This article was originally published by VMblog.
Søren Kierkegaard once said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Predictions are difficult because telecom changes according to unforeseeable events, yet hindsight is valuable as we push ahead. In lieu of a crystal ball, one thing is certain in the coming year – we must transform the foundational structure of the network to serve the demand for enterprise cloud services, sustainability and high-capacity bandwidth.
Technology ages even faster than our furry friends, so our networks must be more cost-effective, scalable and efficient to keep pace. The traffic explosion of the pandemic taught us that the Internet is vital to enable human connection and safety in times of crisis. We must heed these lessons to ensure the networks of the future are ready for the next crisis, whether it’s an inflationary economy, power costs increasing even more, worsening supply chain issues or something else entirely.
#1 Diversity and security on the network will prove critical for enterprises
Global carriers will see growth potential in the enterprise market amid increased spending on cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to enable digitalization, projected to reach $118.8B by 2025. With this increased spending, there will be a need for enhanced security on the network as more non latency sensitive data travels the public Internet. Enterprises will also need more network diversity in their connectivity services because added diversity removes a single point of failure for network outages. Enterprises will increasingly bypass local providers and purchase raw bandwidth and cloud services from carriers to access the benefits of diversity and security backed by a global networking footprint.
Many companies focus on endpoint security, but network security is vital to address the evolving attack vectors of the modern threat landscape. Our 2022 threat report shows that attacks are decreasing in frequency yet increasing in size and sophistication. Due to these trends, 24/7/365 automated network security is critical for high-risk industries, namely automotive manufacturing and banking, where large Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks present dire consequences. At Arelion, we’re working toward Flowspec to enhance DDoS mitigation as the public Internet becomes the preferred underlay for many companies.
#2 Collaboration, not fear
Cloud providers (mostly hyperscalers) have been building their own networks and entering the connectivity space for a long time, and service providers have been concerned about this. However, I predict that this trend will open new opportunities for collaboration between cloud providers and service providers. Telcos can serve as selling partners for cloud providers and offer them the benefits of established Channel programs. Service providers that prioritize the soft aspects of network quality will set themselves apart. Automation is necessary, but providers must enhance the human element in their customer service to stay competitive.
#3 Sustainability and open networking: two peas in a pluggable
In the coming year, sustainability will improve through cloud services, continued network automation and open optical networking. Enterprises will see sustainability benefits from moving their non latency sensitive data into the cloud, lowering energy consumption by 87% in certain cases. Meanwhile, open optical networking that utilizes coherent DWDM pluggable optics in open line systems will give service providers more options to source equipment and be less dependent on some suppliers who may have a tougher time delivering.
Open optical networking will also enhance the efficiency and performance of existing systems. The industry has yet to meet our sustainability goals, though we are trending upward. Companies are now hiring sustainability experts to define and measure their ESG goals. As these numbers will have to be publicly published in the near future, companies will need to know what to measure and also how to measure the execution of their ESG goals.
#4 Openness beyond the network
Open optical networking will rise in popularity to serve the demand for resilient, high-capacity bandwidth and flexibility amid supply chain disruptions. Arelion recently completed the first multi-vendor, multi-layer field trial using Acacia Bright 400ZR+ modules and Cisco routers over multiple, third-party open line systems, progressing toward our longtime goal of converging our IP and optical networking layers.
Despite our successes in 2022, Arelion has faced component shortages and other challenges. Open line systems will allow operators and data center owners to mix and match the best available components to enable high-capacity bandwidth and low latency connectivity for their customers. Beyond the technological aspect, transparent and open communication between component suppliers, carriers and customers will prove essential to realizing these benefits on an operational level across the industry.
It is crucial to transform the underlying architecture of the network over the next year to address the demand for sustainable, scalable, cost-effective connectivity. As we head into 2023, it’s up to telcos to ensure we are prepared for an unpredictable future. However, there is a silver lining. These challenges will expose the gaps we must address to enable resilient connectivity on a global scale, no matter what unexpected crisis comes next.
Mattias Fridström, Chief Evangelist
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