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ECI Telecom 2020 Predictions: The Growing Conversation on Disaggregation, Gaming and a 5G Future

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Andreas Hegers, Head of Marketing, Channels and Business Development at ECI

The Growing Conversation on Disaggregation, Gaming and a 5G Future

2019 was the year of 5G, with dozens of launches and many more CSPs investing in 5G. That said, 5G is still in its infancy in terms of technological and market maturity. The vast majority are focusing on the radio and initial use cases. Yet our understanding of 5G use cases continues to grow. The New Year promises to bring even more change and innovation to the telco market as service providers race to adopt and adapt to the demands of gaming, smart cities, IoT and more, while ensuring they have the infrastructure in place to support these new customer demands.

Here are a few predictions going into 2020:

A New Era of Disaggregation and Openness in Optical

  • Most carriers will tell you they have many optical vendors in their network. Mostly a result of history, mergers, and the longevity of the product life cycle, the disaggregation trend is driven primarily by the need to spur price competition amongst suppliers. Creating an "open marketplace" by introducing disaggregation and openness are certainly too intriguing to be ignored. Well thought out alien wavelengths features, and open management/control interfaces are key to success. The natural consequence of this, is that as Open Line Systems are more widely adopted, vendors will be forced to think about new cost models.

400G ZR/ZR+ Will Change Networking

  • As optical technology continues to evolve, new implementations of ZR optics and the upcoming, yet ill-defined, ZR+ are expected to have a huge impact on optical networks, especially the purpose-build DCI market. In theory, ZR optics allows one to plug coherent optics in switches and routers without performance degradation as opposed to standalone solutions, at least in simple network designs.

Gaming Becomes a Key Business Driver

  • As the popularity of gaming grows, ensuring low latency offerings will become a key differentiator in how providers set themselves apart from competition. This is true for both fixed and mobile services, since no doubt, with 5G networks in place, mobile gaming will become even more popular. Virtual Reality, the ‘hip' brother of today's gaming consoles will become more popular due to the availability of more affordable headsets and connectivity.

Virtualization Sneaks Further into Networks

  • Today's networks are still vastly based on customized, well-optimized hardware, but the future might look different. In 2020, we will see increasing adoption of virtualized infrastructure, where key network functions run as software (VNFs) on commercial or bespoke computing platforms. The closer to the access/edge, the more virtual it will get, partially since the impact of the lower performance of COTS-based solutions is less relevant, but also since there the flexibility of virtualized solutions can be utilized best.

Automation Becomes Reality

  • No longer a thing "of the future," expect to see concrete concepts developed to change network operations (and many other areas) with automation, ultimately making both operators and customers' lives easier. Automation will contribute to optimization and workflow orchestration, so that service providers can better design, deploy, manage and operate the service lifecycles of all their services. BTW, this is an absolute prerequisite for automating (5G driven) IoT service delivery.

Finally, A Real 5G Business Case (Fingers Crossed)...

  • The New Year will bring a better understanding of 5G use cases beyond eMBB and FWA. In some cases, 5G will "only" support, for others 5G will be the key enabler. Looking at the overhyped connected cars/autonomous vehicles use case for example, very few expect 5G to be the sole communication solution; it will likely be a mix of in-vehicle technologies such as sensors/AI/C-V2X (Vehicle-to-everything) as well as public 5G infrastructure. This will also drive real Edge Cloud and MEC deployments. We should expect to see the first private 5G networks being built, with the role of the MNO becoming much clearer. And while the 5G hype is alive and kicking, along with the first 5G standalone deployments (for some, the REAL 5G), expect to see discussions about 6G crop up.


About the Author

Andreas Hegers 

With more than 25 years of experience in working in the telecoms market, Andreas Hegers is ECI's Head of Business Development, Partners and Marketing. He has made a career of advocating, explaining and selling the values of telecommunication solutions.

Published Monday, December 16, 2019 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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