As network service providers and equipment manufacturers race to deploy the next generation of networking technologies, a range of challenges and issues will reach a tipping point in 2019. From commercial deployments of 5G to increasing reliance on fiber, the evolution of networking technologies triggers a transformational shift in the way that service providers manage and optimize their networks. These are some of the most important trends to watch over the coming year.
#1: 5G Gets Complicated
In 2019, leading mobile service providers will move from 5G lab and field trials to scale deployments to support commercial service. As technicians begin to install and activate 5G networks, they will encounter complications not seen with previous generations - ranging from new millimeter wave spectrum characteristics and massive MIMO deployment, to demanding latency and performance requirements for IoT and connected car services. Successful roll-out of 5G services will hinge on service providers’ ability to address these challenges, requiring the adoption of new test and measurement procedures and solutions that offer real-time, automated visibility and intelligence.
#2: Fiber Multiplication
Escalating pressure for more capacity is driving the pervasiveness of fiber throughout most network infrastructures, enabling mobile service providers, enterprises and data centers to take advantage of longer distances, higher bandwidth and fewer losses than alternative architectures, while moving toward greater convergence. To enable increased data capacity across core, metro and access networks, we will continue to see greater migration to parallel optics, including ribbon fiber and MPO (multi-fiber push on/pull off) connectivity. In fact, more than half of the respondents in a recent study predicted that multi-fiber connectivity will grow by more than 20 percent in the next three years. As this established practice in backbone networks pushes out toward the edges of the network, however, network installers and technicians will face new challenges, such as greater installation complexity and increased time required for testing and troubleshooting of multi-fiber networks.
#3: Virtual Reality Check
Multiple system operators (MSOs) and enterprise IT teams continue to face pressures to reduce costs while meeting demands for applications and services that are always on, always available, and connected across all devices and touchpoints. As a result, the evolution to massively scalable, hybrid cloud-based networks is moving at an ever faster pace. As virtualized technologies become table stakes, policy-based automation and programmability will be increasingly critical to deliver the required intelligence, low latency and high bandwidth to enable these ubiquitous services.