Procera Networks: Cam Cullen's 2017 Telecom Trends

2017 will be the year telecom regulators take aim, zero-rate proliferates, and IoT insecurity grabs hold.

Telecom regulators will focus on network quality

Both the FCC in the US and BEREC in Europe have issued guidance that asks telecom operators to detail the actual QoE delivered to subscribers on their networks – including throughput, latency, and packet loss for all service plans. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated in how they use broadband and more sensitive to network disruption as a result, especially if it leads to slow social networking, stuttering video streaming, or laggy gaming. In 2017, as more and more consumers rely exclusively on their broadband connections for video and voice services, regulators will go a step further and be pulled into mandating quality measurements for operators.

IoT security issues will continue to steal headlines

In 2017, the well-publicised issues with security on IoT devices will cause more problems on broadband networks. The Dyn attack that was primarily powered by hacked cameras is a sign of things to come. These attacks will continue to grow in size and the sheer number of IoT devices being used will amplify the attack power to Tb/ps of capacity. It’s going to become essential for operators to mitigate with fine-grained filtering and rate limiting of attack traffic in order to differentiate their service offerings and keep subscribers happy.

Zero-rating will proliferate

T-Mobile has delivered a blueprint for mobile differentiation that’s resulted in impressive subscriber growth in the US. In 2017, other disruptive mobile operators are likely to follow suit in an attempt to emulate this recipe for success – as long as local regulators don’t forbid it. However, to make this a reality, operators also need to understand what applications would deliver the greatest perceived value to their subscribers and how their network would cope with increased volume for zero rated application and content.

Virtualisation will get some big deployment wins

Operators worldwide are working to virtualise their infrastructure. There are already some live virtual deployments, but they are not at the scale many operators hoped for. In 2017, we will see high profile deployments that begin to reap the benefits of virtualisation as vendor solutions become more mature, deliver scalability, and get ‘good enough’ orchestration to roll out services.

Big data analytics will bolster strategic decision-making

As growth and revenue has flattened out, telecoms operators around the world are digging deeper to improve their bottom line and meet business goals. They’re beginning to learn how to leverage the vast sets of information they now have. This will impact every area of telecom business, including the network, where intelligence about subscriber behaviour and network performance will be more heavily relied upon for network and operational goals and investment decisions.

Cam Cullen is the VP Global Marketing at Procera Networks.

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