You might know how a network works but did you ever wonder how to create innovation in telecoms networking without just making something faster or reducing latency? In the pulsating, throbbing heart of our digital universe, networks have long played the role of indispensable arteries. They are the conduits of data, the highways of information, the lifelines that keep us connected. Yet, like all living organisms, their survival hinges on their ability to adapt and evolve. As we stand on the precipice of a new era, the future of networks promises to be nothing short of evolution in a tech sense.
Today’s network systems, for all their complexity and sophistication, are not without their limitations. They are rigid, resource-intensive, and programmed to follow a fixed set of instructions. These robotic taskmasters, while efficient in their own right, lack the organic flexibility needed to thrive in an ever-changing environment.
The new dawn of networking technology is set to change all that. In the future, networks will evolve like organisms rather than machines. They’ll be intent-based, responding dynamically to the needs of the moment rather than adhering strictly to pre-programmed instructions. This means they’ll learn from their surroundings, adapt to changes, and grow to meet new challenges – much like a living being.
Expectations, intent, and optimizations
Now, what do we mean by ‘intent-based’? Simply put, these networks will understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’. They won’t just execute commands; they’ll understand the purpose of those commands and optimize their performance accordingly. This cognitive capability will allow them to use resources more efficiently, reduce waste, and deliver superior results.
Imagine a world where networks never waste resources or energy. Where every byte of data, every packet of information, every bit of bandwidth is used with purpose and precision. This isn’t some far-off fantasy; it’s the very essence of the evolutionary leap we’re about to witness in networking technology.
B2C isn’t B2B but it’s always a good driver
In the consumer domain, it is anticipated that there will be an evolutionary shift in communication like the advent of smartphones, thanks to XR. This transformation will impact not just consumers but also industries spanning cloud gaming, healthcare, automotive, and more. By 2027, XR/AR is projected to surpass 100 million devices. It’s not yet mainstream but companies such as Apple or Meta could make this mainstream if they continue their advances into such a direction.
When we look at Ericsson for example, we learned at a recent event (view it on-demand on LinkedIn) that their objectives are tightly aligned with such goals and more. Their strategy for future antenna technology in telecoms is built on three columns being real long-term value, early introduction of new tech, as well as making modern antenna systems decisive for network experience and the underlying energy footprint.
Disruption in enterprises is anticipated with the advent of secure and high-performance 5G, applicable for both wide and local areas. Use cases such as industrial wireless sensors, video surveillance, sensing, and asset tracking exemplify the possibilities. I can imagine that 5G will tackle global sustainable development challenges through digitalization and advanced solutions in the next wave of its evolution. This includes enhancing access to healthcare, education, public safety, and sustainability.
How could that be achieved?
You might be familiar with 5G, even if you haven’t used it yet, but as I gather to learn more about the underlying tech, I understand that it’s simply the potential for more, beyond what we do today. To realize the full potential of the next wave of 5G networks, several key factors must be addressed. Firstly, these networks should support a wide range of devices, from small sensors to advanced AR glasses and drones. This inclusivity will ensure that all users can benefit from the advancements brought by 5G technology. Secondly, the focus should be on providing a premium user experience everywhere. This means continually improving coverage, capacity, and reducing latency to create a seamless and responsive network. By prioritizing these aspects, users can enjoy consistent and reliable connectivity, regardless of their location.
A paradigm shift from best effort to consistent and guaranteed performance is important for service providers to supply the best possible experience for their clients and users. Ensuring that 5G networks deliver reliable and accurate positioning data is essential for applications that require precise location information. By doing so, users can confidently rely on the network to meet their needs, enabling a wide range of innovative services and applications. Lastly, the utmost importance should be placed on maintaining ultra resilience and security. As 5G networks become more pervasive and critical to various industries, it becomes crucial to establish robust security measures to protect against potential threats.
When I say “brave new world” I am not talking about the dystopian novel by the English author Aldous Huxley – the term is actually fitting in this positive and optimistic sense. This brave new world of connectivity will dissolve traditional borders and barriers, heralding the advent of a truly global digital society. It’ll enable novel use cases across a wide spectrum of industries, changing everything from healthcare and education to finance and entertainment. The impact on our world, our lives, and our futures will be nothing short of game-changing.
What’s hot right now?
What’s the coolest stuff right now in telecoms and communication networks? We’ve received some exciting updates from our contacts at Ericsson about today’s vibrant technology landscape. It’s a constantly evolving tapestry of innovation, with new trends and breakthroughs reshaping our world in real-time. Here are a few highlights that have caught our eye.
- M-MIMO evolution: Multi-user Multiple Input Multiple Output (M-MIMO) technology is becoming increasingly important as we continue to demand more from our wireless communication systems. M-MIMO has the potential to significantly increase the capacity of wireless networks by allowing multiple users to transmit and receive data simultaneously. Advanced features like Ericsson’s interference sensing can further enhance this capacity without any site coordination, making our networks more efficient and reliable.
- L4S – Low latency, low loss, scalable throughput: L4S technology is set to augment network performance by ensuring consistent latency regardless of traffic load or channel conditions. This means faster, smoother, more reliable data transmission – a crucial advantage in our increasingly connected world.
- Edge computing: This emerging technology trend involves moving data processing tasks closer to the source of the data, i.e., the ‘edge’ of the network. By moving extended reality (XR) processing to the mobile network edge, we can reduce the processing load on devices, enabling smaller form factors and improving performance.
- Boomer cells: These innovative technologies are designed to extend the coverage of terrestrial networks. Recent advancements have enabled coverage to reach up to 100km, a milestone achievement with Telstra. Additionally, non-terrestrial networks (NTN) are being developed to extend coverage to areas without connectivity today, further bridging the digital divide.
These developments underscore the rapid pace of technological innovation that continues to define our era. As we look to the future, it’s clear that these advancements will play a pivotal role in shaping the next chapter of our digital story. I’m curious to see where this will lead in our lifetimes but I’m glad big companies have opted for the right path by prioritizing to not do anything wasteful and preserve energy.
Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Christopher Isak with Midjourney for TechAcute.