2021 Network Performance Predictions
January 07, 2021
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Following up the list of Application Performance Management Predictions, APMdigest also asked IT industry experts for their 2021 network performance predictions. The results span 5G, NPM, SD-WAN and more.

5G DRIVES TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION

5G is the foundation for the next revolution of technology. We will see a new ecosystem of hardware and software to support this underlying technology, and more 5G compatible devices in the marketplace as new applications and use cases emerge.
Theresa Lanowitz
Head of Evangelism, AT&T Cybersecurity

5G will dramatically increase the number of last mile experiences available to users. The rise of 5G is arriving as we move through the pandemic into a new normal. With 5G, the expected explosion in devices is significant: it opens up application development with more data and devices and even bigger data — and it will lead to net-new experiences for end users. 5G will push businesses forward in unexpected ways, and cause cloud and application providers to focus on more expedient and integrated experiences designed for mobile and across workflows.
Rajesh Raheja
Head of Engineering, Boomi

5G WILL NOT HIT IN 2021

Despite rising appetite, 5G won't hit in 2021. Expect rollout to be held up by hardware challenges at least into 2022. I think the biggest obstacle for 5G is the physical limitations of the technology. Especially with COVID, manufacturing has been slowed, and it's really hard now to get fleets of people to install things, to even get the proper permits. But despite the real barriers to adoption right now, the demand for higher bandwidth is going up. Between work-from-home and the hunger for streaming entertainment, people are very bandwidth-hungry.
Jesse Chor
Head of Mobile Engineering, Splunk

5G WILL NOT BE SEAMLESS

5G adoption won't be seamless: When it comes to adopting all of the benefits of 5G, it won't be an easy transition — both for enterprises and for consumers. Between the security vulnerabilities bound to be exploited, the time it takes to patch those vulnerabilities, and the constant protocols being rolled out, using secure 5G networks won't be a seamless experience in 2021.
Russ Mohr
Security Expert, Ivanti

EDGE COMPUTING NEEDED TO REDUCE 5G LATENCY

In the area of 5G network slicing, as businesses continue to adjust to flexible work environments by increasing network capacity, we'll see more service providers using this technology to differentiate between various types of network traffic to prioritize as needed. We'll also see the rise of private enterprise networks among organizations of all sizes. As a result, edge computing will be considered a necessity to reduce the latency of 5G services.
Avishai Sharlin
Division President, Amdocs Technology

5G promises blazing fast upload/download speeds for applications, but this is only between the endpoint and the mobile tower, not the connection from the tower to a cloud data center. This limits the benefits for low-latency cloud computing applications because they depend on internet connectivity for data processing and storage, 5G by itself can't make up for an unreliable internet. In the coming year, we will see a growth in edge computing architectures, deployed into the 5G network where the speed and reliability can be harnessed, enabling real-time applications with 100% uptime.
Ravi Mayuram
Senior VP of Engineering and CTO, Couchbase

CLOUD FUELS NEED FOR NPM

COVID-19 has had a major impact on how and where people access and use network resources. As a result, network patterns have changed dramatically in 2020 and will continue to evolve significantly in 2021 as businesses further adapt to the fallout from the pandemic. In fact, nearly 60% of enterprises expect cloud technology usage to exceed prior plans due to COVID-19. The adoption of more and more cloud applications and services will fuel the need for IT teams to invest in Network Performance Management (NPM) solutions that can quickly analyze these larger, more distributed network foot prints to ensure performance and security. Organizations that use NPM as the keystone for public and private cloud visibility and reliability will dramatically increase employee productivity and customer acquisition.
John Smith
EVP and CTO, LiveAction

SD-WAN ROLLED OUT FOR HOME OFFICE

In 2021, as remote employees become a permanent fixture alongside (fewer) branch offices, more SD-WAN technology options will be rolled out for the home office. Security functionality has been a recent top priority for SD-WAN vendors, but we'll see a shift in gears as vendors become increasingly pressured to provide solutions that are scalable enough to deploy in every employee's home office environment. Rather than solely relying on VPNs to backhaul or split-tunnel traffic, enterprises will start to adopt centralized solutions to manage and enforce policies that route employee Internet traffic securely, with optimal performance.
Angelique Medina
Director, ThousandEyes

PRIVATE INTERNET FOR RENT

2020 has dramatically reaffirmed the role of the Internet as the lifeblood of many organizations' operations. But the Internet is a complicated web of independent and interconnected service providers, any of which can impact the experience of users connecting to an application or site. As an alternative option and means of expanding monetization efforts, cloud providers and content delivery network (CDN) providers have been offering access to their private backbones with the promise of greater reliability and performance — for a fee. As uninterrupted digital experience continues to become critical to businesses, 2021 will see a growth in the number of companies that seek to avoid the vulnerabilities of the public Internet by paying for their own "private Internet."
Angelique Medina
Director, ThousandEyes

CONVERGENCE OF NETOPS, DEVOPS AND SECOPS

A trend we see in our aggregated data about global networks is the melding of NetOps with other Ops, such as DevOps and SecOps. Over the past year or so, we've seen a marked increase in what we call multi-stack correlated queries in our cloud platform. Network professionals are searching for insights about their network (performance, outages, DDoS attacks, etc.) by looking not just at the network but across the technology stack, from applications to servers to containers to cloud infrastructure to security tools and more. We think this points to the interdependency of networks and services, especially in fast-moving enterprises that want to maintain optimal digital experience, and we expect to see more of it.
Avi Freedman
Co-Founder and CEO, Kentik

REDUCED PRICING FOR NETWORK MONITORING

One of the top requests from IT Central Station users has been to reduce the cost of network monitoring solutions. Going forward, I expect more vendors to be creative in their pricing and licensing options by offering alternatives and additions, like agentless monitoring.
Russell Rothstein
Founder and CEO, IT Central Station

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