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New technologies and ecosystem expedite the deployment of LTE/5G private wireless networks

This article is sponsored by Amdocs

As the need for higher performance, reliability and data security continues to intensify for business communications and applications, enterprises are seeking new options for wireless connectivity that provide solutions that help overcome the limitations of their current networks and address future needs. LTE/5G private wireless networks play a crucial role in this effort and are being increasingly deployed in the healthcare, education and energy industry, with more industries such as transportation and manufacturing beginning to follow suit.

The introduction of Citizen Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band in the US provides organizations with access to cellular spectrum on a shared basis, creating the ability for them to have their own private LTE/5G networks. To access CBRS Spectrum and minimize interference with incumbent or licensed band users requires a Spectrum Access System (SAS). However, the shared nature of CBRS can be enforced only through FCC-certified SAS companies.  Currently, there are five FCC-certified SAS companies, one of which is Amdocs.

Although the levels of security, reliability and control provided by cellular technology remain superior to that offered by Wi-Fi, enterprises will not abandon Wi-Fi completely in favor of LTE/5G, and often will likely opt for a combination of multiple network technologies.

Parag Shah, Customer Business Executive at Amdocs, predicts that we can expect to see a mixture of technologies such as WiFi and cellular supporting outdoor as well as indoor use cases.

“Due to enterprise applications and requirements, we believe private wireless networks will be hybrid in nature”

These new networks, although more powerful, will also be more complicated to deploy and manage, requiring the help of systems integrators such as Amdocs to help design, source, integrate, deploy and operate private wireless networks. Better network control and performance are encouraging corporations to deploy private wireless. But to achieve this, they need to ensure proper integration of components and appropriate network design.

“Getting private wireless networks up and running is no small feat.”

The growing ecosystem of equipment suppliers, integrators and software providers will help simplify the deployment of private LTE/5G networks. For organizations and enterprises, it’s system integrators like Amdocs, who have the skills to tie it all together, and help them identify the best solution to meet their private network needs.

Emerging opportunities for mobile network operators

While new spectrum is now available to a growing number of entities, and as many core network functions increasingly become enabled in the cloud, mobile network operators will continue to play an important role in driving adoption of these networks, according to Shah.

“The ability to leverage licensed and unlicensed spectrum along with systems integration and managed services for private wireless network deployment and operations will be a significant growth opportunity for mobile service providers especially with 5G.”

A growing list of industries

Utility companies are expected to build private LTE networks to support the electrical grid and provide IoT applications. For example, in a recent CBRS auction in the United States, Alabama Power Company won 103 licenses to broaden coverage of the counties within its service territory and Chevron won 26 licenses with plans to build private LTE networks.

The education industry too is a growing user of private wireless networks as it works to provide internet access to students who lack access in their homes. These private wireless networks also provide a secure and reliable communication channel for staff members.

Another leading use case is factory automation. According to Shah, the production automation, efficiency, and digitization of data collection initiatives will be accelerated with the deployment of these new applications and technologies. Automakers value reconfigurable production lines offered through private wireless networks and have paired edge computing with 5G to increase the power and speed of their network.

Surveillance, automation and coordination of traffic flows are the primary reasons why shipping ports plan to use private wireless networks.

Looking to the future, Shah observes that the trends encouraging investment in private wireless networks are not slowing down, with new spectrums bands, technology evolution and ecosystem expertise uniting to accelerate the deployment and operation of private wireless networks.

Click here to explore the critical network components for realizing a private LTE/5G network.


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