New Technologies, New Challenges, New Solutions Await Enterprises in 2024

The rapid evolution of technology available to enterprises will take many different forms--and require some different strategies to fully leverage these capabilities.

Successful enterprises are those that never stop adapting to the changing terrain of business. Like the veteran team captain who reads the field, identifying opportunities and weighing risks, enterprises that flourish are those who take the initiative. In sport as well as business, staying rooted and passive can get you run over while you wait for the best path forward to present itself. 2024 may well prove to be the year that will quickly sort out the hall-of-famers from the benchwarmers as a number of important enterprise technology developments take the field.

There are three big things landing this year, and each comes with its own risks, benefits and solutions. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it includes technologies that will impact most enterprises in some way in 2024—and may already be in the mix for some.

  • Wi-Fi 7 is finally here, and with it, the massive boost in capacity afforded by the 6 GHz bands it uses. While Wi-Fi 6E has opened the door on this spectrum, Wi-Fi 7 flings it wide with several enhancements that make it an even more valuable part of the enterprise network strategy. While Wi-Fi 7 is packed with features, most significantly its improvements to capacity, latency and reliability.

Wi-Fi 7 adds multi-link operation (MLO) that enables access points (APs) to simultaneously drive multiple bands and channels at the same time, so the 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz streams are all available concurrently, from the same AP, which sends capacity skyrocketing and drives latency way down. Even more, MLO delivers a more reliable connection between an endpoint and the Wi-Fi® AP. Thus, 2024 is going to be the year when enterprises will take a deeper look at their use cases and realize that what was once thought untenable via Wi-Fi has finally become possible.

Moreover, the 6.0 GHz band is also shared by unlicensed cellular network applications. This opens the door to some exciting applications in converged networking, as you’ll see next.

  • Multi-access converged networks in the enterprise can flatten multiple wireless technologies—not only Wi-Fi and private cellular networks, as mentioned above, but also low-power IoT networks such as Zigbee™ and Bluetooth® LE as well.

For enterprises looking for the most agility in how people and devices are connected, 2024 will bring important advances in how multiple networks and protocols can be driven in parallel, optimizing the connectivity mix to suit specific enterprise needs with purpose-built networks.

  • IT/OT convergence and IoT within the enterprise are also about to enjoy a renaissance in 2024, for a few reasons. First, economic conditions are forcing enterprises to seek more efficient ways to operate than ever before. Second, important new advances in IoT device connectivity—specifically, the Matter™ and Thread protocols, which are making waves in smart homes and setting their sights on the enterprise market in 2024—are making zero-touch IoT device connectivity and interoperability a reality and removing an enormous obstacle to broader IoT adoption. Connected devices can unlock critical efficiencies for enterprises and enable them to reallocate resources from IT and OT to more profitable, growth-oriented priorities.

That’s the good news for enterprises in 2024. These technologies are going to set the stage for evolution for the next decade or two, and they’re all hitting the mainstream at about the same time. Of course, this kind of growth comes with growing pains, and they too fall into three main challenges that span these technologies.

  • Network complexity is a predictable challenge that comes with these opportunities. With the addition of new network layers and additional integrations between them, the structure of the network becomes necessarily more complicated and unwieldy. As use cases for 4G/5G private networks grow alongside Wi-Fi, managing the complexities that emerge from the two technologies as they share space is a top priority.
  • Both CapEx and OpEx are significant factors for enterprises seeking to leverage these technologies. Wi-Fi 7 requires LAN infrastructure upgrades, and fully leveraging IT/OT convergence and IoT opportunities requires specific equipment and expertise. Under current economic conditions, this kind of investment in equipment and staffing is not an option for all enterprises.
  • Hard-to-find subject matter experts (SMEs) can be a limiting factor, particularly where it concerns 6 GHz and Wi-Fi 7, private cellular and IoT deployments. As a new-to-market technology, Wi-Fi 7 does not yet have an established third-party ecosystem of support and deep expertise. Even for those enterprises able to afford this specialized staffing, they may not be able to secure it—at any price. Wi-Fi 7 is the central pillar support all these 2024 trends, so this challenge is perhaps the most significant and pervasive of all.

Each of these interrelated challenges is a steep hill to climb, but not an unscalable one. Even as these challenges start being felt, enterprises have innovative solutions close at hand. Those that take advantage will be best positioned to leverage the benefits of new network technologies in the years ahead—and to minimize the potential downsides. Here are three key resources available to enterprises that are eager to embrace these advances with confidence.

  • Increasingly affordable AI management of complexity is central to the efficient optimization, monitoring and management of complicated converged networks. AI has seized a lot of headlines lately, but an under-reported aspect of the rush into AI is the dramatic decline in the training costs of purpose-built AI models that’s happening concurrently with its meteoric rise in computational power and efficiency. Consider these illustrations of AI power and development costs over time.


Illustrations of the computation power available to train AI systems (data provided by OpenAI) and the corresponding costs over time (data provided by ARK Invest)

AI-powered network management has become powerful enough to keep converged enterprise networks operating smoothly, with less IT involvement and a leaner budget—and the upfront costs in training a purpose-built GPT-3 AI model is forecasted by ARK Invest to plummet to .0065% of the investment required just a few years ago. AI can help ensure SLA compliance even as enterprises build more converged, flexible and powerful networks, removing much of the risk from adoption.

  • IoT efficiencies can support IT/OT convergence and reduce costs. The latest Matter and Thread protocols specifications expand the number of supported device types in smart home settings. This year, we can look forward to Matter and Thread making greater inroads into enterprise and industrial environments. These protocols sweep away the challenges of fragmented and uneven security measures in IoT devices, opening the floodgates for any number of connected devices, sensors, security and productivity applications. These range from networked thermostats and lighting that can reduce OpEx through more efficient management, to connected door locks and security cameras that improve plant security and increase personal safety for employees. IoT deployments can even improve an enterprise’s sustainability profile due to its ability to reduce energy use—again, with the help of affordable AI management—and provide other efficiencies throughout the enterprise, from transportation to warehousing to manufacturing.

These benefits were only available before in a fragmented and unreliable ecosystem of heterogenous vendor security hardware and software. Matter- and Thread-certified devices will finally remove the challenges and risks that had stalled greater IoT adoption.

  • Network as a service (NaaS) can lift the CapEx burden for enterprises building smarter, more converged networks. NaaS is a cloud-based service model that delivers turnkey network functionality on a subscription basis. Rather than invest in the new infrastructure that may be required to deploy Wi-Fi 7 and all the converged networks services that run with it, the enterprise can delegate the cost to a third-party NaaS vendor and amortize the cost over time as a matter of OpEx rather than CapEx. NaaS can ensure that the enterprise network is—and remains—on the cutting edge of technology, without taking on the obligation to design, install, optimize, monitor or manage that network. NaaS models enable agile scalability and responsive allocation of bandwidth across the network.

Lastly, for those enterprises limited by IT resources and time more so than the money required to design, build, manage, and support converged networks, there are vendors who offer a complete set of “managed services” to choose from to meet their network needs.

One thing all three of these solutions have in common is that they are focused on relieving the enterprise of the complexity associated with the most advanced converged networks. AI delivers the most sought-after benefit—that of network assurance that goes beyond mundane monitoring and enables a lean IT team to tackle higher-value projects instead. Likewise, the well-defined connectivity framework provided by the Matter and Thread protocols built to support interoperability, security and simplicity, plays a pivotal role in accelerating the proliferation of IoT applications in many industry verticals. Lastly, the NaaS model can reduce the entire experience to a simple, turnkey relationship between enterprise and network.

The key developments taking place in 2024 will resonate far beyond this coming year. The arrival of so many exciting technologies to the mainstream could well set the tempo for decades to come. For those enterprises willing to embrace them—with the smartest combination of AI, IoT and NaaS support—2024 will indeed be the start of something very, very big.


© 2024 CommScope, Inc.  All rights reserved.  CommScope and the CommScope logo are registered trademarks of CommScope and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.  For additional trademark information see Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 are trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance.  Zigbee and Matter are trademarks of the Connectivity Standards Alliance.  Bluetooth is a trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.  All product names, trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners. 


This article was first published in RCR Wireless.