Telecoms.com periodically invites third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Mark Noe, Senior Director, Business Development, NetNumber takes a look at the potential of Private LTE.
Enterprises worldwide are discovering how LTE technology opens the door to new wireless use cases that provide business transformation. They are also learning the advantages of replacing or augmenting their existing wireless solutions (WiFi) with cost-effective Private LTE network technology. Private LTE solutions can be deployed in defense, healthcare, government, utilities, mining, maritime, manufacturing and to provide rural broadband coverage for underserved populations.
LTE is no longer a technology just for mobile operators. LTE has evolved to a point where it has become simple and affordable for a much larger market to take advantage of, particularly the enterprise. And for good reason as LTE advantages include:
- Coverage: LTE technology delivers superior indoor and outdoor range compared to WiFi with improved interference characteristics that enable new wireless use cases not possible before
- Capacity: LTE can now easily accommodate a large number of wireless devices and high data rate applications such as video conferencing, HD voice, surveillance, and social media
- Seamless Mobility: LTE provides greater service continuity in highly mobile environments, such as with public safety and defense
- Ubiquitous User Devices: LTE enabled smartphones and tablets are widely available and already used/owned by the user base supporting a BYOD model
- Interoperability and Security: 3GPP standards are closely adhered to across vendors and includes some of the strongest security standards (encryption, key management)
5G will add capabilities to Private LTE that will only enhance and evolve the enterprise ability to embrace LTE across a wider set of use cases. Here are a few examples:
Network Slicing: enterprises understand the need for network slicing to separate business functions/organizations on network boundaries. This has been happening in the enterprise network for years (VRF’s, MPLS, etc.) and will need to be extended into Private LTE deployments as well. Many times, the need for isolating business organizations on the network is due to regulatory requirements, scaling, or IT administrative reasons. 5G’s inherent ability to support network slicing will only enable broader use of private LTE across the enterprise network.
Lower latency, more bandwidth: the ability to enable lower latency and higher bandwidth will enable a new set of use cases for Private LTE networks. Employee collaboration tools will support a new set of telepresence type experiences alongside the use of VR for enhanced training. New IoT/M2M/autonomous vehicle applications in critical industrial settings such as mining and factories will also be more enabled with 5G bandwidth and lower latency.
Security: the security mechanisms as part of the 3GPP standard that are present in 4G are only enhanced in 5G and represent strong mobile security mechanisms from an enterprise perspective when compared to alternative wireless solutions. 3GPP security presents the ability to enable additional enterprise use cases where critical security mechanisms are required.
Technology solutions are now available that permit the architecture of Private LTE networks to be more scalable (start small, grow to large), affordable, and easy to deploy and manage. Systems integrators, operators and vendors alike should consider the integration of LTE components into a Private LTE portfolio of products.
Learn more by speaking to NetNumber at 5G North America 2018, May 14-16, in Austin, Texas.