The last year has shown that the virtualization and digitalization of business and society are rapidly accelerating. We are innovating faster and faster and we can already see that in 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact our lives in many ways, including through the increased use of networking technologies. In this article, we will cover the most likely networking technology trends for 2022, including the IoT, cloud computing etc.
The outbreak of COVID-19 triggered a huge shift towards working and living online in many regions worldwide. While discussing network technology trends, it is crucial to mention that the 5G Internet of Things is definitely going to grow in the upcoming year. It is obvious that 5G will spur innovation across many industries—this includes a wide variety of applications such as intelligent transport systems for autonomous cars or eHealth for smart medicines. When it comes to autonomous cars, we are already witnessing in what direction will the adoption of 5G take place: sensor-driven mobile IoT devices, using onboard computing power and communication systems based on location, vehicle activity, and engine diagnostics. All these use cellular and 5G technology. Another example of possible 5G adoption is remote robotic surgeries that improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. 5G is expected to allow health care professionals to implement even more new services and products that will improve the quality of life for the public.
5G may become a technology that will enable rapidly growing concepts such as the Internet of Things to become an integral part of our daily lives. Thanks to 5G, more devices can be controlled remotely, especially in applications where real-time network performance is a must. The 5G IoT market was valued at $1.5 billion last year. By 2026, it is expected to reach $40 billion. As IoT connectivity needs faster and faster networks with higher capacity tha, it is obvious that 5G will be essential. The only thing to remember is security—it is the primary concern regarding 5G IoT. Users face the threat of data leakage, breaches, threats of hacks, etc. To ensure 5G IoT continues to revolutionize the networking technology world, extra steps towards security must be taken.
Undoubtedly, 5G has been rocking on the list of networking technology trends for 2022. Almost 200 commercial 5G networks have been launched worldwide so far and it seems that this will continue in 2022. 5G networks are one of the biggest things in mobile Internet connectivity now—the technology offers unprecedented transmission speed that far surpasses 4G, its predecessor. 5G has been widely adopted in various industries, from manufacturing to health care. The technology can easily tap into numerous high-value areas, including VR monitoring, remote medical control, or 3D robotic control. 5G is about to change the way we all work and live. The essential technologies for future 5G deployments will be mmWave and Open RAN (Open Radio Access Network). mmWave (already used for military/satellite purposes) enables a maximum data throughput of 20 Gbps with an ultralow latency of 1 ms. Open RAN is a network based on disaggregated RAN components with standardized interoperability. Open RAN development is a way to eliminate the proprietary nature of Radio Access Network systems, reduce the cost of deployment and diversify the vendor supply chain in the telecom industry.
In the US, the three big cellular network technology providers—T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T—are planning to close their 3G networks within the next eighteen months. The 2G and 4G networks will still be working for quite some time. However, all three providers have bet on the rise of 5G and their own 5G connectivity network buildouts. AT&T and Verizon have declared they will strengthen their high-band millimeter-wave and low-band 5G offerings through 2022. In fact, AT&T will start developing a 5G service in the mid-band C-band spectrum by the end of this year. The company is planning to provide C-band coverage to 70-75 million people by the end of 2022, and a further 200 million by the end of 2023. Verizon has said that they will provide C-band spectrum coverage to 100 million people by the end of March 2022. Finally, T-Mobile announced that they’d expand the coverage of their mid-band Ultra Capacity Service to over 200 million Americans by the end of the year.
Most IT experts believe that cloud computing will be at the forefront of all technologies in 2022. Revenue from the public cloud service is expected to grow to $331 billion (in 2018, it was $175 billion). The explosion of cloud computing services has not slowed and it is said that in 2022, multi and hybrid cloud environments (a combination of dedicated private and public clouds) will keep growing. Cloud data management is about choosing the solution that’s right for particular tasks and a multi cloud or hybrid cloud offering is where businesses can get the best out of each vendor. It is worth mentioning that hybrid clouds will require coordinated networking to provide the expected performance and flexibility (e.g. by using various Software Defined Networking techniques).
By 2022, most enterprises will probably be relying on a hybrid cloud solutions model. Due to its numerous advantages, the hybrid cloud computing market is expected to increase to $97.64 billion. Another example of cloud computing’s evolution is serverless design which allows clients to reduce expenses by cutting cost on hardware on premises. A third party will deal with everything for them, eliminating all hindrances that a standard IT foundation would typically bring.
The security aspect of clouds is crucial today (this also applies to network mechanisms). Therefore, maintaining compliance in an increasingly complex environment will be more and more important. The biggest challenges, even for conventional IT businesses, are spillage, information robbery, and secure deletion. IT experts are saying that through 2025, around 99% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault. In order to successfully take advantage of cloud computing evolution, businesses will have to actively look for solutions that limit human-generated errors.
While discussing networking technology trends for 2022, it is impossible not to mention microservices, containerization, and cloud native applications. Microservices architecture is now the dominant paradigm for application building. It will both affect the increasing number of cloud-native apps and be associated with the increasing use of dedicated solutions for communication between microservices, such as various types of service mesh implementation. It is estimated that, “by 2021, 80% of application development will take place on cloud platforms using microservices and cloud functions”. The year 2022 will probably see a growth in the containerization approach, thus the importance of platforms like Kubernetes, designed to manage and automatically deploy containerized applications, will grow.
Finally, the cloud-native approach is going to impact the way teams develop apps in the future. Platforms for deploying apps in cloud environments will be more and more significant. In some deployment scenarios, advanced network mechanisms applicable to Kubernetes, such as advanced CNI (Container Network Interface) plugins or NSM (Network Service Mesh) will be used much more often.
It seems that network automation is now a key need and that will not change anytime soon. If companies want to keep up with the pace at which the world is evolving, they have to adopt automation. Network automation (and related concepts like NetOps) can be a central touchpoint to manage traditional and cloud-native apps. It’s the way to eliminate manual work and handle significantly more service without increasing the time needed. So far, human errors have been relevant factors driving the demand for network automation solutions. Network automation helps NetOps teams deliver apps more quickly and smoothly compared to manual operation. The global network automation market is expected to grow to $16.89 billion by 2022 (compared to $2.32 billion in 2017).
The above-mentioned trends have all been picking up momentum during the last year. They have been continually improving and become more and more widespread. 5G, cloud computing evolution, cloud-native apps, and network automation—expect to see much more in 2022. We’ll keep monitoring them to find out how they will impact the near future.