MEETING RECAP: Private Networks, PWLAN and Slices
At the Telecom Council meeting on Private Networks, PWLAN and Slices, we talked about the newly developing opportunity for the industry in private cellular networks. Private Cellular, as a grand concept, means using what appears as a dedicated network, with its own characteristics, performance, and SLAs (Service Level Agreements). The category is actually quite broad, since there are a number of different approaches to address end-user’s needs. These approaches can be VERY different, but all serve a similar goal of increasing flexibility, customization, and security for a specific user.
Here are some of the very different approaches that achieve similar ends:
- A fully separate silo network, or one integrated with a wider cellular WAN
- Operated as a standalone network, or as a slice of a 5G network
- Using licensed spectrum, or using unlicensed or shared spectrum such as CBRS
- Built by new entrants or enterprises, or built and managed by conventional carriers
- Desined for high-value, high bandwidth users like smartphones, or designed for IoT, or both
Why do customers want or need Private Cellular? In many cases, current cellular networks don’t meet their coverage needs on campuses, remote fields, or indoors at enterprises. While Wi-Fi has occasionally been used to provide a private wireless network, it has faced limitations of range, spectrum control, security, and roaming off-premises. In many of those cases, a private cellular network could remedy all of those problems – but at a higher cost.
The meeting kicked off with a keynote address from Madhusudhan Mysore, CEO, Tata Communications Transformation Services. Madhu showed how Tata is taking advantage of new technologies like Network Slicing, 5G, LPWAN and Private WLANs to deliver flexible networks that open new market opportunities for network operators. Using their ” Digital Transformation Framework”, Tata has enabled 100+ use cases in IoT, Private Networks for enterprise and consumer customers, some of which were highlighted in the presentation.
Our Panel discussed some real use cases for Private Wireless and Slices, as well as the ability to use shared CBRS spectrum (in the USA) to merge some of the cost benefits of unlicensed with the reliability of licensed. CBRS also allows cellular carriers some fertile new spectrum for growth without having to re-farm existing spectrum. Orange showed us some of the ways they are piloting Private Wireless, and see it working with their EDGE compute efforts.
As always, we concluded with our session of Rapid-Fire innovators’ pitches, where companies with new solutions pitch their solutions to the room. Members can still access all of these short presentations with contact info in our Members’ Library.