Cradlepoint highlights enterprise private network use cases
The notion of an enterprise private network, whether it’s LTE or 5G deployed in unlicensed, licensed or shared spectrum, is a hot topic at the moment. Carriers and vendors see a major opportunity to work with enterprise stakeholders to set up bespoke networks in support of not just everyday talk, text and data but for industrial internet of things projects and in service of applications where data localization and sovereignty is paramount.
In terms of where market demand for private network solutions is coming from, Cradlepoint VP of IoT Strategy and Business Development Ken Hosac offered some color and noted that different enterprises have different needs, largely based on the geographic nature of their business.
“We got started with what we call small footprint distributed enterprise,” he said. “They’re probably not the candidate for private LTE. A lot of times they’re using LTE for a failover. Where we’re seeing the actual uptake in terms of interest, POCs, demand, is with the larger enterprise locations. You get to these large and we call these wide area LANs, like a shipping port or an airport or large warehouse or an enterprise campus or a college campus, a smart city, so again, you’re trying to create this LAN around something that is a large physical size.”
He gave the example of a port facility looking to leverage connectivity for things like autonomous guided vehicles, remotely operated cranes and surveillance cameras. “They’re all related to the shipping port. The shipping port wants to be able to control that, have a better experience. The bottomline is the customers who are really interested in this are struggling to use Wi-Fi to address those requirements and those are the ones that have that immediate need today.”
Hosac was speaking during a panel discussion at the Wireless Infrastructure’s Connectivity Expo in Orlando, Florida. Other panelists included: Cameron McCaskill, senior director of business development, IIoT, Qaulcomm, Ericsson Strategic Product Manager Chris Wallace and MulteFire Alliance’s Karim El Malki, also president of Athonet USA.
Wallace explained what he sees as driving private network interest. “A lot of it comes down these day to control–control over the data, control over the policy, control over the devices. We do see a lot of traction with…our traditional operators understanding that, you know, there is a need to let go of some of that control; that market dynamics are just that individual enterprises are just not accepting the same business models as they used to. I think there is some evidence of things moving in that direction.”
Going back to private networks for ports, in Finland, Nokia is working with private networking specialist Ukkoverkot and port machinery maker Klamar on a collaboration project to construct a private LTE test network for developing industrial IoT applications for shipping ports and terminals. Nokia cited automation, robotics, machine learning, analytics, and real-time remote monitoring as use cases.
In Germany, telecom regulars have set aside the 3.7 GHz band for use by the country’s industrial companies. Ericsson is working there with Vodafone to upgrade a private LTE network, already working as a blueprint for Industry 4.0, to 5G for German electric vehicle maker e.GO. Ericsson is also working with Vodafone and Telefónica to deploy a private 5G network at the carmakers Sindelfingen plant.
Hosac noted that gigabit LTE solutions available today can support a wide range of enterprise use cases, and investments today can evolve to support 5G. “Today you need 4G,” he said. “It’s kind of the path to 5G. Eventually you will have 5G networks. If you have a use case today that benefits from private LTE…[private networks are]a good way to address that today but knowing those same people who are providing those solutions are going to give you the path to 5G.”
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