The Emergence of Private LTE Networks

When a wireless network is responsible for controlling a 400-ton autonomous mining vehicle for keeping an electricity grid operational, or even for packing your groceries, performance and reliability are critical.

In a new whitepaper on Private LTE Networks, I discuss how progressive enterprises, in virtually all industrial sectors, are pursuing operating models that improve productivity through automation and machine communications, and how these models are underpinned by high-performance wireless networking solutions.

Although originally designed for large-scale carrier networks, new scaled-down, designed-for-purpose enterprise LTE systems are now emerging as the preferred wireless platform for enterprises with production-critical automation and mobility needs.

These solutions make it possible for private organizations to deploy and operate high-performance, on-premises private wireless networks, without requiring access to licensed spectrum, yet still benefit from the performance and global ecosystem of LTE technology. This is attractive across a wide range of enterprise verticals, particularly where in-house control, production-critical reliability, multi-service capability, mobility and security, are needed.

To download the full paper, click here: Private LTE Networks.

Organizations that control their own networking environment can more easily customize and optimize it for their own purposes. This is useful, for example, to:

  • Guarantee coverage and capacity at a facility. Enterprises can engineer the RAN to meet their specific performance demands, e.g., by being able to configure uplink and downlink, set usage policy, determine which users connect, how traffic is prioritized, and so on.

  • Optimize parameters in the LTE radio to operate in challenging physical environments (e.g., warehouse or oil/gas facility with lots of metal). This can include fast recovery from failure, or optimizations for reliability, and for latency. This is unthinkable on the public network.

  • Retain control of critical data. In private networks, the organization controls its own security and can ensure that sensitive information doesn't leave the premises; this is an essential requirement for many types of high-tech businesses. Moreover, by keeping data and the core network on-site, the risk of service disruption due to a WAN link outage is eliminated.

In terms of spectrum, the new wave of private LTE deployments will be able to use the shared-access 3.5 GHz band in the US (i.e., Citizens Broadband Radio Service, or CBRS) and the 5 GHz unlicensed band globally (using MulteFire). Where early examples of private LTE networks were typically deployed in licensed spectrum with permission from the regulator or partner mobile operator, open access spectrum, in combination with built-for-purpose, interoperable equipment, makes it easier for organizations to deploy and operate a private LTE network.

This blog is sponsored by Qualcomm.

— Gabriel Brown, Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading

PT100300 12/27/2017 | 2:49:14 PM
Security issues Thank you for your article, very interesting!

In your view, are these on-premises private wireless networks resilient enough to avoid fraud and/or cyber attacks?

danielcawrey 7/11/2017 | 3:01:51 PM
Good Idea This is a good idea, even if it is just used as a backup to traditional wireless networks. 

A lot of locations already utilize wireless, like construction sites. Why not have LTE be a part of that to incease redundancy?
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