Three Internet Trends that Warrant Global Service Provider Attention (and Action)

Today, consumers and business users depend on global IP networks more than ever. While it can be easy to take connectivity for granted when networks are working well, it can be a minor inconvenience or a major hardship when networks fail or provide sub-optimal experiences. Global service providers are constantly monitoring, managing, and innovating their fixed and mobile infrastructures to meet subscriber demands. As part of our annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast, we have focused on analyzing Internet traffic and digital trends for more than a decade. Here are three networking and Internet trends that should be on a “watch list” for most service providers.

Implications: The Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon, in which people, processes, data, and things connect to the Internet and each other, is showing tangible growth. Globally, M2M connections will grow 2.4-fold, from 5.8 billion in 2016 to 13.7 billion by 2021. There will be 1.75 M2M connections for each member of the global population by 2021.

Recommended Action: The transition from an IPv4 environment to an IPv6 environment is essential for IoT deployments. Service Providers need to have an IPv6 strategy enable new device capabilities, and activate IPv6-compatible content. The IPv6 addressing scheme also offers enhanced security features (compared to IPv4), which is also critical for IoT data integrity and success.

Implications: The rapid growth of mobile data traffic has been widely recognized and reported. The trend toward mobility carries over into the realm of fixed networks as well, in that an increasing portion of traffic will originate from portable or mobile devices.

Recommended Action: For mobile carriers (and other network operators as well), a migration plan to 5G is extremely important. From a Wi-Fi perspective, carriers need to be looking toward ratification of a new unlicensed spectrum standard — 802.11ax. These wireless access innovations are inherently designed to support advanced IoT connectivity as well as personal communication devices.

Implications: As hard as service providers work to maintain and innovate their infrastructures, there are cyber criminals working just as hard to infiltrate private networks and compromise personal or proprietary data. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that are 1.2 Gpbs or greater can inflict enough damage to take most organizations completely offline.

Recommended Action: A comprehensive security strategy is key for long-term sustainability and profitability. Various levels of protection (hardware and software) are required to prevent network breaches and to protect private records and data.

VNI Forecast Resources


Thomas Barnett, Jr.

Director, SP Thought Leadership

Worldwide Service Provider Marketing Group