Mobile technology – With the growing need for more mobile bandwidth, we expect to see several changes. First, we expect C-RAN architecture (Click to download application note) to come closer to standardization and may even start to see initial deployments. This will enable mobile providers to deploy base stations faster, and at a lower cost. Second, as many analysts predict, we also expect a growing amount of pico and femto cell deployments which will require some type of backhaul solution. This creates a major paradigm shift where the bigger investment piece will move from the base station to the backhaul in an all IP or hybrid network.
Cloud – Cloud will continue to create a lot of buzz in 2012. Cloud services are offered by large hosted cloud service providers (like Amazon and Google) as well as service providers who own the infrastructure. Some providers have purchased large datacenters while some have built in-house. Service provider’s focus is on new applications such as web and application server hosting, remote backup, storage, hosting/caching, and wholesale cloud infrastructure Providers will continue to add services to offer an attractive set of solutions.
We expect to see growth in more specialized services like cloud based video, distributed call centers, and full cloud based business services which will require reliable and secure low latency connections cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-user to deliver their value added services to end-users. These clouds will need to offer an experience level equal to or better than what can be provided today in the enterprise. This will create some challenges to the carriers as it will require real time virtualization and control of those connections to ensure that virtual hosted applications run as smoothly and seamlessly as if they were available locally. (Stay tuned for some interesting news from Telco Systems)
Open networking architecture – The debate between open architecture and closed solutions has been hot in the mobile device sector for the past couple of years (iPhone vs. Android). We expect to see a similar trend in the carriers’ networks. While software standards exist and are deployed by all major vendors, most hardware solutions are proprietary to specific vendors. This means that a single chassis may only house vendor-specific blades and each solution or application requires its own management and real estate. These proprietary architectures limit the choices that providers have in their network design, add additional CAPEX and corresponding OPEX, and require extensive testing to ensure that their multi-vendor network operates as intended. AdvancedTCA has matured to a stage where it can offer true interworking between the cloud and the providers and true interop between different vendors without a significant cost penalty. This is done by supporting clearly defined standard interfaces – allowing full interop –as well as by using advanced networking solutions that can support 10G, 40G and 100G with fully managed load balancing at wire speed. Chipsets, blades and ATCA based servers are already available from many manufacturers and we expect to see increase use of this architecture and the creation of ecosystems to shorten solutions time to market.
Intelligent 100G – TOP GUN enthusiasts will remember Maverick’s famous line from the 1986 movie – “I feel the need, the need for speed!” While we aren’t flying fighter jets, the need for speed remains one of the biggest demands from subscribers. As 10G becomes more common for large enterprises and service aggregation, 100G solutions will become more important to aggregate and deliver groomed bandwidth to the cloud. These speeds will be used for aggregating multiple customers as well as for E-NNI applications to connect different provider’s public and private clouds. These solutions will need to be not only fast but also intelligent to allow efficient management and virtualization of the available bandwidth to meet SLAs promised to customers. The recent trend of pushing intelligence out of the core and into the edge network will make gateways to the clouds a critical point of entry and become a common practice in designing networks. (did we mention we’ll have a lot of interesting news soon?)
With that we would love to hear your thoughts of what you think we’ll see in the market.