For the past four years we’ve witnessed an explosion in virtual communication, generated by the global pandemic. In 2023, on the backdrop of international conflicts and an energy crisis, the world of telecommunication is striving to keep up with unprecedented demand for data.
Here, Marcin Bala, CEO of leading telecommunications network specialist Salumanus, has identified three main priorities for telecom operators for the new year, to help them remain competitive and deal with uncertainties.
For many analysts, 2023 is the year of making savings. Operators will experience significant increases in costs, such as maintenance, energy costs and heat dissipation. The market is likely to abound in solutions that are not only less energy-intensive but are also scalable and resilient. For this reason, I believe the top trends that will influence the new year are sustainability, cybersecurity and resilience.
Recent years have seen energy prices rising significantly, with analysts predicting this crisis could last until 2024. In 2023, a major consideration for telco operators will be finding solutions to reduce energy consumption without compromising the deployment of new technology.
A new report from Deloitte, found that “Tech companies are 13 per cent more likely than others to target net zero by 2030”. It’s no surprise then that new hardware is becoming smaller, more compact and energy efficient.
For example, one of the latest 400G transceivers, the QSFP-DD is 18.35 mm wide, 89.4 mm long and 8.5 mm tall, the size of a large USB stick and it has a power consumption of up to 22 W. Smaller equipment has a reduced footprint and contributes to better airflow for cooling requirements.
Compact transceivers can be easily integrated and play a significant role in achieving green data centres and meeting sustainability targets.
In 2023, cybersecurity will remain a top priority for telco operators. According to Gartner, there will be 43 billion IoT-connected devices by the end of the year. While interconnectivity is rising, so are cyberattacks and data breaches.
As a result, telco operators will need to invest more in cybersecurity measures. Data collection, storage, processing and transmission through networks must de devised on a Zero Trust model, addressing attacks at every level. Encryption layers remain a secure method to protect against attacks, including phishing, which is the most widespread type of attack.
The most efficient encryption option by far is layer one. It enables secure transmission regardless of the protocols and applications to be transmitted. It supports encryption for voice, data, video as well as Ethernet, Fibre Channel, SDI, CPRI protocols. Layer one encryption also allows users to maintain the full speed of their connection with minimum delays.
Apart from ensuring networks are protected against cyberattacks, operators need to look out for industry disruptions and supply chain issues. The fibre optic cable shortage in 2022 put the idea of resiliency back on everyone’s agenda, as it posed serious questions for deploying new technologies. Not only that, but it impeded the development of 5G infrastructure globally.
When crises hit, operators need to evaluate their resources and plan wisely for dealing with demand. An often forgotten, but highly cost-effective solution for fibre shortages is to utilise so-called “dark fibre”. As a preventative measure, companies often overestimate the amount of cable needed for an application and install more cable than required. The remaining amount becomes unused or unlit, as there are no light pulses transmitted through it. Thanks to dark fibre, network operators can connect two locations through point-to-point connection and scale their network’s transmission capacity.
Instead of paying for new cable at inflated rates, telco operators can take advantage of their already laid cable and future-proof themselves for potential crises.
Another solution operators can implement is adding WDM technology to their existing infrastructure. O-band solutions based on WDM equipment will help users migrate to 100G in a straightforward and economical way and futureproof their business for increasing data requirements.
Resiliency, stringent cybersecurity measures and sustainable technologies will most likely be the top priorities for telecom operators and data centres in 2023. These trends have been popular in the past, but this year, they will become the backbone of the industry, as new technologies will be unable to make the market without the three considerations.