Tom Nolle
Tom Nolle is the president and founder of CIMI Corporation and the principal consultant/analyst. Tom started his career as a...
Read Full Bio >>

Tom Nolle | September 23, 2015 |


Networking in 2025

Networking in 2025 Five characteristics will define networking a decade from now.

Five characteristics will define networking a decade from now.

I've previously written about the commoditizing forces that are eroding the business model for current network services, and about the revolutionary forces that offer technical alternatives. Forces move you but they don't create the destination, so in all fairness you can ask where all this ends up. What will networking look like in a decade? You can sum it up in five points.

First, transport infrastructure not only will commoditize but also become a shared service. Network operators are called that because they run networks of their own. That was a great model in the wireline age when operators' markets were geographically set. In a mobile and over-the top (OTT) world, having competition means having expensive competitive overbuild. Instead of having a single network in a big metro area, we might have four or five in parallel, and the network operators pass along the cost of infrastructure in service prices.

Mobile operators have been sharing towers for a long time, and the financial industry is now proposing that operators consider sharing basic transport and metro infrastructure, too. In Europe, where regulators have been battering the tradition of roaming charges, operators already are showing interest in creating a mobile underlayment shared by all. Australia created the New Broadband Network (NBN) as a not-for-profit national access and transport network that operators share with an eye on focusing their competitive efforts on higher-layer services of direct interest to consumers. By 2025, we'll see some form of infrastructure sharing in most of the major markets, either through a new regulated player or one or two giants that are then regulated to prevent abuse of their market power.

Second, services will be delivered on segmented access connections. Just like we can't afford competitive overbuild on transport and metro infrastructure, we can't afford it with access connections either. Here we may not have "access sharing" in the sense of infrastructure sharing for mobile operators, but we will have a few access providers that then support managed-service-provider layers on top.

The Internet will be one such layer, but things like channelized TV, Internet of Things (IoT) telemetry, and business services will be segregated on a common access pipe and managed as "virtual access lines." This will open competition for the "real" services that matter to users in an even more effective way than Australia's NBN, which has experienced cost overruns and is losing political support.


Third, the notion of zero-usage-charge, high-quality, and "Internet dial tone" will become limited. Money flows to where investment is profitable, and the segmented access and shared infrastructure models will encourage operators to deliver things like cloud computing outside the Internet. Regulatory policy on Net neutrality will gradually retreat from promising "no fast lanes" and "no settlement" simply because neither will be in the public interest -- there'd be no investment.

Many will think this will create a Bell System reborn, but it won't. Shared infrastructure doesn't permit that kind of model, and the success of off-the-Internet alternatives depends on the evolution of shared access and transport. There will still be an Internet, but best-effort service will be less acceptable when something better can be had for a fairly modest charge. Startups that had depended on Internet dial tone and zero usage charges will exploit that at first, but over time they would migrate to better services -- in terms of security, availability, performance, and so on -- that they'd bill for incrementally. More and more services (including most of the IoT) will be available only for a fee.

Fourth, on the equipment side, switching and routing functions will be increasingly virtualized to the point where by 2025 most traffic will never see what we'd recognize today as a switch or router. Companies will build physical-layer, tunnel-based, electrical grooming on top of the shared access and transport to build service- and customer-specific subnetworks at Level 1. These they'll augment with virtual switches and routers to create connection services or to deliver higher-layer services and cloud applications.

The security industry will be shaken by all of this, of course, but since the Internet will still exist as an open network with the lowest marginal cost of connectivity, some users and applications will stay there even as late as 2025. Over time, however, every consumer and business site will have its own virtual-router instance for managing service and application network connections. Firewalls, virus protection, and even in-flight malware scanning of Web data will be handled as a service-chain feature at that point.

Fifth, from the perspective of consumer visibility, the biggest change will be a completely malleable as-a-service framework composed by the user as needed. Every user will have a portal that controls all of his or her services, mobile and wireline, compute and connect. That portal will allow each user to select specific features and services as needed, paying for them on a usage basis or an interval license as preferred. The portal will link to automated service processes, and since each portal will be accessible from any device the user owns, it will also handle customer care, service call requests, orders for changes in physical facilities or access trunks, etc.

Surprised that I'm not talking about all the new services we might have? Well, those services will come along because they're enabled by the processes I've described here. The network of the future will be different because it has to do more, do things faster, do things cheaper. The things it does will be the things we want, delivered without the barriers we've inherited from network practices that were never designed to do even what we want today.

With these changes, we'll finally have a network that faces the future without trying to define it, and that's what we really need.

Related posts:

Follow Tom Nolle on Google+!
Tom Nolle on Google+


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.