Edge trends for 2022

What’s next in the evolution of 5G infrastructure? How will we address supply chain concerns? Is there any end to demand for higher speeds? With a new year about to begin, it’s time to look ahead to the future of the network edge.
Prayson Pate
2022 written on the road

Bloody, but unbowed” is how I feel after 2021. But 2021 is almost over, so on to 2022! Here are my predictions for the trends we will see in the coming year.

Trend: 5G will drive changes in the supporting infrastructure

There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of 5G and how it will be implemented. But what about the underlying infrastructure? I believe that fundamental changes are needed, and will be delivered in 2022:

  • Ubiquitous compute is required for hosting 5G machinery and applications. This will be deployed at base stations, telco clouds and edge data centers.
  • Synchronization and timing are needed for meeting the tight requirements of 5G. Timing delivery must be combined with assurance for mission-critical systems. That means using a combination of PTP, SyncE and GNSS/GPS.
  • Network slicing enables efficient use of infrastructure while ensuring each service receives the required QoS.

Trend: Concerns about supply chains and vendor consolidation will drive growth of uCPE deployments

Our global supply chains have given us an amazing array of goods at low prices. But the advent of Covid, trade wars and the semiconductor crisis have changed that. In addition, acquisitions of suppliers can reduce the suitability of a component in terms of price, availability and support. Telcos are taking a much harder look at ensuring resilience in how they deliver services. One aspect of that is replacing closed single-vendor appliances with multi-vendor systems hosted on uCPE. uCPE eases component substitution and reduces the inventory in depots – which are two very good things.

Telcos are turning to uCPE to ensure resilience in how they deliver services. 
Trend: Demands for edge bandwidth will continue to grow

Trends like work-from-home and video conferencing are helping fuel growth in demand for bandwidth at the edge of the network. And this demand will only grow larger. We’re seeing 1Gbit/s access links being replaced by 10Gbit/s and even 100Gbit/s. And fiber access will be accompanied by fixed-wire access using 5G as well as advanced PON systems to replace DSL.

Bonus observation: “There is nothing new under the sun

With time-sensitive networking (TSN) using packet fragmentation to enable preemption for reduction of latency, and PTP and SyncE delivering synchronization for edge systems, it seems things never really change. And you thought that ATM and SONET were dead!

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