Private 5G Enabled Networks: Why Accelerated Adoption is the ‘New Normal’

by Wayne Eng Market Strategy Head - Telecom & Datacom

The adoption of private networks and full end to end connectivity capabilities are not new strategies for today’s enterprise, but they are strategies that are gathering speed. A survey from IBM suggests that six out of ten enterprises are accelerating their digital transformation plans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic1

The disruptive impact of COVID-19 has increased and accelerated the demand for high performance ultra-reliable connectivity and security across entire business networks. Where organizations have the option of connecting to a public or private network, private 5G enabled networks are expected to become a serious first option especially with the added benefit and ability for enterprise level network customization and service level optimization priorities. 

In my view, the acceleration of digital transformation and the expanded capability fueled by the deployment of 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) is also helping to accelerate the adoption of private networks. 

Private 5G Enabled Networks: Raising the Bar

With digital transformation, both enterprises and government services entities must effectively manage their entire networks. This encompasses everything from factory floor monitoring and automation, sensors and alarms, to remote worker access, coupled with the ability to gain an overview of the whole network and accurately evaluate the data available. 

Private 5G enabled networks have significant potential to become a disruptive technology by displacing and/or expanding current enterprise Wi-Fi networks by offering a number of advantages, from more consistent signal strength and ultra-high speeds to increased bandwidth with lower latency to remote mobile access. 5G technology also meets industrial needs for a predictable and reliable performance. 

 

Private 5G Enabled Networks also:

Enable businesses to implement customized mobile networks onsite, in locations as diverse as government systems, healthcare facilities, and education. 

Empower industry 4.0 ecosystems, such as smart factories, and critical infrastructure like transport hubs.

Offer cost efficiencies with more flexible communication infrastructure solutions. 

Verizon and Cisco recently collaborated to implement 5G in larger venues such as sports stadiums. By prioritizing bandwidth needs, real-time monitoring enables better network management for improved user experiences. Verizon has also announced the launch of its international private 5G platform for global enterprises located in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region2 .

Security as a central strategy

Safety is a central strategy for private networks. The IIoT enhances the need for security and assigned ‘’service level agreements’’ (SLA) for business-critical requirements. Alarms and sensors require a much higher network priority on the network that a software upgrade, for example. 

5G - and to some extent 4G - has enabled organizations to access networks remotely, provide high levels of security and assign priority of service. Private 5G enabled networks deliver on IIoT needs by offering end-to-end security and strict access control, through device authentication and protecting sensitive data with network isolation. 

The role of CBRS 

A notable development is the use of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in facilitating private 5G enabled networks. In January 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made part of the mid-band spectrum available for commercial use3  and has designated for sharing three tiers of users: Incumbent users, Priority Access License (PAL) users and General Authorized Access (GAA) users.  This is the first time a piece of spectrum has been made publicly available since 2003.  

CBRS band is available and requires potential users simply to request use from the spectrum management group and if the spectrum is free in the desired geographic location then the Spectrum Access System (SAS) managers will grant the request.  Simply put, any individual or company can effectively create their own single site private 5G network. 

Beyond 2020

While COVID-19 has accelerated the need for digital transformation, adding 5G capability is the key driver behind the move to private networks. Private wireless networks empower organizations to achieve their goal of digital transformation at a more rapid pace. Deloitte anticipates that most businesses will ultimately incorporate a combination of 5G and Wi-Fi and/or LTE, but the arrival of 5G delivers a more effective option with improved network technology. 

Deloitte predicted that more 100 companies worldwide would begin testing private 5G deployments by the end of 2020 . With dynamic and new technologies emerging every day, the accelerated adoption of 5G private enabled networks is ideally poised to become the ‘new normal’ for today’s best-in-class enterprise. 

About the author

Wayne Eng currently serves as Henkel’s Global Head of Market Strategy for Datacom & Telecom within the company’s Adhesive Technology business unit, where he is focused on setting the marketing and product line strategy and executing business sector growth.  A member of the Henkel team since 2018, Wayne has impressive professional experience with a successful career track record of providing reliable and innovative solutions for customers in multiple markets including Data & Telecom, Mobile Devices, Consumer Electronics and Computing.  Based in Henkel’s Irvine, CA facility, Eng holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Stony Brook University.

Source:

1  https://www.ibm.com/thought-leadership/institute-business-value/report/covid-19-future-business 

2  https://datacentrenews.eu/story/verizon-launches-international-private-5g-platform

3  https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/01/27/1975667/0/en/FCC-Authorizes-Full-Commercial-Deployment-of-OnGo-Service-in-3-5-GHz-CBRS-Band-Unleashing-Billions-in-Value-with-New-Wireless-Services.html

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