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Transforming connectivity, redefining tech possibilities

Anticipate a landscape of ubiquitous computing, edge processing, and AI-driven applications to transform communication technologies in 2024.

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VoicenData Bureau
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Transforming connectivity

Transforming connectivity

Anticipate a landscape of ubiquitous computing, edge processing, and AI-driven applications to transform communication technologies in 2024

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The launch of 5G has triggered a massive multi-year capital expenditure cycle in wireline and wireless network infrastructure, both in India and globally. The average mobile data usage on a 5G connection worldwide is nearly double that of 4G, due to a greater propensity of consumers to use higher bandwidth applications. Beyond offering an enhanced mobile and fixed wireless connection, 5G is set to introduce diverse services in the coming year, leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, ultra-reliable low-latency (URLLC) communications, and network slicing.

These advancements pave the way for novel applications, including robotic manufacturing, remote healthcare, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, VR/AR-based learning, and smart farming using drones, promising transformative social impact.

Looking ahead to 2024, the landscape anticipates ubiquitous computing with fog-based architecture and application designs.

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In parallel, 5G is also unlocking opportunities for various industries like manufacturing, mining, and utilities, allowing them to achieve higher performance efficiencies, superior reliability, and secure communications through cost-effective private cellular networks. As India embraces large-scale electronic manufacturing, the country is poised to outpace its global counterparts in adopting 5G to improve industrial productivity.

The pandemic has heightened the urgency among Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to accelerate the rollout of both fixed and mobile broadband networks, and the need for addressing the persistent digital divide. While 4G and 5G will continue to dominate mobile network rollouts over the next few years, Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) and 10 Gigabit Symmetrical PON (XGS-PON) technologies are preferred for Fibre-to-the-Home/Business (FTTH/B) deployments.

In Brief Transforming connectivity 1
In Brief Transforming connectivity 1
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To cope with the resulting bandwidth surge, CSPs are augmenting the capacities of their Aggregation/Edge, Metro and Backbone networks by investing in higher-capacity optical transmission, packet switching and routing equipment based on advanced technologies such as Coherent DWDM, multi-terabit OTN, and IP/MPLS. CSPs are increasingly opting for converged wireline and wireless platforms, such as Tejas’s TJ1400 UCB, that provide greater flexibility to deliver high-speed Internet services either as fibre broadband or as mobile and fixed wireless to reach customers in remote areas with difficult terrains.

EDGE AND THE AI FACTOR

Looking ahead to 2024, the landscape anticipates ubiquitous computing with fog-based architecture and application designs. Newer applications, such as metaverse, Extended Reality, and VR that are more latency-sensitive will require distributed processing at the network edges. We are already witnessing data centres reaching deeper into cities, towns and sub-urban areas, instead of being limited to national and state headquarters, and one can expect this trend to continue beyond 2024.

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The proliferation of edge computing will also drive CSPs to make significant capital investments to support these advanced applications and the ability to have some edge offload for peak compute and memory requirements. 5G rollouts will also require a few Core elements like User Plane Function (UPF) to move closer to the consumers to help reduce communications latency.

In terms of Artificial Intelligence (AI), its initial applications in service provider networks primarily revolve around network management automation and proactive monitoring using signal degradation information and other network alarms. However, advanced AI use cases, such as load balancing, mobility optimisation, predicting instantaneous channel models, and precise user positioning are gradually emerging. AI models for fault diagnostics and customer support, utilising data from OSS/BSS systems and with multi-layer network alarms, are also being actively explored by global CSPs.

A CASE FOR THE NB-IOT

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NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is emerging as the de-facto IoT communications technology in service provider networks. While IoT devices are being widely deployed by multiple industry verticals, the pace of their deployment has been relatively slower compared to mobile handsets. However, the advent of NB-IoT sensors for industrial monitoring is expected to drive its widespread adoption.

CSPs can develop industry-specific solutions and help customers maximise the revenue generation potential of IoT use cases.

Challenges include the need for a common middleware to handle and process the information generated by diverse IoT devices. The continuing use of IoT devices based on legacy 2G/GPRS and unlicensed Long Range (LoRA) and ZigBee standards is another limiting factor. Nevertheless, service providers have a clear opportunity to develop industry-specific solutions and handhold customers to maximise the revenue generation potential of IoT use cases.

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The emergence of evolving technologies like 5G, Edge Computing, AI, and IoT, and their convergence will paint a transformative picture for communication technologies in 2024. Beyond addressing current challenges, this synergy will pave the way for a future where connectivity, intelligence, and efficiency redefine technological possibilities.

As industries navigate this dynamic landscape, strategic adaptation and innovation are essential to leverage these technologies for sustained growth and competitive advantage.

By Dr Kumar N Sivarajan

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The author is the CTO and Co-founder of Tejas Networks.

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VoicenData Bureau
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