It’s been said a number of times and it’s worth saying again: there is no return to things as they were before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Business leaders rate growth as their highest priority, and in the post-Covid world they have had to contend with unpredictability and change. The hybrid model of working that knowledge companies have had to adopt and adapt to has basically made permanent the whole concept of supporting mass distributed workforces.
Yet to function properly, hybrid workplace environments require resilient and robust connectivity and security technologies to keep employees productive and able to collaborate. That means securely managing networks across multiple international datacentres as workforces become more distributed, centralising management in the cloud within the broader context of the extended enterprise and business. For the vast majority of end-user businesses, this is a transformation of processes rather than just implementing technology.
The wide-area networking market received a massive spur during the pandemic when enterprises had to pivot quickly to support remote working for employees according to work-from-home orders, and research is predicting this strong WAN growth will sustain until at least 2026. That is, investing in such technology will be a high priority for some time to come.
With this in mind, here’s a look back over Computer Weekly’s top 10 networking stories of 2022.
According to TeleGeography’s five-year market forecast WAN market size report, the global WAN market will grow by around 44% – from $59bn in 2021 to $85bn in 2026 – for the largest 5,000 companies globally. At the same time, as firms evolve from legacy networking topologies and on-premise datacentres are phased out, the contribution to market revenue from multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) is forecast to decrease by 55% over five years.
The research also reveals that MPLS and access lines connecting MPLS ports accounted for 60% of global WAN revenue for the largest multinational organisations in 2021, but this is predicted to drop to 27% by 2026.
A study commissioned by global provider of managed network and security services GTT has revealed encouraging news for the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) industry, with over 95% of enterprises having deployed it or planning to do so within the next 24 months. However, nearly half (42%) either don’t have security integrated with SD-WAN or have no specific SD-WAN security at all.
The How to realise the full potential of SD-WAN whitepaper, constructed through research conducted by IDC to examine the SD-WAN and security challenges of 650 enterprise ICT decision-makers in 14 countries across Europe and the US, also found that enterprises experience multiple challenges when attempting to adopt SD-WAN on their own.
Business transformation, accelerated by the pandemic facilitating a rapid pivot to remote working, continues to fuel increased cloud, mobility and IoT adoption, yet, according to Cradlepoint, WAN architectures have proven too limited and inflexible for securely connecting distributed enterprise sites, vehicles, remote employees and devices.
In addition, the company said 5G is quickly emerging as an essential WAN infrastructure, and will drive WAN expansion and evolution. However, these trends can produce a larger attack surface, unique, cloud-driven traffic patterns, and a greater number of connected endpoints.
With smart meter and smart city deployments providing a major impetus to general device uptake in the realm of the IoT, a report from Kaleido Intelligence has found that a key standard on which such devices will be based, cellular LPWAN – that is low-power wide-area networks consisting of narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) and Long Term Evolution for Machines (LTE-M) – will grow to the extent whereby its connectivity revenue will grow more than twofold over the next five years, generating $2.3bn in recurring revenue, compared with less than $900m in 2022.
The NB-IoT & LTE-M: Strategies & forecasts report found that China will account for approximately 55% of cellular LPWAN connectivity revenues in 2027, due to continued strong growth in NB-IoT deployments
The onset of the pandemic accelerated global firms’ plans to redefine how their businesses operated, in particular how they managed their WANs, with SD-WANs flourishing and secure access service edge (SASE) emerging. However, a study from specialist telecoms market research and consulting firm TeleGeography calculated that despite these drivers, the global SD-WAN market for large multinational enterprises currently accounts for just 5% of the total market.
Using insight from TeleGeography’s WAN manager survey and WAN cost benchmark, the study used the total number of global corporate WAN sites and market price ranges as key variables, with static assumptions about the geographic distribution of network sites, mix of connectivity products, bandwidths, distance of local loops and SD-WAN roll-outs.
Just as the qualifying races in the latest part of its all-electric motor racing series get under way in Sardinia, Extreme E has announced that it is working with technology partner Vodafone Business to go beyond racing to support local sustainability projects, with a new Vodafone IoT ultra-early forest fire detection system.
The Extreme E series hopes to raise awareness of the climate emergency by mixing sport with purpose to inspire change, aiming to leave behind a long-lasting positive impact through its legacy programmes and showcase the performance of all-electric vehicles in extreme conditions, promoting the adoption of electric vehicles in the quest for a lower-carbon future for the planet.
A1 Telekom Austria Group has announced it will offer software-defined wide area network services via the VMware SD-WAN offering in all of its operating companies.
Claiming to be an SD-WAN pioneer, A1 Group said its end-to-end managed service not only covers network hardware, but also the implementation and management of the network. By using SD-WAN services, A1 Group assured that roll-out, maintenance and management of cloud-based software for all customer locations, as well as network stability and reliability, will be improved.
One of the UK’s most loved food brands, Greggs, has signed a deal with long-standing technology partner Daisy Corporate Services, a provider of secure IT, communications and cloud services, to deliver a future-proof, security-centred SD-WAN solution powered by Meraki.
The SD-WAN solution is designed to consolidate legacy systems, provide greater insight into network performance, support the transition to cloud-based services and increase resilience across the entire network. It will offer the business improved agility via a network that evolves in line with specific current and future needs, as well as offering a zero-risk approach to security and faster in-shop connectivity that will drive increased use of in-shop devices.
With wireless connectivity now essential for enabling agile and secure connectivity of people, places and things, beyond the reach and limitations of traditional wired network connections, AT&T has introduced a new managed wireless WAN offer.
The US communications technology provider said that as businesses look for new ways to engage their customers, streamline operations and generate revenue, many are turning to wireless WAN technology.
As it begins to ramp up 5G-based enterprise services in the key territories of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, Verizon Business has announced a dedicated network strategy, specifically designed for stadium and venue customers using its private 5G technology, and in a deeper foray into SD-WANs, it has become Bertelsmann’s global network transformation partner.
Outlining the rationale for the stadium announcement, Verizon said event venues require a high level of technology and core network infrastructures, giving owners the opportunity to unlock offerings that impact fan experience, public safety, access control, concessions and crowd management analytics.