Spirent circle logo
5G

Assuring Connectivity is More Important than Ever in a COVID-driven World

By:

Blog Cater oct2020 Image1 ssRef356173930

Secure, dependable and predictable connectivity plays an increasingly vital role in our lives – one of the reasons why 2020 was seen as such a big year for 5G. But 2020 has also been the year of COVID-19, so has the assessment changed that this could be 5G’s biggest year yet?

As we move into the autumn, its worth pausing for a moment to take a look at how the connectivity landscape has changed.

Whether it’s for business or at home, we all take secure, dependable and predictable connectivity for granted, and the dawn of the 5G era seemed to be offering up a host of exciting new possibilities for the future, with 2020 earmarked as the biggest year yet for the next generation of cellular communications.

Indeed, at the start of this year, the team here at Spirent released the inaugural What to expect in 2020 report which predicted as much. From our extensive work with operators, network equipment manufacturers and device makers around the globe, the Spirent team saw an industry planning to accelerate 5G timetables as strategies shifted in search of true market differentiation and a quicker path to revenue growth.

Of course, that was before COVID-19 gripped the planet. But even as the pandemic continues to impact populations and stymie economies around the world, changing lives in so many ways, the assessment that 2020 could be 5G’s biggest year yet has changed little.

As I noted in an article for The Times’ Connected Business report in May - three months into the pandemic, when national lockdowns were at their height – far from slowing down, Spirent was seeing 5G investments and rollouts continuing, with some actually being accelerated. This was confirmed when the 5G report was updated in the summer, concluding that while uncertainty propagated by COVID-19 reigned, bright spots remained in 5G’s unfolding story.

But when Coronavirus hit, connectivity needs changed almost overnight, and our industry had to respond rapidly to meet those changed needs as demand spiked. With the pandemic now seemingly entering its second wave, many believe that rather than spikes, this level of demand could from hereon in be the norm.

Quotes

When Coronavirus hit, connectivity needs changed almost overnight, and our industry had to respond rapidly to meet those changed needs as demand spiked.

The dramatic shift to remote working redirected workload from purpose-built corporate networks in conventional centers of business, to more widely dispersed consumer-grade infrastructure networks. Since then, the stress on those networks has been further compounded by work-from-home requirements having to coexist alongside virtual schooling-from-home and increased online entertainment demands, as families have found themselves restricted to barracks, all relying on the same internet connection.

While we at Spirent have helped organizations worldwide keep up with these spikes in connectivity demand – not to mention the increase in the threat landscape – it’s becoming clear that rather than spikes, this level of demand could actually be the new normal. The workplace, along with the connectivity needed to service it, may have changed forever.

Which is why the acceleration towards 5G and the adoption of complementary technologies like Wi-Fi 6 are so important.

As the current “live trial” of remote connectivity continues, the necessity forced on us by the pandemic is being viewed alongside the realization by businesses that many jobs can, in fact, be performed productively from somewhere outside of the traditional office space or other central business location.

Thus COVID-19 is driving businesses and governments to appreciate that increased demand for faster, more powerful connectivity, alongside the ever-increasing need for greater security, is key.

Remote workers and their employers more than ever, need uninterrupted, high-speed connections, while also seeking more capabilities including greater access to apps and data, better video conferencing, improved collaboration tools, and faster, reliable computing. This is leading to the “Enterprisation of the Home”.

Regardless of this greatly expanded demand and its impact on network infrastructure and capacity, the expectation of the user base is that the connection “just works” — and works well.

Quotes

Regardless of this greatly expanded demand and its impact on network infrastructure and capacity, the expectation of the user base is that the connection “just works” — and works well.

The opportunity, then, is to assure customers of unrelenting reliability, along with the ability to introduce new, innovative services quickly and efficiently to meet the changing demand.

The role Spirent plays, with our Lab-as-a-Service and Test-as-a-Service solutions, is shifting vital onsite support responsibilities within masses of physical locations and centralising them in the cloud. As COVID-19 has demanded social distancing and remote collaboration, the ability to test and provision new services remotely has become vital to our customers. So as they expedite their 5G rollout plans, they rely on us to help them move forward quickly and safely, as we work with them to develop and get their products to market faster, with the confidence that it is safe to move quickly.

Much in the way that working from home has proved that large numbers of employees working remotely can be effective, the shift to remote lab and testing capabilities shows that industry can effectively be managed from anywhere in the world. This is helping to shrink turnaround times from weeks to hours and drastically compress development cycles, enabling vendors to be more competitive by bringing their new offerings to market faster, at a higher level of quality and at a lower level of cost in a secure environment.

So as 5G is rolled out, it will bring even greater speed of connectivity, but also the capacity to change our lives even more. It has the potential to unlock the realization of smart cities, autonomous cars, virtual and augmented reality, and greater safety, health and security. So while COVID-19 and its human and economic fallout are certainly having an impact, the acceleration towards 5G during 2020 continues.

Have a question for spirent ?
Get in touch with an expert
Tags: 5G, Assurance, Automation, Cloud & Virtualization, Cybersecurity, Enterprise, Mobile Networks, Wi-Fi
James Cater
James Cater

Vice President, EMEA Sales

James Cater is Spirent’s Vice President of EMEA Sales, with responsibly for driving the company’s sales and services organization in Europe, Middle East & Africa. James has 30 years’ experience across IT, communication services and software industries, with a track record of executing quantifiable results that bring rapid growth, significant efficiency, improved profitability and customer loyalty. Before joining Spirent, James held leadership positions at Zscaler, Arbor Networks (Netscout), Tata Communications, Hitachi Data Systems and EMC. A leader with global experience, James has a track record of working with major brands to transform sales organizations, grow business and build lasting client relationships. He is also known for his work as an angel investor, coach, mentor and advisor.