Tech@Work: “Building Networks Will Continue to Rise in Complexity”

Ehab Kanary, CommScope Infrastructure EMEA, Emerging Markets Sales VP, speaks about how today’s workplace has changed in recent years

Which products and solutions do you offer for today’s workplace?
The need to be connected – to each other, to business, to things – underpins our society. Connectivity has changed the world and our lives within it and continues to do so. More than ever, we are conscious of the connectivity to keep us in touch, educates, inform and entertain us, wherever we are, with whatever device or screen we are using. We reach out across the globe to link to colleagues, friends, and strangers, run our businesses, share and access video and data at an instant, mostly oblivious to what’s getting and keeping us connected seamlessly. CommScope provides products and solutions that help individuals and organisations communicate through 5G, broadband, data centres, and enterprise networks.

CommScope’s ONECELL, part of our small cells portfolio, enables mobile network operators to meet the growing demand for reliable LTE and 5G services indoors. Consumers have been dazed by years of 5G hype. Finally, they will see 5G delivering value in their lives in the next couple of years without obtrusive infrastructure or patchy access. CommScope’s fibre technologies can exhibit faster connectivity in buildings, the data centre, and central offices.

CommScope’s RUCKUS Cloud can also help IT teams troubleshoot faster and proactively improve the user experience in a digitalised workplace. These gains will continue to accrue as new machine learning, and artificial intelligence capabilities are introduced, making the network more autonomous and self-healing. We recently announced the launch of NOVUX portfolio of outside plant terminals and closures, designed specifically to assist global service providers in the quick and efficient deployment of fiber networks. NOVUX is the only FTTH platform with an inherently modular, end-to-end architecture that allows operators to scale and shape their networks as they evolve.

How do you think technology today helps businesses grow?
As business priorities have changed over the past year, the role of technology expands, specifically in terms of network connectivity in buildings. In 2021, we’re seeing companies embrace remote networking as some offer employees the opportunity to work from home permanently while other companies adjust their offices to accommodate social distancing, meaning, fewer employees can return to the office. The technology needed to allow this business growth must provide a network that connects those remote workers with their companies.

How according to you, are women powering the tech industry?
Women are an instrumental part of the technology industry and we, as a company, believe that empowering women in this sector is a crucial part of our company’s mission. Gender diversity in our workforce allows for a broader understanding of different aspects of the technology industry.

CommScope strongly supports equal opportunities for all people. We show our support by offering free DAS training to women in the wireless industry or with a wireless background who want to enter the DAS business. This four-year-old program, sponsored by CommScope’s Distributed Coverage and Capacity Solutions (DCCS) group, has recently expanded to incorporate more training and certifications than ever, including small cells and CBRS technology. The goal is to help women interested in improving their knowledge in these fields to help them find work or expand opportunities available to them.

How is your company working towards a sustainable future?
With the backdrop of the global pandemic in 2020, CommScope lived up to our responsibilities as a global leader while making significant progress in our sustainability strategy and objectives. We innovated more sustainable product designs, further decarbonized our operations, and prioritized diversity and community initiatives, which were more important than ever.

CommScope’s ongoing commitment and a strong focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability have been recognised for the fifth consecutive year with a Gold medal by EcoVadis. CommScope’s network solutions are essential to the world’s critical communications infrastructure. By utilising innovative technology, intelligent engineering and energy-efficient designs, CommScope is building sustainable networks that make our customers more agile while preserving the natural ecosystems from which we source our raw materials.

How do you think tech will shape the 2021 landscape?
The ICT industry will play a significant role in shaping the 2021 landscape to build a future in which connectivity is truly ubiquitous and accessible for all. When we talk about Outdoor wireless networks, the deployment of 5G networks around the world will continue to gather pace. According to CCS Insight, it’s expected 60% of all phones sold in Western Europe and North America in 2021 will support 5G connectivity, growing to 85% in 2024. To support these new devices, we expect operators to focus on pragmatic implementations of 5G networks by assessing which deployments can benefit from active massive MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) deployments.

Open RAN deployments will gain serious traction and usher in a new generation of products and innovative technology. This is because Open RAN supports truly open and interoperable interfaces within and between the various subcomponents of the RAN: the radio, hardware, or baseband unit and software. This paradigm drives innovation by encouraging the growth of an expanded supply ecosystem – while reducing capital costs and single-vendor ‘lock-in’ through open interfaces and commodity hardware platforms.

Building networks will continue to rise in complexity due to increased network requirements and a blurring of the distinction between IT and OT. Building owners must now incorporate in-building mobile wireless, Wi-Fi, CBRS, fixed wireless access (FWA), and private LTE networks. In many companies and schools, video broadcast capabilities will continue to be important, which means networks must support uplink capabilities as never before. Legacy networks were typically not built to support video uplinks, so network upgrades are part of the change and will continue.

Cloud migration in response to the pandemic challenges will continue to increase the need for more data centres. The incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) applications will drive safety and security applications like automatic temperature checks, touchless authorisation, payment and control systems, and traffic monitoring. IoT applications are rapidly proliferating as companies seek to better manage facilities and occupants. Newer connectivity protocols like LTE-M and Zigbee are enabling wireless sensors for temperature, water use, room occupancy, HVAC control and other applications, while Power over Ethernet (PoE) is enabling everything from Wi-Fi access points to surveillance cameras.

As IoT applications continue to multiply, the amount of data that will be generated is expected to grow exponentially. Processing this data locally, close to the edge, is perhaps the most effective way of dealing with IoT data. Gartner has predicted that approximately 65% of all servers will be deployed in edge DCs by 2025.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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