Wireless advances, software-defined WANs and intelligent network management tools are among the top technologies that will impact the networking community in 2019.
“2019 is going to be a transformative year in enterprise networking,” said Anand Oswal, senior vice president of engineering in Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Business. “Network operators will be preparing systems to support dramatically greater device density and data throughput, and they will be getting new analytics about their infrastructure use from the network itself. Network personnel will become more effective and efficient, thanks to improvements in centralized management tools and machine intelligence.”
The top 5 technologies Oswal says will affect enterprise networking customers the most are Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), 5G, geolocation, SD-WAN and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) for network management.
Wi-Fi 6 will surge
In a blog detailing his 2019 predictions, Oswal said Wi-Fi 6 is an upgrade on the current highest speed Wi-Fi protocol in wide use, 802.11ac and will bring a dramatic improvement in efficiency across all existing Wi-Fi bands, including older 2.4GHz frequencies. Wi-Fi 6 will also likely get new spectrum in the 6GHz band in 2019 or 2020, further improving its speed.
Wi-Fi 6 products expected to appear in 2019, will eventually improve the experience for almost all wireless users who will find that their devices communicate more reliably and quickly in crowded offices. Wi-Fi 6 will also support larger constellations of low-powered IoT devices using fewer access points, Oswal wrote. The reliably deterministic nature of Wi-Fi 6 combined with its speed means it should be usable for life-safety applications, such as remote surgery devices, he said.
Research from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicted that broadband-speed improvements will result in increased use of high-bandwidth content and applications. The global average broadband speed continues to grow and will double from 2017 to 2022, from 39.0 Mbps to 75.4 Mbps, Cisco said. Globally, the average mobile network connection speed in 2017 was 8.7 Mbps. The average speed will more than triple to 28.5 Mbps by 2022.
The average Wi-Fi network connection speed (24.4 Mbps in 2017) will exceed 54.2 Mbps by 2022. North America will experience the highest Wi-Fi speeds, 83.8 Mbps, by 2022, Cisco said.
5G private networks
Meanwhile, in the enterprise, the impact of 5G in 2019 will be more nuanced, but it will be felt Oswal wrote. 5G fixed wireless will be a convenient option as a WAN connection for getting branch offices online. It may have the performance (high speed and low latency) to compete with wired connections.
As 5G rolls out, which will take years, it will also open up new possibilities for IoT applications, and thanks to 5G’s time-slicing technology, sensors will able to run on batteries that last for years, Oswal said.
“5G’s wireless technology will also