So the new year is here, and it can’t help to take a look at what the future holds in store for us in terms of wireless networks. Jeff Reed, senior vice president for Cisco, is already making his predictions for the year ahead of us. “We are standing at the edge of a major technology shift,” Reed wrote in a blog post recently. “The past year has paved the way and set the stage for the future — a future that is rapidly coming into clearer focus.”
Of all the major shifts in enterprise IT that Reed expects to see in 2017, none is more striking than the change to expected to hit the way that wide area networks are designed. Traditional “demilitarized zones” at corporate data centers will augmented (or completely replaced in some cases…) by points of presence hosted in cloud facilities.
Another big change for 2017 is the expansion of NFV from service providers to enterprises. The change will ease the processes of provisioning, chains, and scaling for enterprise branches. Internet of Things technology is also expected to see significant growth in the enterprise sector next year. Reed noted “COOs are beginning to see the value that IoT can bring to the workplace,” Reed said. “This can be via intelligent lighting, location services in the workplace or connected AC systems.”
At the same time, SDN is already starting to establish itself in the data center, and will probably head into the Wide Area Network next year. Network assurance and troubleshooting capabilities will likely improve next year as a result of developments from machine learning. Diagnoses and remediation are expected to experience quicker response times while an increasing number of the capabilities become cloud enabled.
Location based services are anticipated to increase in popularity in the new year, especially in wireless enterprise environments. Advancements in Wi-Fi technology will provide new capabilities including wayfinding and space optimization. These Wi-Fi improvements will also be major factors propelling the increased use of Voice over Wi-Fi in 2017. Reed claims that the experience of transferring calls will make significant leaps in the new year. These advances will push an increased demand for employees with a new set of skills, including a knowledge of of deep learning or programming.
The rise of device level programmability will result in an increase in programming taking place at the controller instead of the device level. “This is where the real simplification, scalability and sophistication of the network happens,” Reed said. “The majority of programming innovation will happen at the controller level with direct impact on the services traversing the network rather than with individual devices.”
Finally, expect low power wireless access to take off in 2017, giving rise to more IoT applications as power concerns become less of an issue.