Experts from ESG share thoughts on technology trends for 2019 to look out for

Networking Predictions for 2019

Insights by Bob Laliberte, ESG senior analyst

2018 was a good year for networking. It saw some other enterprise technology trends like digital transformation, IoT, distributed or edge computing, and cloud computing influence the direction and importance of networking. As adoption increases, these will become the drivers for better networking tools and technologies.

Other network-focused technologies such as 5G, 802.11ax or WiFi6, CBRS, intent-based networking also emerged in 2018, in addition to disaggregated network OSes, and SD-WAN proliferates.

In 2019, here is what we can expect:

5G will be on the ground: 2019 will be critical in determining the effectiveness of 5G networks and how enterprises can best leverage them. While early programs will be deployed in parts of dense metro areas, there will not be many 5G deployments in rural areas. For the enterprises, the usage would include applications for the rapid delivery of a 10G connection for an enterprise. Other areas of focus for 5G will include large event centers like stadiums and maybe robotic manufacturing plants for real-time control. Also, 5G chips will be available in phones, tablets, computers, etc.in 2019.

WiFi6 gains more traction. The WiFi6 nomenclature will gain rapid adoption and the technology will be adopted over the course of regular refresh cycles. It will drive much higher efficiencies, especially for high-density environments. Enterprises will need to ensure that the supporting infra and equipment is capable of supporting the WiFi6 APs’ appetite for power.

CBRS may become a commercial reality in 2019: It has the potential to provide value in high-density environments or for in building LTE networks and also will be licensed but free.

Automation soars. As networks grow to meet the increasing needs of enterprises and new infra, agility and flexibility will be needed, so manual operations could become difficult. Automation will be the obvious choice. Especially for cloud-native environments that use high volumes of containers and microservices, automation will be the way forward.

Focus on connectivity and experience: Anytime- anywhere, secured connectivity is fast becoming a must-have and enterprises need to ensure it for applications to data sources, IoT devices, clouds, users, and customers or other applications. This year will see a major shift of focus from the quality of service (QoS) as the key performance indicator (KPI), to the quality of experience (QoE) as a new metric for success. With Edge computing becoming more significant, the network will be critical in enabling those connections and ensuring a positive quality of experience. Organizations need to have high performance, end-to-end connectivity between all locations and public cloud services to remain competitive.

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