Application-Aware Networking

What Does Application-Aware Networking Mean?

Application-aware networking is a type of intelligent network that is able to monitor software applications used within the network to help provide better functionality and more efficient use. Elements of application-aware networking may include observation of the use status of a software provision, as well as monitoring of its memory or resource needs.


Techopedia Explains Application-Aware Networking

Application-aware networking relies on a network architecture laid out by the International Telecommunications Union. An intelligent network has specific enhanced features designed to provide in-depth functionality. Like other aspects of intelligent networking, application-aware networking relies on a solution that uses various layers, or planes, to control network traffic. The principle behind application-aware networking is called software-defined networking (SDN). The idea is that modern networks contain three different planes:

  1. The data plane that carries information about traffic.
  2. The control plane
  3. The management plane

While in some cases the management plane and control plane are considered to be two parts of the same thing, a software-defined networking plan treats these very differently by keeping the management plane connected to network hardware, but making the control plane a software-driven layer. Moving the control plane from a network hardware connection to a software connection can help planners do more with software programs, including promoting application-aware networking and building meta-level solutions for handling traffic.

In describing new application-aware networks, solutions experts sometimes refer to the traditional architecture of old networks as a somewhat closed process. Application-aware networks involve a more transparent process that offers more information on how software applications work within a network. Some also believe that the emergence of cloud-hosted systems and other new technological advances will drive the creation of more application-aware networks that will do more to understand the role of software processes as well as other dynamics like specific user information.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.