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Cisco questions whether networks can keep up with digital transformation

Cisco questions whether networks can keep up with digital transformation

Will networks struggle with staggering amounts of data?

Cisco service provider vice-president, Doug Webster

Cisco service provider vice-president, Doug Webster

Are businesses prepared for the staggering amounts of data that are set to get on networks in the coming years? That is the key question that Cisco service provider vice-president, Doug Webster, asked companies at the Cisco Live ’17 conference in Melbourne.

Webster said that, by the year 2020, there will be 2.3 zettabytes (ZB) going across the global networks of service providers, proving that there is a demand for improved bandwidth.

“It’s a staggering amount of data. This is about 10 times the amount of traffic from 2010. It’s going to be three times the amount of traffic from 2015. This is driven by 4.1 billion users expected on the network by 2020, and 26.3 billion devices connected to networks,” he said.

So, can the network keep up?

According to Webster, speeds of connections will double to reach more than 47.7 Mbps by then, leading to the dawn of 5G.

“It’s very staggering amounts of growth that we’re dealing with and it’s understandably going to cause some concerns because networks aren’t ready today, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be able to keep up. It’s all around the notion of how we transform.”

And 5G is top of mind for businesses around the globe, Webster mentioned. But, he said that shouldn’t be the main concern for businesses.

“Everyone’s talking about 5G and there’s almost this battle now about the first commercially available 5G radio out there. There’s so much focus on this one radio device that they’re losing the bigger picture.

“5G is going to require architectures throughout the network, not just on one radio piece. While people are focused on the radio, there’s a lot of things they can do on the architecture today to start getting ready for that flood of bandwidth coming through,” he added.

Webster also said many think 5G is about mobility in terms of connectivity speeds, but doesn’t agree that it stops just there.

“Shame on us if we’re only looking through a mobile lens.

“It’s not just about mobility, it’s about all services. Think about the amount of capability it can provide beyond just one device. This starts to open up a whole slew of opportunities – delivering broadband wirelessly for HD video, or virtualised business services,” he said.

IoT is also another concept Webster spoke about, warning businesses that just because everything can be connected, doesn’t mean they should and doesn’t mean that they’re tapping into the full capability of it.

“People are just connecting things and losing sight of what it is that they’re trying to get out of it. When it comes to connecting IoT, you need to start looking at the broader landscape, connecting and cross-pollinating people, things, processes, and the automation of data,” he stated.

This will also result in the make of smarter cities and builds on the bigger picture of working across any vertical and industry, according to Webster.

Webster also brought up the concept of cloud, saying that businesses should now be at the point of seamless cloud to network flow.

“It’s about a broader architectural play, bringing all the different functions together and have them operate as one. So, we as an industry need to transform to adopt these changes and question what can you do your part for it?” he said.

Hafizah Osman is attending Cisco Live ’17 in Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.


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Tags cisco live 2017networksdigital transformation5Gcisco

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