Telecom Networks Trends 2021

Across the Public Networks, Telecom, Internet, and Data Centre segments, we see cabling infrastructure investments increasing. Above all, telecoms are investing in the expansion of fiberoptic high-speed broadband networks. And these trends will continue throughout 2021. Ongoing growth extends throughout the entire chain – from residential home networks to Colocation and Hyperscale Datacenters as well as wireless infrastructures.

The key driver remains the exploding need for bandwidth everywhere. End devices are exponentially increasing in number and generating more and more data, driven by developments like

  • 5G Communication
  • Smart City
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Industry 4.0
  • Edge computing

Generated data needs to be handled and managed in near real-time in different environments, from enterprise and residential sites to data centers. So, bandwidth is needed nearly everywhere inside and outside the cities.

As important as Power

Although bandwidth is a basic need – and should be considered a utility like electricity and water – there’s still not enough of it. There is a growing awareness that infrastructure needs to be right for the type of data transport that end users are demanding – or it will simply collapse. Even the most advanced end devices will be severely compromised if the network behind them is outdated.

The uptake of remote working, online collaboration, and online gaming, driven by Covid-19, is expected to last. It underlines just how vital bandwidth, uptime, and latency have become.

Fiber will remain the medium of choice. Making it possible to cater to the vast need for ultra-high bandwidth, stability, and stringent security criteria that technologies such as 5G need. As demand grows, technology has to keep up – and the clock is ticking across all markets.

Let’s take a closer look at developments across key segments.

5G requires dense FTTx

In 2021, growth in telecom will continue to be at a higher-than-average rate. 5G remains an essential drive. Bandwidth and latency performance can only be realized by bringing FTTx networks closer to the wireless connection point. It requires a dense optical backhaul network with antennas integrated into fiber networks and connected to edge facilities.

Densification of FTTx networks and a growing number of small cell connections is resulting in special demands. More compact solutions and large quantities of network components are required for outdoor use.

The rollout of 5G Wireless and the resulting expansion of radio cells is mainly taking place in conurbations. The main focus is on Macro Cells, Small Cells for urban and industrial applications and Pico Cells for indoor applications.

However, the vast increase in working from home means that bandwidth demand has grown faster than usual. Also, in rural areas where uptake of fiber and future mobile services such as 5G has grown. 5G development will also continue to attract alternative network operators.

However, there is also an increasing tendency to move towards the periphery. Throughout and beyond 2021, installation work will provide a boost to the market. For example, there will be a requirement for huge numbers of (camouflaged) antennas, powered over PoE across relatively short distances. Besides private internet traffic, these will be used in numerous other (industrial) applications.

Further drivers include the need for

  • low latency communication, for example, self-driving cars or healthcare applications
  • machine communication
  • smart cities
  • extended mobile communication (Video UHD, Augmented Reality, smart home, high-speed internet)

All of them require fiber, power, and data management.

The needs of urban areas

According to the UN, 68% of the global population of 9.8 billion will live in urban areas by 2050. Making Smart City applications – and therefore the quality and reliability of networks – more important than ever.

Infrastructures for smart cities require a highly flexible, future-ready approach to architecture and data traffic, with devices and systems connected by fiber extending deep into the network. This allows transport of very high data volumes with ultra-low latency, ensuring smart city applications run without interruption.

Strategies need to be aligned

We will continue to see 5G and FTTx infrastructure merging, where the FTTx access network is used for 5G deployment.

Around the world, there is a growing trend toward developing above-ground networks (Aerial Deployment). In FTTH, Aerial Deployment will expand and Plug and Play. Pre-terminated Rollout solutions are being developed in specific markets (LATAM, META, APAC).

In Germany, and possibly other DACH countries, there is a marked interest in pre-assembled POP stations.

5G is more than an evolution of 4G/LTE to 5G. It requires fixed and mobile networks to converge and densify. The fixed and mobile 5G strategy needs to be aligned. physical assets can be shared.

Learn more about R&M’s FTTx solutions.