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Customer concerns: Top 5 of 2006

Get some insight as to the networking projects your customers were working on in 2006 and the weak spots you can help fill in the coming year.

The editors of bring you the top five topics researched by your customers based on sister site,'s Top 10 tips and Top 10 learning tools of 2006. Get some insight as to the projects your customers were working on and the weak spots you can help fill in the coming year. We've also compiled a variety of resources to help you hone your skills in each area.

1. Designing IP-based networks
The topic that attracted the most attention from users in 2006 was IP network design. This comes as no surprise when you consider the complexity of today's IP networks and the challenge of understanding IP addressing.

2. Deploying wireless LANs users proved that wireless LANs are a staple of business connectivity by making it the second most popular topic of 2006. The technology comes with a host of unique deployment and security concerns that channel professionals can address on their customers' behalf.

3. Calculating bandwidth
Understanding bandwidth and determining how much is enough were of particular interest to users who must answer to network slow-downs. Network consultants and systems integrators can help their customers plan appropriately for heavy network traffic and fine tune their current infrastructure for better performance.

4. Open source network tools
The benefits of open source network tools extend well beyond cost, as many VARs and their customers well know. However, open source tools aren't always intuitive and support can be difficult to come by, creating an ideal opportunity for channel professionals.

5. Multiprotocol Label Switching users showed interest in MPLS, perhaps for its ability to speed up network traffic and make it easier to manage. But migrating to the protocol requires careful consideration and network preparation.

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