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Here Are the Top Networking Trends of 2020

January 10, 2020

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From 5G and wireless to SD-WAN and edge computing, 2020 is shaping up to be a busy year for enterprise IT network teams. With the digitization of previously manual processes came an increasing need for faster network speeds and new services. Let’s have a look at the top networking technologies and architecture trends we should expect to see in 2020.

WiFi 6 – The Latest Development in Wireless Connectivity

Also known as 802.11ax, WiFi 6 is the latest WiFi protocol. It offers the highest speed ever and it is expected to change the face of networking solutions in the coming years. WiFi 6 will work on 6GHz bands under a new spectrum and increase the density of devices that can coexist independently in the same space without impacting the speed on a single device. A huge number of routers, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices will hit the market this year.

Network Automation and Machine Learning

Rapid deployment of new services and network automation goes hand in hand. The best automation tools are capable of assisting with automating the following tasks: repeatable network configurations, duplicating deployments, and replicating operational management tasks. In 2020, Machine Learning will allow IT workers to better understand network anomalies and prioritize the allocation of resources in order to minimize downtime.

The SD-WAN Infrastructure Market Will Grow

The software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) infrastructure market is set to grow exponentially over the next four years, reaching $4.5 billion by 2022, according to IDC. SD-WAN networks are more agile, more robust, and enable organizations to route a huge amount of network traffic based on centralized roles and rules. Furthermore, SD-WAN promotes high-end data security. In 2020, more enterprises are planning to transition to this modern networking solution.

5G – Boosting Office Connectivity

Extremely competitive in terms of performance, speed, and latency, 5G will become a more convenient networking solution than WAN connections for connecting different offices. Thus, the new wireless technology will enhance enterprises from a branch office perspective. 

In 2020, more and more enterprises will look for network vendors to begin integrating 5G into their cellular branch office gateways. Though large-scale rollout is expected to take 2 to 3 years, we can already see commercial operations from U.S. vendors.  

Digitized Spaces

From 5G to digitized spaces, the networking field will change in 2020, as businesses can now better understand customer preferences. A Digitized Space combines modern networking technologies with high-res geolocation tech to understand how people and goods move through physical spaces. This year, many retail, health, and logistics companies will implement this new technology aiming to improve their business models and align their service portfolios with customer expectations.

Network Analytics

Networks are expanding rapidly due to the growth of technologies like IoT, resulting in a lot of extra entities on the network. In theory, the bigger and more complex the environment, the more value a company gets from implementing network analytics. While some organizations tested the use of NA tools in their environments in 2019, many will start using network analytics in production environments this year. 

Edge Computing – Local Data Collection and Analysis

5G networking capabilities will drive edge adoption. By taking computing power and data much closer to the end-user, businesses can significantly reduce bandwidth costs while also lowering network latency. 2020 is the year when businesses will start to find a use for edge computing that will cut costs, improve processes, or create competitive advantages. The growth of IoT-generated data, as well as the rise of applications that need processing at the edge, will drive the growth of this technology in the coming years.

Zero Trust Networks

The traditional VPN security model is quickly becoming obsolete. 2020 data security will slowly move toward the Zero Trust model, where all assets in an IT operating environment are considered untrusted by default until network traffic and application or service behavior is validated and approved. According to a 2019 Cybersecurity Insiders survey, 78% of IT security teams are looking to embrace zero-trust network access in the future.

As new technologies can enhance visibility, speed of deployment, and ultimately drive business productivity, many companies will have to consider the implementation of advanced platforms, tools, and methodologies that bring obsolete networks into a new era.