Without a fully-fledged network, society and operators can’t reach their full potential. The network must be optimized to manage the enormous communications transformations taking place in society. And to achieve this, they will need to focus on four key attributes.
First, networks need to be scalable to support: traffic growth cost-efficiently; a growing amount of devices, new types of them; and signaling to and from devices.
Second, networks need to be smart. Smartphones do not work well together with dumb pipes; and neither do other devices or services. Being smart allows networks to have differentiated connectivity options – and provides application programming interfaces with enhanced applications that have vital service attributes. A smart network is the foundation for delivering higher value to users and service providers. And business model innovation requires smart networks.
Third, networks need to deliver superior performance. As applications and services become more and more similar, superior network performance will be the key differentiator between operators, from a coverage and capacity perspective.
Finally, networks can be significantly simpler than they are today. In IP networks a lot of products are built with a single purpose. Tomorrow, a collection of single-purpose products will be consolidated into a more powerful, more capable multi-purpose product platform.
I believe that future networks can be predicted as follows:
* Mobile applications will set the network evolution/architecture agenda.
* Triple-network integration will gain traction; in other words, 3G/4G/Wi-Fi will all become part of the same wireless access.
* Network transformation will take over from network transpiration as a primary network strategy. Sweating too many old network assets could be risky if and when the competition transforms its networks.
* With stronger network visions and business models, investment appetite will increase globally.