Look into the future of enterprise networking in 2019 with Senior Analyst and Group Director Bob Laliberte.
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Bob: Hi. I'm Bob Laliberte, and I'm here to give you some of my network predictions for 2019. Now, over this last year, we witnessed a number of high-level IT and business initiatives that help drive the importance of networking, things like digital and IT transformation, the Internet of Things, distributed or edge computing, and of course cloud computing.
But I think some of the network technologies that are emerging, things like 5G, WiFi6, intent-based networking, disaggregated networking, and even some established technologies like SD-WAN, will continue to have an impact in 2019. Let's first talk about 5G. So I look at 2019 as really being the year where the rubber meets the road for this technology.
There's a lot of test sites being rolled out in the U.S. and globally, and what I'm expecting to see as new 5G-equipped devices hit the market, to see that real testing start in earnest. And that will really determine whether or not the technology lives up to the hype and determine which use cases are the most valuable for the enterprise.
WiFi6, or as the technical term refers to it as "80211.ax," comes to market and new devices come out with that technology, this is another area where organizations are going to start seeing an impact in 2019. Now, I think, first of all, the name will catch on more quickly than the technology as organizations have to go through technology refreshes. But certainly, being able to have much greater efficiency for high-density areas, I'm expecting to see WiFi6 take on an increased role in 2019.
Another quick area to look at, as long as we're talking about wireless technologies, is around the Citizen Band radio. So the CBRS has the potential to be a contender if all goes well early, and some of the initial implementations go as predicted. So that's something else to keep an eye on. Network automation is also going to be a significant player in 2019 as well.
It's really clear that the network, through all the transformations that are occurring, is becoming much more complex, it's becoming much larger. You've got things like container and microservices-based applications that are proliferating. Obviously, there's a huge shift to the cloud and IoT. So as the network grows and becomes larger and more complex, it's going to be really important that the organizations can drive automation and eliminate those manual CLI commands so that they can become more efficient and more responsive to the business.
I would strongly encourage organizations to leverage the vendor industry training programs to help get ahead of those transitions and enable them to be the agent of change for automated and programmable solutions. But ultimately, when I think about 2019, it's all about connectivity and experience.
And that is, "How do I ensure that I've got all of my users, my customers, my applications, my clouds, my machines, etc., connected to each other and to one another? And more importantly, now that I've got them all connected, how do I ensure that I'm delivering a positive experience for those users, machines, applications, etc.?" Because ultimately, when you think about what it is we're delivering, it's all about, "How do we make sure people, etc. are connected and that they're getting a great experience?"