The challenge faced by enterprises in achieving success in the realm of private 5G and Wi-Fi lies in the imperative need for a unified approach to management. This necessity arises from the proliferation of disparate systems and management dashboards. The complexity is particularly pronounced on the network forefront, where a myriad of technologies, including wired, Wi-Fi and private 4G/5G networks, are essential for seamlessly interconnecting an organization. A comprehensive survey, involving 402 North American enterprises, underscored the magnitude of this challenge. Remarkably, over 85% of respondents acknowledged having distinct deployments or future plans for each of these critical technologies.
Unified Management Challenges
Enterprises find themselves grappling with the daunting task of managing an intricate network landscape characterized by numerous systems and dashboards. The complexity is further compounded as they endeavor to oversee the coexistence of wired, Wi-Fi and private 4G/5G networks. This multifaceted challenge underscores the evident need for unified management solutions to navigate the intricacies of contemporary network environments.
5G vs. Wi-Fi: The Need for Both
In the ongoing discourse regarding the supremacy of cellular services over Wi-Fi, the survey revealed a crucial revelation—that customers desire both technologies. While Wi-Fi offers ubiquitous connectivity for user devices, cellular 4G/5G proves advantageous in scenarios requiring broad coverage, mobility or minimal latency. The industry's acknowledgment of the dual reliance on both technologies emerges as a key finding, emphasizing the nuanced requirements of diverse use cases.
The Toll of Technological Complexity
As enterprises grapple with the multitude of technologies demanded by modern networks, the toll on network professionals becomes increasingly apparent. The intricate task of managing separate systems for wired, Wi-Fi and private 4G/5G networks adds a substantial layer of stress and complexity. The survey revealed that 70% of enterprises are contending with the challenge of running two or more management, security and QoS systems for each network type. This underscores the enormity of the issue. This statistic serves as a stark reminder of the strain placed on network management personnel, who must navigate the intricate web of technologies to ensure seamless operations.
The transition to a digital model across industries has been an ongoing process, gaining momentum in recent years; further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted a massive shift online for various activities. As organizations endeavor to adapt to this digital shift, they grapple with the intricate complexity of their technology, process, and data environments. Implementing change safely and effectively has become a formidable challenge, particularly in driving innovation at scale. Many organizations struggle with the challenge of dealing with outdated technology and its inherent complexity. This is especially true for those who dedicate a significant portion of their technology budget to the upkeep of existing systems, leaving them with limited resources for innovation. Addressing this complexity is a prolonged, multi-year process that necessitates setting standards, defining metrics and gradually measuring progress. Even modest gains at the outset can be impactful, emphasizing the importance of initiating the journey toward reducing complexity and fostering innovation within organizations.
Time and Budget Allocation
The toll of managing intricate networks extends beyond mere complexity, manifesting in tangible resource wastage. Network operations staff, crucial to an organization's efficiency, spend a considerable portion of their time—17%—dealing with the intricacies of separate access networks. Additionally, 19% of the budget allocated to network operations is directed towards managing these distinct systems. This inefficiency highlights the urgent need for streamlining network management processes to optimize both time and budget resources.
Unmet Enterprise Needs
Despite the clear need for simplification in network management, both enterprises and major system vendors have yet to internally address this pressing challenge. The urgency to streamline operations and refocus on core business activities is substantial. The discrepancy between the evident need and the current state of internal responses emphasizes the ongoing struggle for simplicity in the increasingly complex landscape of network management.
Converged Multi-Access Wireless Networks
The resounding consensus among enterprises is a call for a converged multi-access wireless network. This collective belief is expressed by nearly 9 in 10 enterprises, transcending various sectors: including public venues, manufacturing, and transportation. The universal appeal of a converged strategy for enhanced operational efficiency is underscored: emphasizing the shared vision among enterprises for a streamlined and unified approach to wireless network management.
In summary, the intricate challenges of managing diverse technologies in modern networks are stressing network professionals, with 70% of enterprises dealing with multiple systems for each network type. The urgent need for unified management solutions is evident as organizations navigate the complexities of the digital shift, exacerbated by the pandemic. Overcoming legacy technology complexities is a gradual process, emphasizing the importance of setting standards and metrics for sustained innovation. Enterprises must strategically streamline network management for enhanced efficiency and ongoing innovation.