As part of APMdigest's 2020 predictions, industry experts offer predictions on how Network Performance Management (NPM) and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2020. Part 2 offers predictions about 5G and more.
NETWORK TRAFFIC GROWS EXPONENTIALLY
IT departments are transforming from reactionary operations to proactive "services." The sheer volume of traffic zipping across enterprise networks today has never been greater, with waves of apps coming online and competing for network capacity at a rate that would've made an IT manager's head spin just five years ago. But as exhausting as the rate of change is today, things are only getting started, as Cisco predicts that global IP traffic will exceed 4.8 zettabytes per year by 2022 — that's more traffic than in all prior "internet years" combined up to the end of 2016.
NETWORKS STILL PREPARING FOR 5G
Network operators will push their current systems beyond their operating limit. With leading network operators expected to roll out 5G services in 2021, I expect network upgrades to occur in 2020 with a bigger ramp-up in 2021. 5G networks are expected to operate at 7-10x the speed of LTE — making network optimization critical to ensure operators can support the application/network performance and security tools at this rate. In 2020, network operators will push their current systems beyond their operating limit, so a new approach to support this massive volume increase in traffic is crucial.
President and Chief Operating Officer, Gigamon
2020 will be an investment year for 5G. In 2020, there will be a race among handset manufacturers to proliferate 5G handsets. The real benefits of 5G, however, won't be as apparent in 2020 but in the years beyond. In this regard, 2020 will only be an investment year for 5G.
5G LIMITATIONS AND PAIN POINTS
Despite widespread hyperbole and consumer marketing, a full 5G rollout isn't likely in 2020. There are many immediate technology challenges to fulfilling the promise of ubiquitous 5G services (spectrum availability; the development of radio, switching and virtualization standards; government regulations; and real estate acquisition for the many small cell sites needed for broad coverage). We also must consider the need for backward compatibility to 4G radios and wireline bandwidth access. Many of the switches and monitoring tools used by carriers today will continue in service for years to come. Next year we will see 5G-like services release, but with many limitations.
CEO, Network Critical
5G is coming, and although it may seem like the next generation of wireless tech will bring nothing but speed, responsiveness, and the reach needed to unlock the full capabilities of emerging tech trends, in actuality it will introduce unprecedented pain points — and those without a current solution. In 2019, we saw smartphone makers like Samsung and ZTE bring 5G handsets to market but users have only been to scratch the surface of 5G's potential, as telcos and networking companies are still building the infrastructure to support broader coverage of this next generation tech. Consumers running applications on a "5G lite" network (like AT&T's 5Ge band) may experience faltering connectivity switching between different speeds, resulting in degraded or unpredictable performance for apps engineered assuming broadly available high performance networks. At the same time, monitoring applications running on increasingly fragmented networks will become even more important, pushing developers to optimize applications for all connectivity speeds. Being able to measure network performance will also be key to ensure further 5G infrastructure rollouts are meeting latency expectations.
Head Geek, SolarWinds
We heard a lot about 5G this year but network coverage from the major telecoms providers is spotty. I expect to see this change significantly in 2020. With 5G networks spanning the country, device makers and application developers will start to take advantage of the new high-speed technology. This will mean not just richer smartphone apps but also a range of IoT uses that will reshape computing at the edge.
Co-Founder and CEO, Portworx
5G MAKES CAPACITY PLANNING MORE DIFFICULT
Capacity planning will become more difficult and complex for service providers, managed service providers, and large enterprises to properly execute as 5G continues to emerge next year. Once 5G becomes more widely adopted, networks will experience a higher traffic load, either indirectly via an increase in network traffic from data consumed and generated that will hit their cloud or directly as a connectivity option for sites. This will inevitably put a premium on network monitoring tools that network teams will need for effective capacity planning and visibility into the 5G/network exchange.
EVP and CTO, LiveAction
CHINA CAUSES NETWORK OUTAGES
The Great Firewall doesn't just isolate Internet users in China, as many people believe. Government censorship is implemented by Chinese ISPs far beyond the borders of mainland China. Given how even an innocent routing error can send traffic directly into this censorship path, we're likely to see an incident of major collateral damage in the coming year. A major ISP will knock hundreds of sites and services around the world offline for a meaningful period of time as a result of firewall policies meant only to impact users within China.
Senior Product Marketing Manager, ThousandEyes
"SPLINTERNET" BECOMES MORE SPLINTERED
In 2019, Russia passed its "Sovereign Internet" law to block off its Internet from the rest of the world, and Iran implemented a near-total Internet shutdown. In 2020, this "Splinternet" trend of a fragmented Internet will accelerate, as more countries will attempt to create restrictions of their Internet using government control over flows of traffic and internet-based services. The most likely candidates to extend these restrictions? Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Senior Product Marketing Manager, ThousandEyes