The Connected Lifestyle is Driving Network Transformation

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Mobile World Congress 2014 is right around the corner, which gets me thinking about what a difference ten years makes, especially in the world of mobility. We all talk about the huge growth in mobile traffic, which will increase by about 5,000 times between 2007 and 2017.1 But working in technology, we see big numbers every day, so 5,000 may not seem impressive until we take a step back and look at a couple comparisons.

As you sip a 3 Euro cup of coffee at a café, would you be willing to pay 15,000 Euros for it ten years from now? Or imagine your car, which gets 400 kilometers on a tank of gas today, being able to circle the globe over 50 times before needing a refill.

A New Way of Doing Things

Our lifestyles explain why mobile traffic is increasing so fast. We live in an increasingly connected world where people expect services to be available anytime, anywhere. The billions of machines making up the Internet of Things (IoT) are consuming incredible amounts of bandwidth, and soon there’ll be hundreds of millions of wearables, automobiles – and you name it – connected to the network.

Then there’s big data and the desire to deliver new services and improved customer experiences by extracting business value from vast amounts of data – that must also be stored, managed, and secured.

All this begs the question: are we doing the right things (or enough) to support the always-connected lifestyle?

It’s fortunate that about two years ago, visionaries in our industry saw the writing on the wall, and realized the economics and flexibility of our current networking infrastructure wouldn’t cut it. Since then, a lot of effort has been put into re-architecting networks embracing NFV and SDN concepts with the goal of reducing cost and making it easier to deploy new services.

From the Laboratory to Trials

Tests are already underway. ZTE completed joint testing with a leading operator in China on a mobile core network, and indications are that it performed well and was positively acknowledged by clients. Telefónica held field trials in Brazil, testing virtualized customer premise equipment that is expected to simplify installations and upgrades. Both of these NFV/SDN-based solutions run on Intel hardware and software, which enable a high-performance virtualization environment.

Doing Enough?

The connected lifestyle requires that all types of infrastructure play nicely together. In many ways, this has been accelerated by SDN and NFV, as they’re driving consistency between telecom networks, enterprise data centers, and cloud. In fact, virtualization and the use of standard IT, high-volume servers will lead to a common infrastructure that will increase interoperability and information sharing.

Nonetheless, much more needs to be done with end points, like consumer devices and machines. For example, networks and devices must work better together to protect data (encryption) and save network bandwidth (compression).

“Game On”

Powering the connected lifestyle takes scalable and flexible solutions for telecom, data center, cloud, and devices. At Intel, we’re covering all the bases. Intel is teaming up with industry-leaders to make mobile communications more integrated and intelligent, efficient and scalable, flexible and secure. Come see us at Mobile World Congress 2014!

1 Sources: Cisco* Visual Networking Index – Forecast and Methodology, 2007–2012, and Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013–2018.