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Top three connectivity and networking trends in 2024
Wed, 20th Dec 2023

2023 saw significant shifts in the macroeconomic and geopolitical landscape globally, impacting how enterprises and their business models operate in Australia. The year was also a time when generative artificial intelligence (AI) dominated the agendas of boardrooms and climbed up the priority lists for technology investments. In the area of connectivity and networking, the industry is continuing to blaze new trails in innovation, performance and management - so what’s in store for 2024? 
CommScope leadership in Asia Pacific shares their top three connectivity and networking trends to keep an eye out for in 2024. 
Wi-Fi 7
Sanjiv Verma, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Ruckus Networks at CommScope

With exceptional digital experiences, the norm across key industries such as education, hospitality, and healthcare, enabling wider adoption of new network standards and unlocking all available spectrum, including the newest 6 GHz band, will help elevate the speed, capacity and performance of connected experiences in 2024. 

Wi-Fi 7, an upgrade from Wi-Fi 6, is four times faster and can deliver on applications such as uninterrupted streaming and cloud gaming, and enables real-time social engagement during high traffic like concerts or trade shows with its better capacity and reduced latency. In classrooms, the benefits of Wi-Fi 7 emerged from a seamlessly supported learning environment, with greater capacity to connect more users and classrooms to stream videos, collaborate on shared documents or assignments, and support reliable virtual classes including exams; and in hospitality, this translates to an elevated guest experience, especially for those who use hotel’s Wi-Fi for video conferencing. 

Wi-Fi is poised to play an even more critical role as new technologies continue to emerge. It is well-suited to most connectivity needs, as it’s an economical and efficient way to connect users, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and other infrastructure; while cellular networks offer superior mobility over large distances and high speeds. As a result, we anticipate a convergence of both cellular and Wi-Fi networks, creating a unified platform that seamlessly shifts between technologies driving innovation, augmenting connectivity, and delivering superior user experiences.

Cloud and AI to Fuel Data Centre Boom 
Matias Peluffo, VP, Building & Data Center Connectivity, Asia Pacific at CommScope

The explosive growth of cloud computing and AI will continue to fuel the data centre boom in 2024 and beyond, with operators and vendors emphasising agility, sustainability, and low latency performance. Data centre bandwidth requirements are already exceeding 400Gbps to support the ever-growing demands of AI and high-performance computing (HPC), and the time is now to future-proof the network for terabit speeds. Additionally, the increasing workloads and power demands will put additional pressure on power, carbon and water usage effectiveness, with renewed focus on PUE, CUE and WUE metrics to measure and manage data centre sustainability.
To achieve their key performance and sustainability objectives, operators should make sure that their facilities, and in particular their network infrastructure, remain flexible and scalable to meet future operational demands. A well-designed high-performance fibre infrastructure can help deliver improved power efficiency and increased flexibility to help next-gen data centres in future-proofing for terabit speeds while improving sustainability performance.
While many may never appreciate the broader social and commercial impact data centres have, it’s worth remembering how fast, robust data storage and processing can improve lives. For instance, cloud-based services such as streaming entertainment and information content to home and mobile devices, employees connecting with each other and working efficiently remotely or in the office, reliable access to financial markets, and innovations powered by AI are all dependent on highly efficient data centers as digital hubs of the overall network.
Enterprises looking to maximise network investments in 2024 will have to evaluate and integrate what will be the most flexible, optimal portfolio spanning on-prem, collocated and Edge Data centres as well as wired, Wi-Fi, 4G/5G, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to suit their evolving needs.

New Roadmaps For 5G Deployments
Femi Oshega, VP Sales, Service Providers, MEA & APAC at CommScope

While industry reports estimate that by 2024, 85.91% of the Australian population will have mobile internet access and that 35% of Australian mobile subscribers will be on 5G by 2025, 4G networks still continue to be the predominant choice for mobile broadband users despite the substantial investments in developing 5G. 

As we move into 2024, there will be a renewed focus on surfacing new use cases for 5G networks and more operators using AI and ML to optimise operations and drive revenue. The ability to make deployments easier and coverage wider will also be a key consideration for them as we see decline in operator spending globally, and in the number of investments. Easier deployments will help to drive down the cost of networking in general, while broader coverage will enable new use cases such as remote operations across vast isolated sites like in oil drilling, mining, and other heavy industries.

The path to 5G will remain challenging as telco businesses think about monetizing their existing networks while coping with existing challenges, such as ESG efforts and bridging the digital divide.