There are several interesting trends emerging that will have profound effects across our industry in 2023. During the first part of this blog, I highlighted some of these trends including what is driving the increasing demand for multi-gigabit services, the growing importance of the network edge and how service providers are successfully transforming into experience providers.
In Part 2, I will discuss how in-place next-generation upgrades are becoming increasingly popular, how innovative technologies like environmentally hardened coherent optics are redefining the economics of optical transport, the importance of AI in enhancing the subscriber experience and why Open RAN
(O-RAN) is gaining serious momentum.
- In-Place Upgrades to 50G and 100G are Becoming Increasingly Valued – As advanced applications emerge and concurrent bandwidth demand in the home and business combine to push multi-gigabit services, it is increasingly clear that a next step beyond 10G is on the horizon. Forward-looking “experience providers” should be planning for this now as in-place upgrades, compared to complete system replacements, will greatly improve service agility while minimizing CAPEX and disruption. Service providers who are competing against XGS-PON enabled rivals have the ability to market their ease of transition via cost-effective in-place upgrades to next-generation PON as a competitive EDGE.
- Hardened Coherent Optics at the Network EDGE Will Become a Strategic Necessity – The emergence of the strategic edge, the proliferation of multi-gigabit broadband services in remote areas and the rise of 5G and its bandwidth demands are all creating new requirements in the transport network. Coherent optics technology has been proven to cost-effectively provide high capacity transport across long distances to and from the network core.
DZS recently introduced a groundbreaking solution to address the evolving transport network requirements. The Saber-4400 leverages coherent optics in an entirely new way and redefines the economics of optical metro and edge transport. By enabling service providers to leverage coherent optics in a unique, compact, environmentally hardened platform and bring very high bandwidth, long reach circuits right to the extreme edge of the optical network, service providers can meet these new demands quickly and cost-effectively, while being well-positioned to easily scale for the future.
In addition to providing easily expandable bandwidth over long distances, by environmentally hardening these coherent optics solutions, service providers can also save from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in deployment costs by not having to upgrade existing cabinets and/or huts.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Play an Increasingly Important Role in Optimizing Network Efficiency and Subscriber Experience – As the amount of performance data generated from the subscriber edge to the network core continues to grow, the ability to learn from this data increases. Equally important, the proliferation of software defined networking and virtually defined functions is enabling service providers to act upon this data in entirely new ways. AI is allowing increasingly robust models to be built (now drawing from the experience within the DZS universe of more than 70 million connected subscribers) that can anticipate network challenges and intercept them – often without physical intervention – and greatly enhance network performance. AI will drive significant improvements to such key indicators as network uptime, load balancing, minimization of truck rolls and call center volumes and customer satisfaction.
- Open RAN (O-RAN) Gains Momentum as a 5G Alternative across Greenfield AND Brownfield Environments – Rakuten’s success in deploying the first large-scale O-RAN network in Japan has paved the way for others around the world, and now the platforms from that success are being shared via Rakuten Symphony in new geographies. For example, there are major deployments of the platform planned in Europe throughout 2023. Equally as important, O-RAN Plugfests in North America, Europe, and Asia have demonstrated the rapid maturation of this technology across new use cases, including brownfield environments. The stranglehold of proprietary vendors in next generation wireless is clearly weakening as O-RAN moves from promising challenger to mainstream deployments across multiple continents.
- Other areas to keep an eye on in 2023:
- Dark Launches will increase the agility of service providers to rapidly trial, launch and refine new services
- Subscriber Control will increase dramatically around the world as software-defined networks enable unprecedented personalization of experience
- Network Slicing created by breakthroughs in orchestration and services management will create new service opportunities for service providers including Spectrum-as-a-Service
It will be interesting to see the impact all of these trends will have. Of course, some will have more than others, but I think it goes without saying that as superlative as 2022 turned out to be, 2023 will kick broadband acceleration into an even higher gear with new innovations, deployments and of course those unexpected boosters that seem to be cropping up in this fast-paced industry with more frequency than ever!