As the digital landscape continues to grow more complex, communication service providers (CSPs) worldwide get a range of opportunities, challenges, and concerns as they expand their services and infrastructure. In this article, we’ll delve into the key issues affecting CSPs today, including their investment plans, cloud migration strategies, efforts to address the digital divide, and approaches to the IPv6 transition. We’ll also examine how CSPs are working to bolster their network security to support business growth.
According to a survey of communication service providers commissioned by A10 Networks, CSPs are planning to invest in network security to tackle cybersecurity challenges, and also expanding their network to reach unserved/underserved communities. However, the IPv6 transition has not progressed as quickly as hoped.
Scroll down to read the top findings from the CSP survey.
Market growth expectations are fueling investment in network security
CSPs are expecting a minimum of 25% robust growth in traffic volumes globally in the next 2-3 years, with almost half of the surveyed providers predicting a growth between 50% and 75%. The sustained traffic growth seen in recent years, coupled with the emergence of more sustained patterns after the pandemic-related surge, aligns with these predictions.
Government and regulatory reports as well as climate issues are also driving CSPs to invest in network security.
DDoS detection and monitoring, automation of security policies, ransomware and malware protection services, and threat intelligence capabilities are now high priorities for network security investment.
This suggests that network security strategy must be multi-faceted and manage a wide range of emerging threats to maintain high-quality services for customers.
CSPs are working to close the digital divide
Communication service providers are working to close the digital divide by expanding their networks to unserved/underserved communities. The survey revealed that 69% of respondents are investing in network expansion, with 50% anticipating a significant increase in subscribers of over 10% and 19% expecting an increase of over 50%.
Furthermore, 31% of respondents are building additional data centers and expanding to provide additional capacity to other service providers, particularly smaller providers who see opportunities in building a community-focused customer base.
Governments are incentivizing providers to deliver services in areas previously judged commercially unviable, further driving investment in network expansion.
Majority of enterprises report positive outcomes due to cloud migration
Enterprise migration to the cloud has become a strong trend, accelerated by the pandemic as organizations seek to support remote and hybrid work. Many enterprises are currently searching for the right mix of cloud services to support their future plans.
Of those that have already made the transition, 63% report a positive outcome. Additionally, 25% of enterprises have gained revenue because of customers distributing workloads among clouds, and 20% have evolved to offer public cloud and managed data center services. 19% of enterprises also say their services have increased relevance to customers.
However, 20% of customers still prefer on-premises solutions and are not moving to the cloud. Only 16% of enterprises report a loss of revenue due to customers moving to public cloud providers.
The cloud-native form factor is now a must-have for network equipment, and integration with existing operations support systems is a key feature.
IPv6 transition is an ongoing challenge
The transition to IPv6 is proving to be a continuing challenge for service providers worldwide. As providers add more previously unconnected subscribers and acquire IPv4 addresses, the scarcity of IPv4 addresses has made them a precious resource.
Providers need to plan for the transition to IPv6, but according to a survey, only 30% expect to achieve this in the next two to three years. Over one-third are managing their IPv4 address pools carefully and transitioning gradually to IPv6, while 34% are planning to run the two in parallel.
For those not yet making a full transition, strategies to manage IPv4 address shortages continue to drive up prices.
Challenges and opportunities for communication service providers
Communication service providers face a range of challenges as their networks evolve to new technologies and architectures. The most pressing concerns were the increased risk generated by exposed APIs, supply chain shortages, and maintaining quality service to avoid outages.
Despite these challenges, providers see significant opportunities to grow their businesses by delivering high-quality, reliable services, and expanding their hosting offerings or launching new services. Many also plan to build or improve a DDoS cloud scrubbing service. Additionally, 27% expect continued market globalization will allow them to enter new markets.
Overall, continued demand and growth for internet and network bandwidth is providing a positive outlook for the communication service provider community.
In conclusion, the communication service providers are facing a critical juncture as they strive to leverage the strong demand and capitalize on opportunities for growth and diversification. To unlock the full potential of the market, CSPs must focus on scaling their networks while ensuring robust protection to make their infrastructure secure and highly available. This is vital to manage the surge in subscribers, devices, and applications that are rapidly expanding across the industry.
Source: A10 Networks