Expert Speak

Top Predictions for Service Provider Networks for 2021

Written by Hasan Darwish, Regional Sales Manager for Gulf at A10 Networks

2020 has been a challenging year for the entire world. We predict the pandemic response in 2020 will have a lasting impact on how and where consumers and businesses will use network services, how service providers will build out their networks and where they will invest in additional capacity. Here are a few predictions for 2021 for service providers:

Digital Transformation will Accelerate
The pandemic will erase years of resistance by late adopters, social institutions, and businesses that previously hadn’t bought into the “digital transformation” argument. Forced to go “online or die” individuals and businesses have learned new skills, overcome technology limitations, and forged new business models during 2020. These will continue in 2021 and will accelerate many technology transitions that service providers are conducting.

IPv6 will Finally Overtake IPv4
Hovering right around 33 percent for most of the year, according to Google, IPv6 will be used in more than 50 percent of Google searches globally. Boosted by the growth of 5G devices and networks, and increased pressure on CISOs to upgrade enterprise networks for strong network security, many enterprise and websites will accelerate their eventual conversion to IPv6 in 2021. However, many other ISPs, content providers and retailers, hard-hit by pandemic shutdowns, have web sites that are still IPv4 only and will remain unable to fund a conversion of their IT infrastructure. CGNAT can help extend their investment.

Service Providers Move to the Edge – Faster than Expected
Service providers will have to re-architect their access networks to accommodate the traffic shift from dense urban areas to suburban as work/play/learn at home continues, post-pandemic. Edge computing is forecast by IDC to exceed 50 percent of new infrastructure deployments by 2023 and identified by nearly all mobile operators as extremely important to future networks.

The Pandemic will have a Lasting Impact on Education – Remote/Online Learning will Continue Post Pandemic
The abrupt conversion of in-classroom learning to remote during the pandemic will encourage educational institutions to offer online options to traditional in-classroom on a regular basis. This will expand education during illness, during periods of inclement weather, and other situations where a more flexible arrangement would be beneficial.

Lifestyles will be permanently altered by the pandemic and many will not want to return to commutes and less flexible working conditions. Remote work will become a new, acceptable alternative in many industries. The recent announcements by Tesla and Oracle to move corporate headquarters from tech talent-rich Silicon Valley in CA to Texas demonstrates a new trend. This will ultimately impact real estate, mass transportation plans and other social institutions that assume large-scale commutes to a few valuable job destinations. This shift will give a boost to distributed edge networks, cloud services and wireless that are less dependent upon centralized traffic aggregation.

That’s it for service providers….but here’s my final prediction:

2021 Prediction: This Year will be so Much Better than 2020 and We will all be so Glad
The COVID-19 vaccine will be hugely effective, and the world will establish an international day of togetherness in 2021.

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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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