Top Stories: 7 Grand Obsessions of 2017

Craig Matsumoto
12/30/2017
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Looking over our most-viewed stories of the year, a few common themes came up. Some had to do with particular companies or technologies; others chained together to tell a year-long story by themselves.

Rather than list the stories that got the most page views, let's group the most popular stories into the subjects that most strongly caught your attention -- and ours, here on the Light Reading staff -- in 2017. We'll call them "obsessions."

That doesn't mean this list includes all of our obsessions going into 2018. We'll be stretching our coverage in a few new directions -- and for a hint, you can glance at the navigation bar at the top of this page. You know, the little rectangles that link to Light Reading's main topics. We've shuffled the deck to put important topics in more visible locations (see "Automation") and we've given new prominence to topics we expect to cover more strongly next year (see "AI").

For now, though: Combining analytics, scratch-paper calculations and good old-fashioned arbitrary whims, here are the topics you (and we) were glued to in the past year.

7. Low-power WAN

There's a healthy rivalry going on at the ground level of the Internet of Things (IoT). By "ground level," I mean, figuratively, the low-power wide-area (LPWA) alternatives out at the devices themselves, making the IoT network go. Our coverage this year included some questions about NB-IoT and, in November, an Iain Morris scoop about Sigfox, which had been eyeing a 2018 IPO.

6. Edge computing

Edge computing was a distant radar blip at the start of 2017, but now the industry won't shut up about it, and you can bet it's going to factor heavily at Mobile World Congress in February. It's no longer all about the cloud; it's about the edge -- how to distribute computing to enable IoT (think connected cars) and smart cities.

5. Smart cities

Speaking of smart cities... Mari Silbey has been pounding the beat learning about what US cities are doing to smarten themselves up. Here are her features on the plans in New York, Austin and Philadelphia -- and a bonus story that introduced me to the term "smart furniture."

4. The Verizon TV drama

Readers were glued to the drama behind Verizon's over-the-top video efforts. Beta tests for the new version of FiOS TV launched in June, only to end up "on life support" months later, according to a source.

The backdrop to all this was the continued stickiness of TV services. They remain enticing to carriers, because cord-cutting hasn't caught up to the cable operators, or even to the broadband TV entrants like Verizon, as Mari wrote in one of this year's most widely read opinion pieces:

3. 5G starts getting real

This item is less about the introduction of the 5G New Radio specification and more about a tussle between vendors. 5G is indeed about to become real, prompting Ericsson to create a marketing campaign around the phrase "5G ready" -- followed by accusations that rivals aren't 5G-ready. Get the popcorn.

While we're at it, I'll throw in some links to Dan Jones's work on fixed 5G, where the radio frequencies under consideration could run into barriers -- literal ones, such as windows and trees.

...And for good measure, let's throw in this one as well:

2. Automation and NFV

As we outlined this summer, the grand obsession among telcos is the quest to automate the network.

NFV, 5G, edge computing -- none of them will get far unless service providers can craft ways to automate network operations and the provisioning of functions. Some hard questions still need solving here, especially in NFV management and orchestration.

Automation is certainly at the top of Light Reading's obsession list. But for you readers, it's different. Your minds are clearly on an eight-letter word...

1. Ericsson

It's been a tumultuous year for the Swedish giant. Then again, it's a tumultuous time for equipment vendors in general -- just look at Cisco's eight consecutive quarters of year-on-year revenue declines. We're singling out Ericsson partly because it's in the throes of a particularly difficult transition, but also because each story gets so much reader attention -- some of which, admittedly, is coming from Ericsson's own 100,000-plus employees.

In forward chronological order, here are the milestones that really caught readers' attention.

— Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/1/2018 | 8:35:16 PM
5G Will Beget 6G
It could be years, though 4G came in much faster than 3G, and 5G seemingly will come in yet faster, but once it's a reality, everyone will be looking for the next best thing. Ever more data communications will want people to have the speed of light.
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