Chief Technology Officer at BAI Communications.
Cell phones have changed our lives. At the beginning of this year, there were 6.2 billion smartphone connections worldwide. Widespread 4G and emerging public cellular 5G networks offer unmatched services in the form of scale and reliability to keep consumers and businesses on the go.
But as connectivity increases, organizations are facing new key business requirements, such as service and device monitoring, big data and edge computing, which demand exceptional performance, reliability, security and Internet of Things (IoT) support. In other words, we are experiencing the automation and optimization of Industry 4.0. To this end, private networks are becoming increasingly important to organizations, as public cellular wireless networks are not enough to meet everyone’s demands – but private networks are enough.
The case for private networks
Whether you want to increase your coverage, capacity, reliability or security, private networks can support it. Developing such a network makes sense for organizations in sectors such as transportation, emergency and security services, factory automation, utilities, healthcare, and many others.
Private networks provide coverage everywhere from large indoor spaces to larger outdoor locations. Coverage can also be delivered exactly where it is needed.
These networks have the potential to provide more capacity at a reasonably low cost. For example, they provide services such as video streaming to a large number of devices simultaneously, independent of a public network. Imagine an entertainment space where the network supports a high density of users, including user-generated video and near-real-time virtual and interactive services.
A dedicated network ensures fast responses to varying network loads. This is key for some industry use cases, such as vehicle control and navigation. It is also important for factories—reducing downtime on production lines and ensuring reliable connectivity of a high number and density of sensors, machines and robots.
High reliability in extreme conditions
Business continuity is key for businesses. Private networks ensure that communications are always on (despite poor radio conditions) and give the organization full control of the network, especially when it comes to business-critical applications. Emergency and security services, for example, can maintain their operations independently of public networks.
Private networks protect the identities and locations of users, their devices, their data, and the overall network. Organizations can choose custom security measures and integration with other operating systems without risk. The healthcare industry, for example, can benefit from reliable connectivity of medical equipment in high-density indoor environments and secure transfer of analysis data.
Low consumption devices
A private network can increase battery life. This is especially important for IoT applications and reduced device costs and is becoming a reality in smart cities that connect a huge number of devices, users and applications.
Develop a private network for your company
Private, dedicated networks are intended for the exclusive use of an organization where all devices operating on the network are part of a closed network community. 4G/5G excels in these dense multi-cell environments and has evolved to be very secure. This technology also enables public/private/hybrid cloud deployment and works well with public mobile networks.
When it comes to IoT or Industry 4.0 deployments, mobile wireless networks are becoming the superior platform for automated supply chain applications, autonomous cars, ports, airports, mines and transportation hubs. These applications can be supported by private 4G/5G cellular networks, to the benefit of all verticals. 5G is the most logical choice for most organizations.
Wondering if such a network would benefit your organization? Start with the following:
• How much does your organization rely on public network coverage? Is your coverage adequate today or is it causing business problems in some locations?
• What kind of control do you need for your network and its activity? Does your organization need to track mission-critical vehicles or applications?
• Can you sacrifice bandwidth or response times for older or less accessible technology? How does this translate into supporting your customers and protecting your revenue?
• Look for the right vendor that can help you build a complex network in a demanding environment or location.
As 5G deployment continues and more enterprises capitalize on the next wave of mobile technology, private wireless networks are gaining ground as the preferred infrastructure to meet the increased demand for robust connectivity systems.
After all, GSMA Intelligence predicts it 25%-40% of SMBs and corporations could meet their connectivity needs through private mobile networks between 2023 and 2025. Shouldn’t you already be considering a private network for your organization?