example—use tri-band but don’t dedicate one specific band to backhaul traffic. Instead, algorithms are used to optimize data use and keep fronthaul and backhaul information as separate as possible and moving as smoothly as possible. This is something else to look out for on spec sheets.

The best kits you can buy right now

We don’t have the space here for a full buying guide, but there are a few mesh networking kits that you can check out as a starting point. Beginning with the tech brands you’re likely to have already heard of, there are the Amazon Eero kits, starting from $200. That cheapest option is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 setup, with coverage up to 4,500 square feet and speeds up to 900 Mbps.

There are three Google Nest Wifi systems available at the moment, which isn’t at all confusing: Google Wifi, Nest Wifi, and Nest Wifi Pro. The Pro model is the most advanced and the most expensive at $200 and up: It offers tri-band Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, speeds of up to 5.4 Gbps, and coverage up to 6,600 square feet.

When it comes to more advanced and substantial mesh networking kits—which are also more expensive, too—then the Netgear Orbi series is a good example of the form. There are plenty of kits to choose from, but if you’ve got a spare $1,500, then the Orbi 960 series will deliver you quad-band Wi-Fi 6E, maximum speeds of 10.8 Gbps, and coverage of up to 9,000 square feet. It’s a serious collection of devices.

Linksys is another manufacturer making mesh networking kits that are powerful and available at a range of prices. For $300, you can get hold of a 3-pack Atlas 6 system, which gives you dual-band Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, speeds of up to 3 Gbps, and coverage up to 6,000 square feet. There’s a wealth of models available, so you should be able to find something that fits your needs and your budget.

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 05:58:00 -0600 en text/html https://gizmodo.com/mesh-network-what-is-how-to-guide-setup-help-wifi-route-1849821653
Killexams : Are you ready for networking in 2025 and beyond?

Time stands still for no one – and for no network either. If there’s one lesson that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that large-scale change can happen without warning. If your network can’t adapt quickly and efficiently, you’ll be left by the wayside.

For example, while your organisation may already have tapped the power of the Internet of Things and edge computing (perhaps even enhanced by the speed and stability of private 5G in the quest for digital transformation, this does not automatically make you future-proof.

Watching the trends

A new NTT ebook, The Future of Networking in 2025 and Beyond, looks at the trends that are likely to have the biggest impact on CIOs and information technology in the next few years. These trends include:

1. The hyper-distributed workforce

Post-pandemic, people in many industries will continue to work in a flexible way as they move between their homes and their workplace, or sign on from hotels, trains and other locations. This workforce distribution will become more global in nature as organisations in need of specific skills look beyond traditional geographic boundaries.

Organisations that embrace this trend will be able to access a much broader talent pool and be more attractive to prospective employees. If executed well – through networks that make hyper-distributed working seamless and secure, and which support collaboration tools that make remote workers feel like part of the team – it will drive higher levels of employee satisfaction and productivity. Networks that enable immersive, high-definition collaboration will underpin the employee value proposition for organisations fighting over top talent.

2. Multicloud adoption

Migration to a multicloud architecture is becoming a critical strategy for many organisations. Deciding what to host where, while managing costs and supporting network agility, is now part and parcel of the deployment of applications and services, both on- and off-premises.

More than 90% of organisations around the world now place the migration of network functions to the cloud and cloud-first network solutions among their top three expected changes to network characteristics, according to our 2022–23 Global Network Report.

3. Evolving security

New network architectures also create new and more complex security needs, including the shift from perimeter-based security to identity-based security.

A distributed workforce presents a bigger target for cybercriminals. Organisations are moving to more centralised, cloud-based security solutions, such as secure access service edge (SASE), and a managed endpoint security model.

4. The move from software-defined to intent-based networks

Networking functions are shifting away from software-defined networking towards an intent-based approach. Through centralised orchestration and high levels of extensibility, intent-based networking allows for a more business-outcome-based network, where smart network infrastructure uses business-aligned policies and rules to control the network’s behaviour and performance – for example, increasing video capacity and priority during a CEO’s video address to all employees.

You need the right skills – whether in-house or sourced from a managed service provider – to support new, programmable and orchestrated networks that use intent-based networking platforms.

5. AI Ops-driven operations

There is increasing complexity in managing modern, highly distributed and increasingly more intelligent networks. Using AI in network operations (AIOps) gives you the essential and fast-developing tools to process and make sense of the increasingly vast amounts of data generated by modern networks.

These tools allow you to maintain and optimize your systems in line with business changes. As these tools evolve and become more mainstream, they can even help you mitigate skill shortages.

6. Sustainability

As your organisation adopts sustainability goals and you monitor your carbon footprint, it becomes crucial to integrate environmentally friendly initiatives with your information technology strategy. This extends to building management (including smart buildings) and educating your employees on the benefits of your sustainability efforts.

Data will drive organisational sustainability objectives. Access to the data needed to make decisions – and then tracking the effectiveness of those decisions in real-time – will be key to organisations’ success in pursuing their sustainability objectives.

What comes next?

Other innovative technologies such as augmented and virtual reality within the metaverse, photonic computing, quantum networking and 6G may not be mainstream – yet. But shifting to a modern, cloud-based, software-defined and data-driven network infrastructure has never been more important, according to Amit Dhingra, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Network Services at NTT.

“Networks form the backbone of our digital world,” he says. “The explosion in demand for connectivity that arose during the pandemic gave organisations a greater appreciation of this unsung superhero of modern business – and cemented the network’s role as a vital contributor to enabling computing applications and achieving business goals.”

Make sure you’re prepared by assessing the readiness of your organisation’s network for the disruptions that lie ahead.

Download our ebook, The Future of Networking in 2025 and Beyond.

Matthew Allen is VP, Service Offer Management – Networking at NTT

Fri, 18 Nov 2022 20:41:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.cio.com/article/412636/are-you-ready-for-networking-in-2025-and-beyond.html
Killexams : Networking for remote work puts the emphasis on people, not sites

Many companies had to support work-from-home (WFH) during COVID, and most looked forward to having their staff back in the office. Most now tell me that some or all of the staff isn’t coming back, and that remote work is a given for at least some positions, likely for a very long time. That’s opened major questions about how these now-forever-roaming workers are connected to information resources and to each other.

Didn’t we solve this already, with Zoom and Teams? Sort of. Collaborative video applications provide a reasonable substitute for meetings, but you still have the challenge of application access and information delivery. A bit over 80% of enterprises I’ve talked with say they need to make a remote worker look like they’re at their desk, and they need to be able to work as though they were as well.

During lockdown, most companies said they relied on sending files and documents to workers. A few used SD-WAN technology to connect workers’ homes to the company VPN. The former strategy is very limiting and inefficient; you can’t replace checking account status online by sending around documents. The latter is a reasonable approach for some workers, but it’s expensive to deliver everybody an SD-WAN appliance to take home, and it’s also difficult to support. But you can run many SD-WAN clients as cloud software. Why not use the cloud?

One big enterprise I talked to thought about that, and then had another idea. When they explored that question, they realized they were already using the cloud as a front-end to facilitate customer marketing, sales, and support. A cloud application provided a front-end to their legacy product, order, and account management, making those systems look like they were designed for customer use. Why not use the cloud to provide workers with broader access? Customer applications were restricted depending on which parts of the core business applications they could access; worker applications would have fewer restrictions.

Hey, great idea. They divided up their application APIs. Those on “the right” are the web portals designed for customers, and these can generate only a limited number of transaction types, with limited data access/update capability. Those on “the left” are designed for workers, and they offer broader capabilities. Both sets of APIs use the Internet and the cloud, and you can access them anywhere.

Even in the office, it turns out. When this company started working through their cloud-API support plan for their remote workers, they realized that most workers weren’t remote all the time, they came back to the office. Once there, they used the “local” GUI for their applications, and they didn’t like that. It was different and required different instructions, and workers liked the web/cloud interface better. So they gave the workers access to that same set of “left-hand” APIs while in-office.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

Thu, 17 Nov 2022 09:55:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.networkworld.com/article/3680156/networking-for-remote-work-puts-the-emphasis-on-people-not-sites.html
Killexams : For new workers in Minnesota, networking is all part of the game

Networking has never been easier, thanks to websites and apps, but, first, people have to get over the word.

Cathy Paper, a Twin Cities networking coach, surveyed 500 people and found that three-fourths of her respondents don't like the word networking. Some told her it feels "slimy" or "opportunistic."

"Your network is really one of the most powerful business tools you can have, next to a great attitude," Paper said. "I almost wish we could just call it building positive connections or building relationships."

Young professionals who take advantage of their proficiency on social media and video conferencing can quickly build relationships to help plan careers, find new opportunities or simply identify resources to help complete a project.

Marcia Ballinger, co-author of "The 20-Minute Networking Meeting," encourages young professionals to begin early in their careers to develop what can become a lifelong network.

"People at the end of their career never say 'I wish I had a smaller network. I wish I knew fewer people. I wish I had access to less wisdom. I wish that there were fewer advocates to assist me when needed,'" said Ballinger, co-founder of the Ballinger Leafblad executive search firm.

Young professionals often can open doors just by asking questions of potential contacts, Ballinger said.

"People who are steeped in a function or an industry find great joy in sharing their wisdom," Ballinger said. "The superpower that a young professional has, is curiosity. Almost every professional who's a certain number of years into their career will say, 'Please come in, I'd love to talk to you.'"

Those early in their careers can offer their expertise in technology to help previous generations, said Jill Johnson, president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services. A college student connection who worked in an Apple store helped her buy her first iPad and, through his other job in the dean's office, land a university speaking engagement.

"I love connecting with younger professionals because I'm always learning from them," Johnson said. "That multigenerational perspective is really valuable. … As they get increasing levels of responsibility, they're also decisionmakers or decision influences on services and resources that I can provide."

While other social media platforms may be more popular with young people, a LinkedIn profile is a must for those who have networking aspirations, Johnson said.

When attorney Christopher Pham of Fredrikson & Byron wasn't meeting many other diverse professionals at traditional networking events, he launched his own. Pham's "Elevate Our Network" gatherings occur weekly in Minneapolis at the Exchange & Alibi Lounge, which Pham co-owns. Networking should be fun, and bringing one or more friends along to a networking event can help, he said.

"When it's fun, that crosses all barriers," Pham said. "When it's low stress and when it's high energy, that allows people to come as their authentic selves. That's the most important part about developing and building authentic relationships."

The goal in networking should not be finding the next client or the next deal.

"It's really about, how can I help others?" Pham said. "How can I be a resource to others without that expectation of a benefit coming back to me? When you become the resource, networking isn't about meeting people, it's about becoming the person that people want to meet."

Younger people have an advantage in networking online because they know how to communicate on social media, said Paper, the networking coach. But they need to be strategic about who they want to meet and why.

Paper recommends that people starting out in networking look for these relationships first: peer, connector, mentor and volunteer. She expects to publish a book, "A Scaredy Cat's Guide to Networking," next year.

"A network is the people that can help you get more done," Paper said. "For somebody that is younger, think about what kind of relationships do I want to have? Am I in it for the long haul? Or am I an opportunist?"

Young professionals trying to network often get concerned about external issues like what they're wearing or how they're speaking, said Nathan Perez, a speaker, executive career and job search coach and also co-author of "The 20-Minute Networking Meeting."

Because networking is the practice of meeting with other people with a specific purpose in mind, Perez said, they instead should focus on what information they want to get as a result of their networking efforts. Researching contacts, their work experience and organization can help in developing specific questions.

Even more important, is what the networker does with that information, Perez said.

"My goal here is to simplify networking even further," Perez said. "It's just about information, the exchange of information. Every discussion that you ever have, there's an exchange of information. That information, I can apply to future discussions. If you apply those learnings to what it is that you are after, then you are actually actively networking."

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is todd_nelson@mac.com.

Sun, 13 Nov 2022 06:09:00 -0600 text/html https://www.startribune.com/how-to-network-minnesota/600225397/
Killexams : Home networking wiring questions
Cat5e is absolutely fine for pretty much anything unless you want to run HDBase-T for HDMI over cat6/Cat6a.

I would have them pull a couple pre-terminated single mode fiber patch cables with LC connectors already installed. IF the walls are open to a large degree, it should be trivial to install without messing it up. Just make sure they know not to stress the cable or bend it to tight etc. Buy cables that are plenty long, no worries about being too long, you just make a loop at the ends for any extra.

Single mode fiber will run 1 Gig, 10 Gig, 25, 40, 100, etc. The transceivers for single mode vs multimode are a bit more expensive but if you buy them on fs.com or ebay you won't spend that much either way, especially since you will only ever need a couple of transceivers.

If they deliver any pushback or if it seems they might screw it up, just skip the fiber. The cat5e will be plenty for just about anything. 1 Gbit is a lot and 2.5Gbit is a ton. You'll be fine either way.

Fri, 11 Nov 2022 01:43:00 -0600 text/html https://arstechnica.com/civis/threads/home-networking-wiring-questions.1487787/
Killexams : The cloud networking market is broken – Netmaker is trying to fix it
Audio player loading…

From businesses to individual users, everybody seems to be using the cloud. And, with organizations migrating more and more towards a remote or hybrid work model, cloud computing is simply going to get bigger and bigger. 

The market's overall value exceeded $368 billion (opens in new tab) in 2021, and this is expected to grow at a staggering annual rate of 15.7% between now and 2030.  

Fri, 02 Dec 2022 01:29:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.techradar.com/news/the-cloud-networking-market-is-broken-netmaker-is-trying-to-fix-it
Killexams : Why we build networks that hurt our performance, and what we can do about it

The network of informal ties we build in the workplace is key to our success and performance. Yet, as researchers at ESMT Berlin found, we often build networks that hamper our performance.

Professors Gianluca Carnabuci and Eric Quintane, both from ESMT Berlin, investigated how and when people build networks that allow them to perform at their best. To this end, they conducted a longitudinal field experiment within a business unit of a large semiconductor company, tracing the and performance of each employee over two and a half years.

They found that most employees formed relationships that align naturally with their , defined as an employee's preferred way of processing information and solving problems. For example, employees who value variety and creativity build "bridging relationships" cutting across different groups and silos of the organization.

Why? Because these relationships bring a breadth of opinions, perspectives, and ideas with which creative employees feel naturally at ease. On the other hand, employees who value precision and meticulous execution over creativity avoid such bridging relationships and focus instead on reinforcing their pre-existing ties within a single group.

Building networks that align with our cognitive style is natural, because it makes people feel good. At the same time, however, it is also a recipe for subpar performance. When focusing on the top performers, Carnabuci and Quintane found that these people did just the opposite of what most other employees did: they built networks that complemented their cognitive style, rather than aligned with it.

For example, the top-performing creative individuals resisted their to create bridging relationships with new contacts from other groups and, rather, immersed themselves within a dense network of strong pre-existing relationships. Such cohesive networks were powerful performance boosters for creatives because they helped them execute plans and convert their ingenious ideas into concrete, implementable solutions.

On the other hand, the top performers among the execution-oriented employees worked hard to develop new ties across the organization's silos and groups. By doing so, they combined their superior execution skills with an influx of perspectives and ideas from their network.

"We know how important building the right type of network is for individual performance, creativity, and ," says Carnabuci. "However, many people inadvertently build networks that hold them back professionally. Based on our research, we now have an explanation for why this happens and what we can do about it."

An important takeaway from this study is understanding how networks can Boost performance. "If we aim to perform at our best, we must strive to build workplace networks that complement—rather than reinforce—our innate skills," says Quintane. While doing so often means stepping outside of comfort zones, the returns are tangible.

Investing in a network requires considerable self-discipline and commitment. Yet, organizations can do more to support their employees in this effort.

For example, Carnabuci and Quintane showed that even a single day of executive education, designed to help employees build more productive networks, was enough to produce substantial performance benefits among many of the company's employees. This finding suggests that rather than expecting employees to know what networks are right for them, organizations should support by imparting evidence-based knowledge on how networks really work.

This article is published in the Academy of Management Journal.

More information: Gianluca Carnabuci et al, When People Build Networks That Hurt Their Performance: Structural Holes, Cognitive Style, and the Unintended Consequences of Person-Network Fit, Academy of Management Journal (2022). DOI: 10.5465/amj.2021.1227

Provided by European School of Management and Technology (ESMT)

Citation: Why we build networks that hurt our performance, and what we can do about it (2022, November 10) retrieved 9 December 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-networks.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Thu, 10 Nov 2022 04:52:00 -0600 en text/html https://phys.org/news/2022-11-networks.html
Killexams : Social Networks Are Going Much, Much Smaller

It had been years since I heard the phrase “What server are you on?”

It used to be in reference to Usenet, then Discord. But in exact weeks, as many have started to flee Twitter, friends, friends of friends, work colleagues, and randos I met one time are all asking the question in reference to Mastodon. One firm reported in early November that 1 million people had left Twitter after Elon Musk’s takeover; weeks later, even more have abandoned it.

Some experts and pundits are saying this exodus marks the death of social networks. Those articles aren’t entirely wrong, but they aren’t that right, either. What we’re seeing is not so much the death of an age as an evolution in social networks—a shift towards community-focused and -designed spaces like Mastodon, Discord, and Twitch. While social media was for 15 years or so focused on bringing your message to as many people as possible at one time, we’re heading now toward a future in which it’s about reaching a much smaller group of people with whom you already share interests, beliefs, or affinity. Hence the server question: On Mastodon (something of a Twitter clone) and Discord (which is more Slack-like), different spaces are called servers ( also known as instances on Mastodon). Anyone can sign up and create their own server. While Discord is all one interconnected product and technology, Mastodon is open-source, and the instances/servers can disconnect from the main federated timeline if they want to. There are servers for video games, for fandoms, for particular professions, for advocacy, and for just about anything you can think of.

Community-focused social networks aren’t anything new—WhatsApp and Telegram message groups have long been described as social networks, and Reddit’s existed for what feels like forever. But the focus on specific communities is different, as is platform design that allows for a variety of different kinds of communications across video, streaming, multiple message boards, one-to-one messaging, and communal spaces large and small.

Posting publicly on Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram is a lot like using a megaphone to scream to a large, massless, faceless crowd. A Discord server or a WhatsApp group is more like going to a friend’s party; I may not know everyone there, but I can get a sense of who is there and who is listening, even if the majority of attendees are strangers. I can flit from a larger group conversation to a smaller, more intimate sidebar with a certain kind of ease I can’t on a lot of other social networks. Mastodon, WhatsApp, Discord, Twitch, or even Facebook groups offer mixed spaces that exist somewhere between the public and private. They function as slower and smaller networks, even if they can host thousands of people. The slowness comes from design choices. For instance, while it’s possible to screenshot or forward a message, WhatsApp places limitations on the ability to forward messages. Discord has some of the most nuanced content moderation controls around for administrators and users alike, such as the ability to block words, specialized phrases, and whitelist content.

The big technology companies exist in a Web 2.0 context. The rise of their massive platforms grew out of the shift from Web 1.0 to 2.0, from the static to the dynamic. These technical changes also reflected (and reinforced) societal shifts, which we’re also starting to see today. People want more control over their digital lives; while influencers and some others still want as many likes and shares and comments as possible, most people seem to increasingly see widespread sharing of their content to be a risk, not a feature. That suggests we may be embarking on a Web 3.0—one that has nothing to do with blockchain, but is instead a return to some of the features of Web 1.0: small networks, trusted communities, anonymity, and avatars, now with the necessary socio-technical support of trust and safety teams, content moderation, and intersectional thought we’ve learned over the past decades. The shift toward user augmentation, combined with privacy, security, and trust and safety, is this necessary shift toward a new and better web.

This isn’t to say we should all exit en masse to Mastodon and completely abandon our Instagram or Twitter. Twitter still has value. Johnathan Flowers, a philosophy professor from American University, has pointed out the necessity for a singular space, like Twitter, for organizing. That’s one reason why I’m still sticking around, even though it has never been a safe place for me (because of the work I do) or for many other people.

The truth is that no platform is entirely safe for marginalized groups and BIPOC communities in particular. Federated communities like Mastodon have and will have problems with white supremacists and bad actors starting their own instances since decentralization does allow for literally anyone to make their own instances and servers and become their own content moderators.

In our current and next web, we need something of both—a place that is general and easier for organizing (like a Twitter), with options for smaller, community-focused spaces. What I still love about Twitter is the high level of chatter; the volume is overwhelming in a way that I like. I want to see breaking news and new memes. But I also crave deeper conversation with communities and stronger community ties, which is a kind of communication design Twitter doesn’t handle very well.

Mastodon is growing radically in number of new users every day. Another sign we may be entering a new age? On Nov. 1, the privacy-centric messaging app Signal launched its Stories feature, bringing the corporatized social network design feature to messaging-only apps. Within minutes, a handful of my friends started posting stories. Some of these were activists who just don’t or can’t use Instagram. Getting to see glimpses into their lives, including selfies, was amazing. Prior to Signal Stories, if I saw these friends’ faces, it was only in person. If I’m lucky, sometimes I see them once or twice in a handful of years. I didn’t realize how much I had missed them until I saw their faces—something made possible by allowing them to feel comfortable and in control of their information. For the communities I work with, this is a necessary step forward in combining encryption, privacy, and social networks in a way we actually don’t have right now.

Social networks come and go, and our exact technological history is a littered graveyard of Google Readers, Myspaces, Ellos, and Friendsters. Facebook and Twitter are the giants of our current web, but they don’t have to be our future. As we can see now, Silicon Valley’s push to grow and expand at all costs was a mistake. They were described as too big to fail, but it turns out they are just too big to function, at least as currently built. Recently, I spent about five minutes carefully curating my Signal Stories recipients, slowly separating out professional contacts from my friends, one by one. Signal Stories isn’t perfect (Janus Rose summarized the problems best), but I am willing to spend more time creating specific lists on Signal because it feels different; more sustainable, trustworthy, and focused on community public interest. The biggest selling factor for Signal Stories is that I’m already there and so is my core community. Right now, my community is in multiple spaces: across Twitter, Instagram, Signal, Twitch, Discord, Mastodon. Once this period of upheaval has ended, I suspect many other people will also have followed their communities to smaller spaces—at least part of the time.

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.

Wed, 30 Nov 2022 03:01:00 -0600 en text/html https://slate.com/technology/2022/11/mastodon-discord-small-social-networks.html
Killexams : Artificial neural networks learn better when they spend time not learning at all

Depending on age, humans need 7 to 13 hours of sleep per 24 hours. During this time, a lot happens: Heart rate, breathing and metabolism ebb and flow; hormone levels adjust; the body relaxes. Not so much in the brain.

"The is very busy when we sleep, repeating what we have learned during the day," said Maxim Bazhenov, Ph.D., professor of medicine and a sleep researcher at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. "Sleep helps reorganize memories and presents them in the most efficient way."

In previous published work, Bazhenov and colleagues have reported how sleep builds rational memory, the ability to remember arbitrary or indirect associations between objects, people or events, and protects against forgetting old memories.

Artificial leverage the architecture of the to Boost numerous technologies and systems, from basic science and medicine to finance and social media. In some ways, they have achieved superhuman performance, such as computational speed, but they fail in one key aspect: When artificial neural networks learn sequentially, new information overwrites previous information, a phenomenon called catastrophic forgetting.

"In contrast, the human brain learns continuously and incorporates new data into existing knowledge," said Bazhenov, "and it typically learns best when new training is interleaved with periods of sleep for ."

Writing in the November 18, 2022 issue of PLOS Computational Biology, senior author Bazhenov and colleagues discuss how biological models may help mitigate the threat of catastrophic forgetting in artificial neural networks, boosting their utility across a spectrum of research interests.

The scientists used spiking neural networks that artificially mimic natural neural systems: Instead of information being communicated continuously, it is transmitted as discrete events (spikes) at certain time points.

They found that when the spiking networks were trained on a new task, but with occasional off-line periods that mimicked sleep, catastrophic forgetting was mitigated. Like the human brain, said the study authors, "sleep" for the networks allowed them to replay old memories without explicitly using old training data.

Memories are represented in the human brain by patterns of synaptic weight—the strength or amplitude of a connection between two neurons.

"When we learn new information," said Bazhenov, "neurons fire in specific order and this increases synapses between them. During sleep, the spiking patterns learned during our awake state are repeated spontaneously. It's called reactivation or replay.

"Synaptic plasticity, the capacity to be altered or molded, is still in place during sleep and it can further enhance synaptic weight patterns that represent the , helping to prevent forgetting or to enable transfer of knowledge from old to new tasks."

When Bazhenov and colleagues applied this approach to , they found that it helped the networks avoid catastrophic forgetting.

"It meant that these networks could learn continuously, like humans or animals. Understanding how human brain processes information during sleep can help to augment memory in human subjects. Augmenting sleep rhythms can lead to better memory.

"In other projects, we use computer models to develop optimal strategies to apply stimulation during sleep, such as auditory tones, that enhance sleep rhythms and Boost learning. This may be particularly important when memory is non-optimal, such as when declines in aging or in some conditions like Alzheimer's disease."

Co-authors include: Ryan Golden and Jean Erik Delanois, both at UC San Diego; and Pavel Sanda, Institute of Computer Science of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

More information: Ryan Golden et al, Sleep prevents catastrophic forgetting in spiking neural networks by forming a joint synaptic weight representation, PLOS Computational Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1010628

Citation: Artificial neural networks learn better when they spend time not learning at all (2022, November 18) retrieved 9 December 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-artificial-neural-networks.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Fri, 18 Nov 2022 08:41:00 -0600 en text/html https://phys.org/news/2022-11-artificial-neural-networks.html
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