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2022 The Year of the Tiger

According to the Chinese zodiac Year of the Tiger starts from February 1 and lasts until January 2, 2023. Those born in the Year of the Tiger are said to be brave, competitive, unpredictable, and confident. This particular year is a Water Tiger, a time characterized by all types of extremes -- about loss, but also about gain. Believe what you may, the beginning of any year allows us to reflect on the changes we must make in our lives and our businesses.

We are entering a challenging year where supply chain issues, the shadow of unforeseen variants, and a recovering global economy loom over our heads, but progress in challenging times depends on demonstrating strong leadership. As an industry, we must continue to build resiliency and bring computing to the edge, closest to the user. Increased demands from emerging applications from industrial IoT to virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles mean that we will see an increasing need for high bandwidth and low latency that will almost certainly impose on network buildouts. We’re now a few years into the 5G era, and there is still a long road to travel before we can fully realize the benefits of 5G. Here is what we expect to come:

Rise of 5G private infrastructure

This year, we will see growth in the deployment of private 5G networks in manufacturing facilities, airports, stadiums, and at corporate headquarters. These will be deployed either over licensed or unlicensed spectrum and are fundamental for the success of 5G. More than 90 percent of data consumed by devices or users while indoors could be from a private 5G network; thus, it is imperative to ensure that with 5G, we get good coverage.

Standalone 5G is ten times faster, supports 10,000 times more network traffic and can handle 100 times more devices than 4G networks while enabling one-fiftieth the latency with zero perceived downtime for near-real-time responsiveness. It can also support massive numbers of devices, faster and more agile creation of services and network slices, and improved SLA management support within those slices.

With specialized machine-to-machine communication protocols and many emerging applications, massive IoT is waiting for 5G infrastructure to deploy. The pandemic and the challenges to the supply chain and delays in the 5G spectrum auction may have set us back 12 to 18 months, but the overall size of the opportunity has not changed. Instead, we see a shift in time. Continued demand, increasing rollouts and momentum will continue. The 5G Core is the heart of a 5G mobile network. In 2022 momentum for standalone 5G rollouts will continue, but there is still a long road to go. A recent survey of mobile operators by Heavy Reading in October 2021 revealed that 49% of operators plan to deploy 5G SA within a year and that a further 39% plan to deploy 5G SA within one or two years.

Convergence of fixed and mobile for "seamless services."

The intersections between the fixed and 5G mobile networks will be a key component in the success of 5G deployment in 2022 and beyond. These are the interfaces between the 5G core, the wireline and wireless access networks, hybrid access nodes, and gateways.

3GPP is the 5G standardization body, working jointly with Broadband Forum to ensure that 5G packet core works for not only 3GPP access but also non-3GPP access such as Wi-Fi 6, fiber and so on. This means that a single 5G packet core infrastructure will be capable of sustaining all the main access technologies in the marketplace. Thus Wi-Fi 6 and 5G could be combined into a single radio network pillar for larger venues, creating a more seamless experience allowing Wi-Fi and mobile devices to connect to a single radio network based on 5G technology.

Work towards 3GGP standardization, Release 18, will begin in mid-2022. The fourth standard for 5G, dubbed "5G Advanced," includes major enhancements in artificial intelligence and extended reality enabling highly intelligent network solutions to support a wider variety of use cases and more intelligence into wireless networks. These enhancements will provide the foundation for manufacturing and industrial IoT applications. In addition, it will deliver a more balanced 5G Advanced evolution to address the short and long terms needs of enhanced mobile broadband and expanded vertical use cases across the end-to-end 5G system.

Cloud computing meets edge computing.

We will continue to see the emergence of new applications hungry for ultra-reliable low latency communications applications from the connected car to interactive gaming, industrial robotics to the metaverse and more.

All these applications require latency below ten milliseconds. Unfortunately, the public cloud is currently only capable of sustaining latency radically higher than ten milliseconds. The need for lower latency will ignite more enthusiasm towards Edge computing, bringing compute power closer to the devices that consume data and services. As a result, edge computing will continue to be a growing phenomenon next year, seeing more expansion to the edge.

Need for more distributed cloud

When you combine a large centralized public cloud with smaller edge data centers, you need to work with a distributed cloud. Distributed cloud is a public cloud computing service that lets you run public cloud infrastructure in multiple locations and manage everything from a single control plane.

Distributed cloud is the foundation of edge computing, viewed as creating a slice like a virtual data center that can span across multiple physical geographically distributed data centers, which allows service providers to deploy applications consistently regardless of where the physical application resides. This concept plays a key role in providing high availability services as we move forward.

5G slicing is one of the key areas of innovations that will let CSPs earn a return on their investments in 5G by offering a secure and dynamic network platform to enterprises. Read more about how 5G slicing can reduce TCO in the hyper-connected area here.

Migration towards 5G cloud-native applications and beyond

The bulk of new applications will all be cloud native. It will be based on a DevOps environment, integrate continuous development, and be built using microservices over containers rather than traditional virtual machines or bare metal servers. 5G cloud native infrastructure is a key component and entirely necessary to reduce the overall costs of these services and applications.

We have lost some momentum these past two years, but overcoming our fears and taking calculated risks, we have only to gain. We at Kaloom continue our mission to develop critically needed and disruptive cloud native solutions to address the emerging challenges in data center networking. Our vision is fully automated, distributed data center networking software suitable for the data center operator, telco, enterprise, cloud, and gaming industries built using the highest performance, lowest-cost and greenest network possible. Regardless of your end destination, I wish you much success on your journey.