Hyperscaler Protocols and Edge Clouds to Drive Operator Thinking in 2022

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Crippling cyberattacks, blinding encryption and new opportunities at the edge are among the top trends

Enea, a leading specialist in cloud-native telecommunications products, surveyed a cross-section of thought leaders and mobile industry experts to identify key trends for the next 12 months. For 2022, these thought leaders included ABI Research, Analysys Mason and Strategy Analytics. Trends in 2022 include:

State-sponsored cyberattacks are accelerating and evolving: 2022 will undoubtedly bring an increase in the number and sophistication of nation-state cyberattacks against mobile telecommunications infrastructure. As tensions between global power brokers escalate in hotspots such as Taiwan, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the value of mobile networks as a target for espionage and disruption will skyrocket. In addition, IT/OT/telco convergence and the expanded attack surface of 5G, including 2G, 3G, and 4G weaknesses, will all provide fertile ground for achieving geopolitical objectives via cyber warfare.

Hyperscaler protocols dictate terms to operators: Complex encryption protocols, such as Google’s UDP-based QUIC, were intended to provide subscriber security and improve web and video performance. And they did. But they left carriers scrambling to maintain the traffic visibility they need to stay in the game. Expect more trouble to come as UDP dominates traffic and new encryption protocols like eSNI and DoH/DoT become the norm.

Video streaming moves to new edge clouds: According to analysts, the edge cloud market for mobile operators is expected to witness significant growth in 2022. Ultra-low latency applications such as multi-angle live sports streaming and cloud gaming will be at the forefront of this growth. While Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have brought content and users closer together for many years, the nature of the edge cloud tips the balance in favor of mobile operators, who have ready-to-go locations in thousands of cities.

Support the environment AND the bottom line: Driven by the disruptive impact of climate change, consumer pressure and the need to cut costs, “greenwashing” is over. Eco-friendly strategies are all the rage, but operators need to go beyond the simple cost savings of virtualization. For example, subscriber data management systems with flexible capacity expansion and intelligent synchronization between servers can reduce total cost of ownership by up to 50%. Additionally, RAN congestion management can increase cell site capacity by 15%, reducing hardware footprint.

Wi-Fi makes the link with 5G: As mobile operators roll out 5G, they are grappling with building penetration that is up to 100 times worse than 3G/4G. This undermines their ability to displace the residential broadband market and support indoor enterprise IoT use cases. With Wi-Fi 6 tripling the available spectrum of earlier Wi-Fi specifications, 2022 will see operators building their own Wi-Fi 6 capacity in public places combining Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.

Jan Häglund, CEO of Enea, said: “For mobile operators, 2022 will usher in both opportunities and threats that will have a profound impact on their bottom line. In the past, network providers had to fight invasive hyperscalers, now a plethora of attack vectors make security in particular a critical consideration. We hope that the trends highlighted in this year’s report report provide a roadmap for mobile operators to navigate our post-pandemic world.

About Enea

Enea is one of the world’s leading providers of innovative software for telecommunications and cybersecurity. Focus areas are cloud-native and 5G-ready products for data management, mobile video traffic optimization, edge virtualization, and traffic intelligence. More than 3 billion people trust Enea technologies in their daily lives. Enea is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. For more information: www.enea.com

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