Networks Need New Nuances

The enormous advancements in ICT, coupled with device innovation and mobile broadband, mean that everyone wants their industry to be networked. Broadband networks are making this possible, putting the “smart” in smart grid, smart transport, smart healthcare and so on.

Important considerations when connecting industries often have little to do with bandwidth, bits and bytes and more to do with attributes such as latency (delay), security, availability or upstream bandwidth.

Some networked industries are enabled by low latency and/or latency variation – for example, networked gaming. This involves playing games on tablets and smartphones over a mobile connection in addition to consoles and PCs with a fixed broadband connection. Another example is networked vehicles and applications that enable cars to communicate with each other in real time.

Other networked industries, such as those relating to national security and public safety, are enabled by very high network reliability and availability. Devices such as tablets and smartphones also require very high network reliability, as they are the primary tools of networked professionals who are expected to be connected at all times and locations throughout the working day.

Security or integrity is another attribute that is critical to many networked industries. It is particularly important in finance, in remote healthcare, and for sensitive government applications.

Finally, extended mobile broadband coverage is an enabler for most networked industries. Networked vehicles require 3G and 4G coverage over a broader geographical area than was previously anticipated. Meanwhile, expectations for improved indoor coverage in offices, campuses and so on are also higher than ever before.

Network evolution is necessary to support these new attributes, so they become evident to the user and form a new billing base.

My predictions for the future are:

  • As nuances of networking capability become more important, they will determine which industries can become fully networked – and the way in which this development occurs
  • A new element – positive service enhancement – will be added to today’s mainstream mobile-data connectivity options
  • The primary application for QoS mechanisms and policy-management capabilities will shift toward enhancements of premium apps.

The broadband freeway is here – but broadband speed bumps are required to manage traffic peaks. The next topic up for debate is broadband tolls. They will definitely be necessary, but how and where can we build them? A premium can be charged for valuable networked-industry applications if the network has the right attributes or capabilities.

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