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Report: Gap takes soft approach to networking


Gap Inc. is reportedly steering its store networking strategy away from hardware such as switches and routers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Gap network architect Snehal Patel told attendees at a recent New York University networking conference that the retailer is transitioning its store network traffic to software-defined routers from Vipeta Inc. The new routers allow Gap to route traffic over the public Internet, maintaining security with encrypted connections.

This type of networking has been estimated to be as much as 50% cheaper than traditional hardware-based networking. Gap is currently in the first stage of its software-based store networking pilot, with an ultimate goal of transitioning 1,200 stores by the end of stage one.

Gap can remotely transition about 25 stores a night to the new network, providing them with 10 to 15 times the network bandwidth they had previously. The combination of bulk bandwidth increase and decreased operating costs make software-based store networking ideal for a large retailer like Gap, which can absorb the upfront costs and scale the benefits for increased ROI.

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