Top 3 telecom trends for 2019 – Information Age

2018 was an important and transformational year for the networking industry, but how is it looking in 2019?

Consumer-driven data consumption, fuelled by the mobile and broadband services in IoT devices, which have soared and put unprecedented pressures on networks.

Thanks to the introduction of GDPR, It has also been the year of stronger encryption practices as users, organisations and lawmakers alike became increasingly concerned about privacy and the safety of their data and infrastructure.

The landscape has changed shape as telcos pushed into the OTT space and increased their user access capabilities as well as high-profile merger activity in the sector making headline news.

The industry has made great strides in 5G development, BT is planning to have commercial 5G products launching in the UK within the next 18 months, while Deutsche Telekom has just activated a 5G New Radio (NR) Cluster in downtown Berlin, where it will use the test bed to see how next-generation networks perform in real-life situations, latching onto the DevOps movement as service providers begin to future-proof their networks for the years ahead.

In 2019 expect to see some of these trends continue to gain momentum, while fresh ones emerge and steer this industry in new directions. Specifically, here are three trends that will shape the next 12 months.

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2019 is set to be another pivotal year for over-the-top (OTT) service growth, fuelled by streaming video and public demand for more non-linear media consumption.

However, with any boost in OTT adoption and consumption, further financial and infrastructure pressure will be placed on network operators.

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With the advent of 5G on the horizon, 2019 is likely to see further efforts from telcos and other service providers to partner with and become primary OTT solution providers in their own right in order to bolster revenues, offset downward price pressures on last-mile connectivity and build customer loyalty.

5G

The race for 5G is on and will continue apace in 2019.

Many telcos around the world have already developed 5G architecture and initiating their field tests this year.

Across the industry, expect to see 1GB access move to 10GB and 10GB aggregation to 100GB in order to cope with 4G growth and to lay the groundwork for new 5G-bearing core networks.

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There will also be increased interest in 5G research and development emerging from other industries outside the traditional telco market, including in energy, agribusiness and transportation, who all see the vast potential 5G technology presents to revolutionise the way they can deliver their goods and services.

Fuelled by consumer and business demand, carriers and governments alike are pushing the deployment forward with the ambitious goal of rolling out 5G networks more widely by 2020.

Security

It felt like not a week went by in 2018 when there wasn’t news of a data breach or a network being compromised. According to the report from EfficientIP in November, 43% of telco organisations suffered from DNS-based malware over the previous 12 months. It was also highlighted that 81% took three days or more to apply a critical security patch after notification.

Stats like this has made network operators and telcos realise that they need to protect more than just the data being transferred over their systems.

As networks become increasingly software-defined their infrastructure is as vulnerable to attacks as the bits and bytes sent through the network.

For this reason, 2018 saw more and more network operators and telcos role out business-wide encryption.

In 2019, holistic network security will become more important than ever and expect to see encryption transition from a niche play to a more pervasive technology.

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New EU legislation such as the GDPR has been a significant driver behind broader adoption of encryption across networks.

This year, the data demand landscape will continue to change and with it, the underlying network infrastructure, both from a physical and virtual perspective.

Service providers will continue to realign and consolidate their offerings to maximise revenue and ensure their networks are ready to accommodate future technological advancements.

Sourced by Joe Marsella, Vice President, Global Sales Engineering, at Ciena

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