Enterprise Networking Planet Predictions for 2020

With 2020 now ramping up there’s a lot to look forward to in the networking space in the new year. Some of the trends have been going on for years, some are newer, but these are the areas where we expect to see big things in 2020.


Beyond a shadow of a doubt, 2020 will be the year that 5G becomes real for many people. The infrastructure for the next generation of cellular communications has been talked about for years, but now it’s finally here.

WiFi 6

Alongside the next generation of cellular is the next generation of WiFi, once known as 802.11ax, but now branded as WiFi 6. 2020 will be the year of broad deployment by access point vendors as well as inclusion in client devices.

400 GbE

With the increased demands of 5G and to a lesser extent WiFi6, there will inevitably be more strain on the backhaul networks. That’s where 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) will make a big entry in 2020. The standards have been in place for over a year and this year the actual hardware and optics will enter the market in volume.


Over the last few years, no topic has dominated networking conversations as much as SD-WAN. That’s a trend that will continue into 2020

Open Source

Simply put, all major networking efforts in 2020 will have some form of open source component. Whether its via code, participation in an Linux Foundation collaboration project or otherwise, the reach of open source is inescapable.

Intent-based networking

Cisco first began pushing its intent-based networking strategy in 2018 and it’s a playbook taht is likely to continue for a more years. Where Cisco leads others tend to follow, so expect to see more intent-based networking news and products announced in 2020.

Service Mesh

Service mesh is an area that became popular in 2019, especially with the Istio Service Mesh, as a way to enable better control and scalability for cloud native deployments using Kubernetes. In 2020, service mesh will move from the pure hype cycle to more real world deployments.

Edge computing

A decade ago momentum was all about centralization in the cloud. In the next decade we’ll see more disaggregation, thanks in no small part to 5G, which enable massive bandwidth away from a central core.


Yeah, we know. We’ve been predicting more IPv6 adoption, for a long time. But with the continue growth of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, edge and 5G – the need for IPv6 in 2020 will be greater than ever before.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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