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5 Enterprise Networking Trends To Watch In 2020

From 5G and wireless, to SD-WAN and edge computing, there are five enterprise networking trends that we predict will flourish in 2020.

Coming Soon To A Network Near You

The enterprise networking landscape ebbs and flows each year as new technology enters the market, but 2019 was the year that saw trends like edge computing and SD-WAN start to gain some serious momentum.

2022 will be no different. Next year, marks the expected rollout of a nationwide 5G network and while the technology is still very young, it’s poised to shake up the networking space. Wi-Fi 6, which will work hand-in-hand with 5G, will also have its first full-year on the market to show enterprises throughput of up to 4 times faster than previous technologies allowed.

From emerging wireless technology, to analytics, here are five enterprise networking trends that CRN predicts will take off in 2020.

Edge Computing On The Rise

It’s not an exaggeration to say that computing is breaking free from the confines of the data center or cloud and happening at the edge more than ever before, especially as more devices become connected and more businesses deploy IoT.

Market research firm Gartner said that nearly 90 percent of enterprise-generated data was processed in a centralized data center or cloud in 2018, but by 2022, the study predicted that only 25 percent of data-processing will be centralized, with the remaining 75 percent occurring on the network edge. That means, edge computing is continuing to gain momentum in 2020 as enterprises continue to decentralize their networks. Core business applications can’t afford latency, so processing power must continue to shift to the edge and partners can help enterprises build these next-generation, agile networks.

SD-WAN To Pick Up Steam 

Next-gen networks today are already requiring SD-WAN and the market is only expected to grow. In fact, research firm IDC predicts that the SD-WAN infrastructure market will grow to $4.5 billion by 2022.

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For partners, this represents a large opportunity to upgrade their existing customer base, as well as engage new clients. The market today is being led by several incumbent tech heavyweights, such as Cisco (pictured), VMware, and Silver Peak, but there’s also been an influx of SD-WAN startups, like CloudGenix and Cato Networks.

Like any emerging tech market, there’s been consolidation over the past few years that is expected to continue as the space matures. VMware in 2017 acquired VeloCloud, while Cisco in the same year acquired Viptela.

Get Ready For 5G

5G is going to create a boom in the volume of high-speed traffic that happens at the edge of the network in 2020. As a result, businesses will be forced to increase capacity at the core of the network to handle the influx, which will be an important — and early — 5G opportunity for solution providers.

While still new and only in very select areas of certain cities, carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all racing to be first to offer a nationwide 5G network. The first 5G-capable devices are on the market as of this year, with broader adoption expected for 2020. While early 5G use cases highlight the benefits for consumers, businesses will be able to take advantage of next-generation wireless technology starting next year, too.

Wireless-First  

Wired connections for years were the primary — and only realistic connectivity option — for businesses for years, but improvements in wireless technology has made it so that newer wireless technology, such as Wi-Fi 6 which offers 4 times the throughput of previous iterations of Wi-Fi technology, is making wireless a viable primary offering for many enterprises and business locations.

Technologies like Wi-Fi 6 will work together with 5G to create a seamless, and blazing-fast, experience across a variety of work environments, including offices and outdoor locations. Technologies like Wi-Fi are also capable of handling more devices at the same time compared to previous wireless technologies, which will be critical for connected devices and IoT use cases.

All Eyes On Analytics 

If there’s one thing that IoT has shown the enterprise it’s that there’s a wealth of valuable data being collected, but if it’s not used to help a business gather insights and better cater to their clients, then it’s a pointless exercise.

Tech vendors across the board have been at work building in analytics capabilities to their offerings. Wireless solutions from the likes of market leaders such as Cisco and Aruba Networks have been bolstered with analytics tools that can help enterprises gain increased visibility into their environments and predict behaviors, for example.

Solution providers who can offer services around big data analytics will be able to provide a sought-after value-add for clients heading into 2020.

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