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How Network Providers are Supporting Their Customers: Part 4

Managing the Edge

Thank you for continuing to read our four part series on how network providers are supporting their customers in 2022. But if you’re just coming to this series with this post, the first, second, and third posts in the series are worth a read as well.

In this post, we’ll be talking about the edge.

Anyone in the world of IT knows that digital transformation, analytics, AI-powered customer experiences, and autonomous vehicles need more and more edge capacity to function correctly because of physical limitations around bandwidth and latency. IT experts also know that there’s an endless amount of edge innovation going on in order to make compelling experiences happen more quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.

What’s not so obvious is that fiber network providers have a huge part to play in edge. After all, without connectivity, the edge doesn’t function and fiber is the connection that brings massive bandwidth and minimal latency to the edge.

As we’ve already established in earlier posts, network providers will be expanding their connections, making the networks more self-managing, and giving customers more programmatic, streamlined and simplified access, all of which support innovation at the edge. But providers will also be innovating at the edge with distinctive capabilities, some of which might include:

SD-WAN and SASE: bringing the full potential of SD-WAN out to the edge is an important foundation for distributed IT 4.0, leading to improvements in performance, resilience, and cost. As network providers continue to enhance their SD-WAN capabilities, extending to the edge, they should concentrate on security as well. Providers who are developing and delivering SASE-style innovations in their networks will have an advantage over those who don’t.

Private Wireless: as anyone who has been in a large retail store knows, edge connectivity begins with endpoint devices. Often in retail establishments, those devices just don’t function well due to the buildings essentially blocking connectivity. Don’t be surprised if you see network providers working to build private wireless capacity on-premises in stores and warehouses. Fixing the endpoint wireless connectivity problem is a key aspect of providing next-generation, augmented customer and employee experiences in real-time and gathering analytics. We’re already seeing large retailers working with network providers to fix the last 100-meter connectivity problem.

Edge stations: all too often, devices at the edge are capturing so much data it can’t be transferred to edge nodes or core data centers over wireless networks. There’s an emerging push to bring fiber closer and closer to the edge so that endpoint devices, whether drones, autonomous vehicles, or something else, have an alternative connection that can carry the massive amounts of data they’re creating.

To wrap up, innovation at the edge is something that will happen in 2022, and network providers are thrilled to be a part of it. As you can see from our recent investment in SD-WAN and edge managed services, Zayo is doing its part at the edge, and we’re committed to delivering the capabilities customers need as quickly as we can.

We hope this series has been informative, giving you an idea of where the market is headed. We’ll continue in future series to deliver insights and perspectives that will help you make informed decisions, uncover opportunities, and make your business better.

To learn more about how Zayo is building a resilient network primed for future technologies and transformations, read our eBook.