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  1. Wholesale Fiber: Fostering Faster Communications with Fiber Optic Networks

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    Telecom providers worldwide have a responsibility to connect people through providing a conduit to exchange information and they’re expected to utilize the latest technologies to meet that goal.

    It’s no secret that the use of cellphones and other devices is increasing. Paired with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), demand for more data at faster speeds is steadily growing. In 2019, there were 41.3 billion internet users worldwide. In 2018, the average daily time spent with the internet per capita was 161 minutes, with experts predicting a rise to 192 minutes per day by 2021.

    DQE recently published a data sheet demonstrating the role fiber-based network services can play in helping carriers, including mobile operators, adjust to the growing demands of new data transmission systems, including IoT and 5G.

    The future of next gen network architectures like 5G depends on fiber-based network solutions. Wireline fiber is critical for 5G wireless to meet projected performance metrics. Mobile operators are already familiar with traditional fiber-based backhaul between a remote tower and a centralized headend. However, as they holistically revamp entire network structures to support the growing needs of their subscribers, they will require fiber in a myriad of alternate configurations. Example use cases include:

    • Mobile Fronthaul
    • Mobile Backhaul
    • Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)
    • Software-defined networking (SDN)

    Optical fiber network solutions are the fastest and most reliable, and its benefits go well beyond the world of mobile operators. The medical, data storage, video on-demand service fields and more can all benefit from the lower latency, increased bandwidth, network density, better signal strength and reliability that come with fiber-based solutions.

    Are you ready to strengthen your offerings with fiber optic connectivity? DQE offers carriers, service providers and others a variety of customizable, fiber-based wholesale network solutions that meet their requirements for fast, reliable bandwidth. Our solutions will ultimately help you provide a stronger experience for your customers, which is key when it comes to helping people connect. Solutions include:

    To learn more about the role a fiber optic network can play for you, download our data sheet, or contact us.

  2. 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.

  3. Technology trends for 2019

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    Staying on top of technology trends is important to DQE, to make sure we offer the best products and services to our customers, preparing for 2019 and beyond in this dynamic industry. Here are some of the things we’re watching right now.

    Autonomous vehicles

    While the widespread launch of fully autonomous cars is not expected for the foreseeable future, more and more autonomous technology is being offered in today’s cars – notably, traffic jam features that can take over acceleration, braking, and even steering when you’re driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

    More advanced autonomous driving technologies continue to be developed and tested by dozens of companies. For example, European brands are cooperating on a truck “platooning” concept in which multiple trucks are connected through wireless signals, so that fewer people are required to drive them. In addition, autonomous vehicles are required to consistently update their software, which must be done via wi-fi, and need reliable internet service.

    Process automation

    There is an increased emphasis on business and industrial process automation, which will require an increase in bandwidth as companies upgrade their systems.

    Business process automation helps businesses automate complex business processes by integrating applications and software, particularly in areas like marketing, sales, and workflow. The goal is to reduce manual tasks such as data processing, transferring, and notifications, saving time and money.

    Industrial process automation goes beyond mechanization to use robots, computers, and other information technology to automate processes, thus reducing staffing requirements and increasing quality and productivity. It’s the next step beyond mechanization, and while initial costs are high, the returns are great.

    AI and robotics

    Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the world of robotics, making robots easier to train with less human involvement. Increasingly sophisticated robots are being equipped with 3D vision and the AI necessary to interpret what they see.

    As robotic technology evolves, cloud robotics will develop rapidly, because robots will increasingly require huge datasets in order to accurately process images and speech. Cloud robotics will allow robots to share information in a connected environment.

    AI and robotics are data-heavy technologies, which will help drive the need for fiber and increased bandwidth.

    5G

    5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, and will eventually replace the current 4G (LTE) system. The system will greatly enhance device- and network-level capabilities, providing for a high rate of data, more capacity, better connections, and significantly more device connectivity.

    The improved capacity of the system will enable a drastic increase in the use of IoT technology, with an estimated 75.4 billion devices online by 2025. This should drive innovations in the use of the collected data.

    This is yet another technology trend driving an increased need for fiber optics. Further, the coming 5G network is being implemented more quickly than many experts had predicted – so fiber is now the preferred option for telcoms, and is being deployed at a faster rate than ever.

    Security and the need for protection

    Digital security continues to be a pressing issue, due to frequent , well-publicized data breaches of sensitive information such as credit card records, medical records, and other personal data. The need for cybersecurity will only continue to increase as the digital revolution continues, and more and more information is online.

    At the same time, DDoS attacks are still a constant threat to a wide variety of entities, ranging from private industries to critical infrastructure.

    For all these reasons – as well as regulatory changes, like the European Union’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – worldwide spending on information security products and services continues to dramatically increase.

    Conclusion

    As these technology trends evolve, count on DQE to provide scalable, secure and reliable fiber-based services for your bandwidth needs.

  4. The 5G Revolution

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    What is 5G?

    5G is a major buzzword in the telecommunications industry right now. It’s important to understand this upcoming enhancement because it will change our whole online experience. What exactly is 5G and what impact will it have on technology? By definition, 5G stands for the 5th Generation of wireless technology and it is the successor to what we currently use on our smart devices – 4G or LTE. There will be a plethora of benefits for your smart devices such as: extremely fast speeds, the ability to move more data, lower latency, more responsiveness, and the ability to connect multiple devices at once. The connection speeds will be exponentially faster in comparison to 4G and LTE. It will supposedly have a download speed of an impressive 1 to 10 Gbps compared to a mere 100 Mbps with LTE. That’s fast, and with 5G this will become the standard for the industry around the world.

    What will 5G do?

    While these benefits will enhance our personal device usage, the impact on technology and telecommunications will be transformative. One of these benefits is the ability to perform remote surgery. Low latency of 5G paired with the fact that there will be almost no lag at all will allow surgeons to perform in other rooms through the use of Virtual Reality and a robotic arm. This will enable surgeons, or people of any profession, to use their skills in real time from anywhere in the world. The IoT (Internet of Things) as a whole will benefit, particularly self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles. Several companies are working on the emerging technology of self-driving cars now, but many people believe they won’t be successful until the implementation of 5G. Instant responses, unlimited coverage, and 5G sensors built around cities will allow for the cars to seamlessly communicate with one another and maneuver urban traffic safely and efficiently. This same concept is also true for drones. Drones are currently being used, but not nearly to their full potential. Through 5G, drones will now be able to share information with one another and send real time data to users, thus unlocking an unlimited amount of different uses.

    When will 5G be available?

    So, when can we expect this exciting change to be implemented? The larger wireless providers will be unveiling the service throughout this year. Multiple companies ran test trials in several different cities in 2017 and plan to launch mobile 5G in a dozen cities across the country by the end of 2018. One company has tested 5G in almost 50 cities already and are promising to have full, nationwide 5G coverage available by 2020. Another important thing to note is the fact that to use 5G, you must have a 5G compatible phone that can handle the huge amounts of data and the instantaneous speeds. Over 18 global device makers have pledged to have their 5G compatible phones on the market by early 2019. However, there are still some finishing touches that need to be done before 5G can become a normal, readily available service. For now, all we can do is prepare ourselves and wait!

  5. IoT and its impact on bandwidth

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    Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the way that more and more physical devices are collecting and exchanging data over the internet. When this data is aggregated and analyzed, IoT represents a tremendous opportunity for improvements in accuracy and efficiency. Currently, IoT is doing a better job collecting data than using it — but its potential is limitless. IoT will have an increasing impact on bandwidth needs it grows.

    IoT includes an incredible array of devices already

    Consumer uses include connected cars, entertainment applications such as gaming, smart TVs and media players, wearable technologies such as FitBits, and a growing assortment of smart home devices. Commercial IoT includes devices used in corporate settings to improve marketing and study consumer habits, control inventory, healthcare and more, while industrial IoT covers manufacturing and utility use. IoT can even assist with the management of critical infrastructure such as bridges, railway tracks, and wind farms by monitoring usage and structural factors.

    IoT is growing

    Experts predict that anywhere from 25 to 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. In 2015, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that a family of four had an average of 10 connected devices, which will increase to 50 by 2022 – and that’s consumer usage alone, without considering the exponential growth of IoT in commercial and industrial settings.

    Current challenges with IoT

    Several challenges exist in the evolution of IoT that threaten to limit its potential, such as security, compatibility, and standards – as well as privacy issues related to how gathered data is used.

    One much-publicized issue with IoT is that many devices are easy for hackers to co-opt into distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that disable key online services. In a DDoS attack, “botnets” send high volumes of traffic to a specific network. The resulting overload can shut down the network, blocking people from accessing email, websites, online banking and so on. It is crucial that developers of IoT consider and address security issues to help prevent DDoS attacks before consumers lose trust in IoT. It is also important that companies protect their businesses from these DDoS attacks and add a DDoS Mitigation service to their arsenal.

    Implications of IoT for bandwidth

    Many IoT devices operate wirelessly, while others are connected. Most IoT devices use very little bandwidth, but the sheer volume of devices going online means more bandwidth will be needed. As IoT grows, it will be necessary to make sure your network can accommodate these changes.

    The amount of data that IoT devices collect and transmit will increase as the technology continues to develop, which will in turn contribute to the need for increased bandwidth. (For example, when smartphones became capable of transmitting images and streaming video, the need for bandwidth jumped significantly.)

    Consumers expect that bandwidth will always be available at the fastest speeds possible, even as IoT increases demand. Companies like DQE that focus on bandwidth and scalable solutions will be critical as need explodes. Reliability is similarly important, and DQE’s self-healing fiber-optic network offers superior redundancy to automatically detect and redirect in the event of a fiber cut or other interruption.

    Count on DQE to continue to provide scalable, reliable bandwidth solutions for your business as your bandwidth needs grow.

  6. The Rise of E-Commerce

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    The rise of e-commerce has had powerful ripple effects throughout our increasingly digital society. Let’s take a quick look at the growth of e-commerce, and what it means for your business.

    Current e-commerce statistics are eye-popping. According to Big Commerce, almost all Americans (95%) shop online at least once yearly– but 80% of us do so every single month. What’s more, 51% would rather shop online than in person. We’re shopping on the go more and more, too. In 2015, only 40% of all online purchases were made via a mobile phone, a share that will increase to 70% this year.

    Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are suffering as a result – several famous chains have closed in the relatively recent past, and many more have downsized dramatically. This has had a profound effect on real estate market as well, as you might imagine. In 2010, there were 35 million visits to malls, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman and Wakefield. By 2013, there were just 17 million visits. Obviously, it’s significantly more expensive to maintain a physical store than a virtual one — and further, people often shop at physical stores, and then order the item online wherever they can get the best deal.

    Some stores, like Macy’s, J.C. Penney’s (which both recently shuttered multiple locations), Kohl’s, Target, and even Walmart saw double-digit percentage growth in online sales last Christmas. But it remains to be seen whether these retail giants can keep pace with e-commerce giants.

    A side beneficiary of all this e-commerce activity is shipping companies, including the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx. Amazon is exploring ways to circumvent these companies with drone delivery service, which is capable of delivering packages weighing five pounds or less to a customer in 30 minutes or faster. However, regulatory changes would have to occur for large-scale drone delivery to be feasible — currently, drones must remain in sight of the operator, and there are privacy issues related to flying drones over private property. But the prospect is tantalizing, and it will be fascinating to see if drone delivery becomes commonplace.

    Further innovations in the world of e-commerce could be related to the Internet of Things, and autonomous agents and things. Connected IoT objects could provide information that then enables businesses to give you personalized offers, while autonomous, self-driving cars deliver the parcels! But warehouse robots are already automating order fulfillment in e-commerce warehouses, increasing efficiency considerably.

    E-commerce is growing 23% per year, so it’s somewhat surprising that 46% of American businesses still don’t have an e-commerce website. If your business is planning to get into e-commerce, there are many different platforms, depending on your needs – everything from internet bazaars like eBay and Etsy designed for individuals to sell a few items, all the way up to enterprise solutions.

    If you sell items in a physical store and want to sell a few of them online, Amazon can list your products even if you don’t have your own e-commerce site. But if you’re ready to invest in your own e-commerce site, a variety of different platforms are available, depending on the size and scale of what you have in mind. Shopify, Big Cartel, 3D Cart, and Woo Commerce are a few of the most common for small to mid-size businesses. Enterprise-level solutions include Intershop, IBM Websphere, and Oracle’s ATG.

    In addition to delivering a superior user experience, an online store must be carefully marketed, integrated with Amazon and Google Shop, and the SEO must be effective. It’s a major challenge to get the word out about a new store – for most, e-commerce is not an “if you build it, they will come” proposition.

    Many factors influence where a customer will choose to shop online. But the three top influencers are price (87%), shipping cost and speed (80%) and discount offers (71%). To be successful, e-commerce sites must feature intuitive navigation, good photography, and ease of checkout with multiple payment options.

    Further, e-commerce sites require significantly more bandwidth than content-only sites. DQE can help by providing scalable bandwidth that keeps your site operating cleanly and quickly, which has a direct impact on sales – site slowness is a top reason shoppers say they would abandon a purchase.

    Reliability is critical. If your site is down, you’re missing potential new customers and turning off returning customers – they will shop somewhere else instead, and won’t return. Count on DQE for scalable, reliable bandwidth solutions to support your growing e-commerce business needs.