Network virtualisation will be a major trend going into 2013.
Wireless Network Virtualisation
In 2012 we saw a big push toward Software Defined Networks and Network Virtualisation. VMware’s $1.26B acquisition of the tiny 5-year old start-up Nicira put an exclamation point on how serious our industry is about Network Virtualisation. In 2013, I believe that the industry will realise that everything that makes SDN and Network Virtualisation so powerful and efficient for the fixed network is even more compelling for the wireless network.
2013 will be the year of Wireless Network Virtualisation. With the continued proliferation of wireless devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs, Machine-2-Machine, etc…), bandwidth hungry applications continuing to expand in all markets, and companies becoming increasingly mobile and distributed, businesses will seek cloud-based Wi-Fi solutions. Virtualised wireless LANs enable a simpler and more cost-effective wireless solution to manage, and being cloud-based, enables near limitless scale, security and network efficiency.
System Level Vectoring
My second expectation is that system level vectoring will come to the fore. The need for speed continues unabated, with efficient broadband now a “must have”. To satisfy this need, service providers are deploying next-generation DSL equipment deeper into the network and closer to the customer. System level vectoring increases the capacity of this DSL service, with 100 Mbps service possible, a substantial improvement on previous solutions. In conjunction with fiber to the home deployments, service providers are looking to vectoring solutions to pave the way for faster broadband for everyone.
Cloud-based Mobile Offload
Finally, I believe there will be an increase in cloud-based mobile offload applications. As the number of wireless subscribers accessing bandwidth hungry mobile data and video services increases, the desperate need to offload high bandwidth traffic from 3G and 4G networks will increase exponentially. For the mobile network to run efficiently and achieve the required scale, a cloud-based mobile offload solution is needed. A cloud-based solution delivers near limitless scale and the high bandwidth traffic is separated from user administration and saves operators the expense and engineering challenges of coping with limited spectrum availability and 3G/4G backhaul capacity demands.