5G Network Deployment Transforming the Global Communications Test and Measurement Industry
Demand from hyperscale data centers, connected vehicles, and IIoT applications propels growth opportunities for higher-speed Ethernet testing solutions
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The COVID-19 pandemic caught most of the world off guard, forcing governments to impose lockdowns. Wireless communications, therefore, became the lifeline of enterprises whose employees were forced to work from home (WFH). Although the pandemic could be seen as a viable opportunity for operators and service providers to capitalize upon demand, that was not the case. The network operator and service provider community was instead challenged by an inability to adequately scale their infrastructure to accommodate the surge in traffic on their networks. This affected the quality of service and experience for subscribers. The fact that larger enterprises now have a WFH workforce means that data has become more vulnerable to malware such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) and ransomware attacks. Service providers and enterprises require solutions that ensure high quality of service and experience while securing the integrity of proprietary data from theft.
While network operators remain on course to deploy a full-fledged 5G network, the WFH phenomenon has caused many people to migrate to tier II and III towns and cities, which are less dense than the mega cities they lived in previously. This shift has mitigated the urgency in deployment of small cell clusters that have high throughput but very low coverage. Network operators have instead used radio frequency (RF) planning solutions with active network testing to efficiently deploy 5G networks.
Although COVID-19 has slowed down 5G networks to a certain degree, at the same time, significant congestion has bombarded LTE broadband networks. Simultaneously, there has been major development in connected vehicles and Industrial Internet of Things ( IIoT) technologies, which will require testing solutions that are predominantly used in the communications industry. While a lot of work remains in the development of 5G, work on 6G has just started. This has pushed demand for equipment that can test terahertz (THz) wave technologies, particularly for research and development (R&D). However, a considerable work remains in standardizing the new 6G network. Demand for the type of testing solution required would therefore be restricted to those that test the physical layer.
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