The Carrier Guide To 2022: Traffic, Tech & Unsung Heroes

By Mattias Fridström
January 20, 202

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. In Chinese culture, tigers are considered brave, competitive, unpredictable and confident. They are very charming and liked by others, but sometimes they can be irritable and overindulgent. In many ways, I can’t help but think this is a good metaphor for most telecom companies in our industry in general. Most of the time, you enjoy working with most players in the telecom ecosystem, but from time to time, you just cannot stand your supplier as you do not understand why things happen the way they do.

Our world was turned upside down in 2020 and continued to be un-normal throughout 2021 with an added “chipmageddon” to complicate the picture further. The growth continued from a traffic perspective, and many challenges will persist into 2022. Addressing these, we’ll need to relentlessly pursue our mission to ensure reliable, fast and secure connectivity across the globe. And in keeping with our traditional ‘Top 3’ predictions for the year ahead, here are a few thoughts about 2022.

The Top 3 Global Carrier Industry Trends

  • Security is increasingly imortant. With the massive increase of traffic during the pandemic came a flood of attacks on various parts of the network. Hackers seem to find new ways of attacking their targets, and our industry needs to be at its very best to keep up with protecting networks from these anomalies. While security awareness has increased, 2022 will be the year when every service provider or operator will have to have a plan for protecting their network.  From DDoS protection to firewalls and everything in between.
  • Public Internet and raw bandwidth can take you a long way. The circa 70,000 active AS networks that currently form the Internet has proven to be a great underlay for most network services needed by the industry. The great scale of a few solid global Internet backbones combined with regional and local networks form a great platform to grow services. With this in mind, paired with the increasingly skilled workforce in many Enterprises, means the services they buy should be less and less sophisticated. Less managed solutions and increasingly more “raw” bandwidth between data centers is the best way forward for many Enterprise customers.
  • The future is open and disaggregated. If we believe the current component shortage will ease during 2022, we are in for a great year changing the way networks are built. While the traditional long-haul optical business is still slowly changing towards more disaggregation, the addition of 400G ZR optics has changed the playing field. Fully standardized pluggable components bring a wealth of opportunities to mix and match between different suppliers and still keep the operational side under control. In 2022 we will see most Operators and Service Providers dip their toes into this new world of building networks.

The Top 3 Areas for Sustainability in the Carrier business

  • The network itself. For years it seemed like the only way for a Carrier to become more sustainable on the network side was to beg your colocation provider to buy more “green” energy. The data center industry has come a long way in their green thinking, focusing on renewable energy sources, smart cooling, and even heat recovery to reduce CO2 Still, the rest of how we build and operate networks is far behind. In 2022 there will be more focus on CO2 calculations, circular economy discussions and why we still “dig” networks as we did 30 years ago.
  • Your workforce. Parts of our industry have traditionally been very male dominant with an aging workforce as a result. With the industry more focused on software, it is a perfect time to use the advantage of a workforce diverse in both gender, age and nationality. In 2022 many more companies will realize that a diverse workforce adds better decision making and becomes a much better place to work within. Initiatives like “Women in Tech” and “Fiber splicing summer schools,” among others, will be increasingly important.
  • The way you conduct your business. With the world becoming more connected and open comes further responsibilities for telco operators. With the public Internet being a trust-based network, every AS network needs to focus on its role. Anti-bribery, freedom of speech, limited corruption are just a few examples of areas that will play an even more important role during 2022. Companies that do not have trust from their customers or peers will disappear faster than ever before.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 122 of the SubTel Forum Magazine on page 20 or on our archive site here.