What Is a Private 5G Network?
Many organizations looking to prepare their IT infrastructure for next-generation technologies like the Internet of Things are considering building their own private 5G networks. Here are the benefits that are tempting these businesses into taking the power of 5G into their own hands.
Telecom giants have been preparing for the era of 5G for some time now, building infrastructure in a select few pilot cities before bringing higher standards for connectivity across the country. The new standard in cellular wireless will increase bandwidth, reduce latency, give administrators more control over network configuration, and much more.
But some enterprises aren’t content to rely on these companies for all of 5G’s much-vaunted benefits. Anxious to begin laying the groundwork for bandwidth-intensive technologies like the Internet of Things, a few large businesses are considering adopting their own private 5G networks.
What’s Driving the Rush to 5G
Most of the companies interested in building networks of their own are the same ones who stand to gain the most from next-generation technologies: industrial enterprises in fields like manufacturing, energy, and automotives. For example, German automakers BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen have all informed their government’s wireless authority that they were interested in establishing their own private networks.
Businesses involved in manufacturing are looking to get highly granular views into their operations, and must have high levels of bandwidth to support this visibility. Other Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions are designed to protect worker safety and must react to dangerous conditions in a matter of milliseconds. Robotic motion control similarly requires exceptional network speed in order to function properly. Use cases like these where optimal performance is critical could justify upgrading to 5G over currently in-place 4G and LTE networks.
The Case for Going Local
But why go private? What’s discouraging these businesses from using the same wireless network used by everyone else?
One concern driving adoption of private networks is a need for greater control. By doing the 5G provisioning in-house, companies can get complete control over the security implementations and avoid having to entrust mobile network operators (MNOs) with proprietary data. Private network operators will get to decide who has access to their network, what actions deserve priority, and how various resources are utilized.
Companies might also be interested in having all the network’s capacity to themselves. The extended bandwidth made possible by 5G will be maximized if network administrators don’t have to worry about people from outside the organization requesting resources.
Finally, some unique use cases require 5G’s optimal performance in locations where the infrastructure necessary to support it likely won’t exist. For example, Swedish telecom company Ericsson has committed to providing 5G-ready radio systems for peacekeeping missions undertaken by the United Nations, ensuring that communications will be reliable even in remote and underserved locations around the world.
Barriers to Adoption
Of course, there are a number of practical issues that must be resolved before this adoption can really begin to take off, the most obvious of them being the need for spectrum. Companies from many verticals are looking into developing a private spectrum, according to Network World, but with potential resistance from MNOs looking to prevent private networks from cutting into their profits, it’s unclear when such a solution will become publicly available.
Another problem is that unlike an MNO, most of the businesses looking at private 5G don’t have any experience in operating a network. Getting the intellectual capital necessary to manage a private cellular network adds to the already significant costs that would be associated with implementation.
Private or Not, 5G Is Coming
With President Trump’s FCC moving fast to make 5G in the US a practical reality, growing interest in private networks presents enterprises with one more choice as they prepare for the next generation in wireless connectivity. Businesses must decide whether they should rely on the 5G networks provided by MNOs or their own, as well as evaluate every piece of their IT infrastructure to ensure they’re ready to take advantage of the new wireless paradigm’s capabilities.
One of the easiest ways that companies can get the guidance they need in preparing for 5G is by partnering with a networking expert like Turn-key Technologies (TTI). With almost 30 years of experience helping enterprises design, deploy, and manage sophisticated networks, we can help you decide exactly what networking solution your company needs to support cutting-edge technologies. With TTI on your side, your team can rest assured that, once 5G does roll around, you’ll be fully prepared to take full advantage of it.