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  1. Technology Trends for 2020

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    2019 was a whirlwind year in the technology industry. Many trends from the year will continue to be a factor in 2020 and beyond. The demand for process automation will keep rising for the foreseeable future as web-based products become more widely used by businesses. Cybersecurity continues to be a top priority for businesses across the globe and artificial intelligence will drive demand for cloud-based services. Conversely, autonomous vehicles had been gaining steady traction, but slightly stalled in 2019 amid concerns regarding adequate safety and testing.

    No matter what 2020 brings, DQE is prepared with solutions to keep your business at the forefront. Here are the major trends we’re anticipating:

    5G

    As of November 2019, dozens of U.S. metropolitan areas had 5G, and major carriers promised more will come in the near future.

    The system will enhance device and network capabilities, offering a high rate of data, more capacity, better connections and more device connectivity. The demand for fiber optics will increase as the 5G network continues to expand because of its capacity capabilities and ability to connect carriers to fixed wireless access networks.

    Telecom Mergers

    The Sprint/T-Mobile merger grabbed headlines this year as the Department of Justice approved the $26 billion deal. Look for mergers and acquisitions on a smaller scale to be a large part of growth strategies for local and regional businesses in 2020. More telecom mergers were expected in 2019 than 2018. The current data center infrastructure is already heavily in use, and the continuing trend will mean more demand for data center infrastructure, including fiber optic cable.

    Data Center Growth

    With the rising demand of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT), the global data center market has experienced growing demand. The global data center market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of more than 4% by 2024. Fiber is an integral tool in any data center, meaning the demands on the fiber market will also remain high.

    Cybersecurity

    IoT opens a world of possibilities for users, but it also a potential portal for cyberattacks. IoT attacks were up 600% in 2017, and more than 8,800 breaches were recorded between January 1, 2005, and April 2018, with small businesses of fewer than 1,000 employees being the most vulnerable.

    The need to protect financial data and private customer information is at an all-time high. Distributed Denial of Service mitigation services will grow as businesses of all sizes look to put processes in place to prevent or minimize breaches.

    Artificial Intelligence

    As artificial intelligence (AI) and information technology (IT) needs of various industries increase in use, the infrastructure that supports those technologies will need to keep pace.

    The medical industry is turning to web-based technology to communicate with patients and even conduct surgeries in some cases, however the general IT infrastructure of hospitals is often outdated.

    Technology is playing a larger role in the education system with students attending class through virtual classrooms and teachers communicating with parents through apps and other web-based forums.

    Conclusion

    To keep up with demand, industries across the globe will need to strengthen their cloud solutions and overall network capabilities to give the end user the fast, seamless and secure services necessary to remain relevant in today’s digital marketplace. DQE’s expansive fiber-based services provide scalable, safe solutions for businesses across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. The network is built to grow with the industry and will be ready to meet increased bandwidth needs that will come with these trends in 2020 and beyond.

  2. Going Wireless with 5G Means Going Deeper into Wholesale Wireline Fiber Solutions

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    Wholesale network operators are a mainstay of the American telecommunications landscape, serving a host of other carriers and service providers, including mobile operators. The idea, then, of last mile networks and wholesale mobile backhaul is nothing new. What is new, however, is the surging volume of consumer and enterprise data that is being facilitated by new cellular technologies like 5G. In effect, 5G will completely reshape the telecommunications landscape, putting pressure on existing network infrastructure and providing new business opportunities for wholesale operators. In this blog, we examine how this will happen and the role fiber-based network services can play in helping the wholesale community adjust.

    The Effect of 5G on Legacy Networks

    As you are likely already aware, 5G promises significant upgrades in terms of data speeds, bandwidth and low latency connections. Compared to current wireless standards like 4G, 5G is arguably a necessity for bringing the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) into its golden era. As the telecommunications industry begins to witness the roll out of preliminary 5G networks, it is worth understanding that the shift to ubiquitous, worldwide 5G coverage is really a two-step process.

    The first step in the transition to 5G is achieving what is known as non-standalone coverage. This is basically a response to the realization that, although 4G networks have come a long way being supported by fiber-based backhaul, 5G will require a never-before-seen level of densification of existing networks. This is, of course, due to the higher frequencies that 5G networks use. Compared to the lower frequencies of 4G and its predecessors, these higher ones travel much shorter distances. As a result, in order to avoid signal dissipation and poor service quality, carriers and other operators will have to place cell-sites and antennas much closer together.

    Whether we are talking about macro sites, small cells or remote relays, one thing is clear here – the future of 5G depends on fiber-based network solutions. While backhaul immediately comes to mind, the opportunities for wholesale carriers are quite diverse and extensive. After all, every part of the network that connects to the 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) will need up be upgraded to support the surge in traffic that will result from greater 5G rollouts in the coming years.

    The Role of Wholesale Fiber Optic Network Solutions in Enabling 5G

    As RCR Wireless recently wrote about a Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) convention here in the Eastern US, “5G was all the rage, but…talk of fiber optics was noticeably lacking.” This trend needs to shift because, although RAN and core are important, “none of that works without the fiber.” The bottom line is that 5G architectures will not only require densification but will also demand a greater selection of fiber-based assets to support a variety of use cases including fronthaul, backhaul, network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN).

    Fiber is critical in enabling 5G and not just for capacity reasons. In order to meet the availability and coverage goals of 5G deployments, operators working with everything from Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to Fiber-to-the-X (FTTx) will need to transform their access networks. As Light Reading has implied, 5G is more than just a technology. It is a shift to a whole new way of deploying network infrastructures.

    Wholesale carriers thus face a clear opportunity. Instead of concentrating just on traditional backhaul between a remote tower and a centralized headend, now wholesale operators can offer fronthaul to a multitude of small-cell sites. These include installations like light posts, for example. Also, as existing carriers and cable companies turn to decentralized software-controlled distributed access architectures (DAA), the wholesale community can also benefit from offering Ethernet services and SDN capabilities. This can help solve capital expenditure issues for carriers and service providers who might find investing in dark fiber uneconomical. From fronthaul to backhaul and transport, the role of fiber in supporting 5G is critical.

    In short, wholesale operators and fiber providers like DQE Communications are going to be critical pillars of support for 5G in the US. As Ciena notes, “it’s rather ironic that the projected performance goals of 5G wireless will depend on the availability of wireline fiber.” Here at DQE, whether you’re looking for backhaul, CRAN or small cell solutions, we know what it takes to build a reliable network to grow with the demands of the wireless industry.

    Contact us to learn more about our available services, including Metro Ethernet, Wavelength Services, Dark Fiber and SD-WAN.