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July 16th, 2020

The Need for Speed at the Edge

By George Hervey, Principal Architect, Marvell

Marvell Driving Network Intelligence and Processing to the Edge

In the previous TIPS to Living on the Edge, we looked at the trend of driving network intelligence to the edge. With the capacity enabled by the latest wireless networks, like 5G, the infrastructure will enable the development of innovative applications. These applications often employ a high-frequency activity model, for example video or sensors, where the activities are often initiated by the devices themselves generating massive amounts of data moving across the network infrastructure. Cisco’s VNI Forecast Highlights predicts that global business mobile data traffic will grow six-fold from 2017 to 2022, or at an annual growth rate of 42 percent1, requiring a performance upgrade of the network.

Wireless Offload

How do networks with dense wireless connections address the overwhelming bandwidth and connection challenges? One answer is wireless offload. Whether a big box retail store with 1,000 customers or a 60,000-seat stadium or a convention center with 200,000 attendees, the amount of data to be delivered is enormous. The cost to carry the data over wireless has hit a critical inflection point in capacity, driving the need for offload to a wired network. This trend of wireless offload requires higher and higher performance at the network edge enabling users to experience high-performance connectivity and low latency response times they’ve grown to expect.

New Performance Paradigm

Deployment of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 are enabled by advanced wireless access technologies including the use of MIMO and higher frequency spectrum. The capacity being delivered will quickly be consumed by the growing number of devices and new applications. In fact, higher bandwidth at the access layer was a major force behind the definition of Multi-Gig Ethernet. This new performance paradigm will have an impact on all layers of the network, motivating an increase in uplink port speeds to handle the added access bandwidth. Additionally, stacking link capacity will increase to facilitate efficient port deployments and help handle the growth in attached clients.

Network capacity increases enable the adoption of higher bandwidth services, support for emerging real-time applications and an expansion of concurrent active devices on networks. Ironically, the resulting trends and future innovations will continue to drive the need for increased network performance.

Performance is the second part in a series of TIPS that will discuss essential technologies for the growing borderless campus as mobility and cloud applications proliferate and drive networking functions. Telemetry challenges and insights will inspire our next TIPS to Living on the Network Edge.

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1Cisco VNI Complete Forecast Highlights

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