Self-organizing networks and centralized radio access networks expected will have significant impact on network operator's preferences of test equipment.
The data networks we use today are undergoing drastic increases in data traffic, primarily from smart devices and machine-to-machine communications. But, network operators are reluctant to simply build out more infrastructures because of the cost. Instead, they are relying on self-organizing networks and centralized radio access networks to handle the increased load. That increase will bring about opportunities for new test equipment.
According to Cisco Systems, the global mobile data traffic grew by 69% over the last year to 2.5 exabytes of data traffic a month. As Figure 1 shows, the company predicts that by the end of 2019, this number could reach 24.3 exabytes.
Figure 1. Comparison of data generated in 2014 and 2019.
Source: Cisco Systems
Advanced LTE technologies and eventually 5G will enhance the heterogeneous nature of the network that operators will have to monitor. In 2014, 4G network connection represented 6% of all network connections, yet generated over 40% of network traffic. By 2019, the number of connections will increase to 29% of the entire network deployment, accepting responsibility for over 68% of the traffic generated.
Network operators can't afford to scale up their infrastructure for dedicated deployments because that would narrow profit margins. They must keep expenditures associated with procuring installations and operations at bay by adopting systems and technologies that will enhance bandwidth. The traditional silo-based network management methodology will become obsolete. This change will cause network operators to need smarter equipment that will test and monitor network infrastructure more effectively. The adoption of these network technologies will have a profound impact on test-equipment choices. In addition, certain intangible attributes such as brand equity and customer service will also affect choices.
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