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Network infrastructure in 2019 stagnated, expert says

Several areas across the network infrastructure space stagnated in 2019 compared with the overall IT industry, according to network infrastructure provider Heficed.

Vincentas Grinius, CEO of Heficed, says the sector of network infrastructure has been quite vibrant and moving due to many changes, however, there is still some room for improvement, in particular areas which may be regarded as far from being disruptive.

Grinius says there were several network infrastructure industry trends in 2019. Amost the most prominent in 2019 include:

Industry disruptors improved the internet

"It would be difficult to name a single or even a few influencers of various improvements regarding the technical side of the internet. 2019 was exceptional because of the collaboration of many different companies working within the Internet ecosystem while contributing with their own ideas and innovations," says Grinius.

"We could see that a number of technologies were developed within the network ecosystem. The main ones would be IoT (Internet of Things), 5G, AI (Artificial Intelligence), Serverless computing and open computing. All these technologies are disruptive and developing further. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how they are going to evolve next year and beyond," he explains.

More alarms raised about IPv4 depletion

Grinius says IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is the newest version of the IP (Internet Protocol).

"Some experts of network infrastructure claim that the internet as a whole should switch to IPv6; however, others disagree and claim that the resources of the current IPv4 are still unused and the internet is not ready to move on from there," he says.

Grinius says this situation is multi-faceted.

"The fact is that right now we have 25% of Internet accessibility over IPv6, which means that since 1999 we made very small progress in adopting it. However, high prices of IPv4 will push the adoption forward and we might see faster adoption to keep cost efficiency. In the upcoming years, IPv4 will remain the dominant protocol," he says.

Some parts of internet infrastructure are still stuck in the past

Despite the advancements in internet infrastructure, Grinius says there is still a way to go for the infrastructure to be truly up-to-date and geared towards the future.

"It is great to see such ideas as the IP lease splitting into two markets, residential IPs and IPs for verticals like ISP/Telcos, hosting industry becoming true. However, what can be noticed is that IPv4 demand is growing and more management will be required to control it," says Grinius.

"Therefore, it should be good to become laser-focused on both network and IP to be more appealing to large companies which still use Excel spreadsheets to track their IP assets."

Large ISPs focused on hyperscalers only

"Overall, the decrease in internet pricing could be noticeable, suggesting that providing these services became more affordable. However, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) generally targeted hyperscalers (large companies seeking to dominate the public cloud and cloud services), which caused issues on broader network infrastructure developments," says Grinius.

"This happens because of many competitors, lack of unique market proposition combined with the IP address shortage, which also means higher IP address pricing."

Grinius says 2019 was a year of changes and challenges for network infrastructure.

"As the large part of ongoing development is looking promising, 2020 may bring further advancements, especially if new technologies and solutions will be integrated and adopted on a wider scale."