By Azz-Eddine Mansouri, General Manager, Ciena Middle East
In 2023, it’s likely that we will witness a massive growth in the number of 5G users, humans and machines. But the increase in bandwidth demand this will bring will put enormous pressure on networks, fuelling the growth of 5G analytics-driven automation and software control.
Ciena forecasts the following top trends will dominate network innovation in 2023, enabling customers to adapt within ever-changing environments.
- Heightened spotlight on 5G networks with exciting new use cases
In 2023, 5G network slicing will steal the limelight as several mobile network operators enter the design and early-deployment phases to deliver differentiated services that are tuned to specific end-user and application requirements. We will also see operators becoming increasingly active in rolling out managed Private 5G services offering higher speeds, ultra-low latency and greater network reliability and security. Private 5G will enable exciting new use cases to help enterprises advance their competitive position and allow network operators to better monetise their substantial 5G investments.
One real-life example is the deployment of 5G network slicing technology by the UAE to support the country’s Smart Dubai initiative. The initiative aims to make Dubai the world’s smartest and most sustainable city, and 5G network slicing is being used to support various smart city applications such as smart transportation, smart buildings, and smart energy management. Etisalat by e& is using 5G network slicing to create a dedicated network for the Dubai Electric Vehicle (EV) Experience Centre, which allows EV drivers to charge their vehicles more quickly and efficiently – creating more efficient, sustainable, and connected cities.
- Growing popularity of RAN
Since the dawn of mobile networking, the Radio Access Network (RAN) has been closed and proprietary. It remains one of the last parts of the global network infrastructure yet to be opened. Opening the RAN, via a broad adoption of open specifications, will yield benefits, like a broader and more secure supply chain, as well as expected price reductions driven by increased competition. There are many proofs of concept and field trials getting started, as well as controlled roll-out announcements taking place around the globe. For example, telecom operator du deployed a private 5G network using Open RAN which will enable enterprises in the UAE to harness the power of 5G.
- Investment in sub-marine infrastructure
More than 95 percent of the world’s intercontinental electronic communications traffic travels over submarine networks. As data traffic demand is increasing exponentially, submarine networks have become critical infrastructure, and operators are looking across all their network assets, subsea included, to gain competitive advantage. Looking ahead, many will want to speed up service innovation, accelerate time to market, and meet the demands of web-scale content players that consume a large and growing share of transoceanic bandwidth growth.
- Proliferation of edge computing
Edge cloud computing is expected to grow rapidly as it improves response times and drives more efficient use of bandwidth. The Middle East and Africa edge computing market is expected to reach USD 1.46 Bn by 2023. This surge will enable service providers to participate in the value chain beyond pure connectivity. In addition, 2023 will see the increased adoption of marketplaces, driving key elements of connectivity to multi-cloud platforms. This will enable newer business models and consumption models to evolve, including Network-as-a-Service, which will help ensure cost efficiencies for business users.
- Increased focus on sustainable networks
Sustainability has become a key theme for the entire telecom industry. As 2023 gets underway, there will be continued focus around making networks more energy efficient and sustainable. Looking ahead, service providers will be very focused on decreasing carbon emissions while also meeting surging demands for high-bandwidth services and broadband connectivity. Ciena’s engineering team is making this a top priority by constantly innovating products with power and energy use in mind. Amid exploding traffic and service expansion, service providers will look for ways to deliver similar energy-efficient networking solutions, enabling operators to do more with less and reduce their environmental footprint.
The future of network innovation will see operators adopting new technologies to enable providers to meet or exceed their business goals. As 2023 gets underway, innovation is expected to become even more critical as services are launched alongside evolving architectures. In tandem with the GCC’s rapid digitalisation, robust, reliable and sustainable network infrastructure is mission critical for prosperity, growth and equity. Investing in network innovations will deliver a greener, more connected future.