Why Wait for 5G When There’s Private LTE?
There’s a lot of buzz around 5G, and for obvious reasons. Lower latency, higher bandwidth and vastly increased speeds, this new shiny technology standard for cellular networks promises great things for the Internet of Things, however it will be years before 5G can truly meet enterprise needs. So, are businesses expected to just sit around waiting for the 5G network to be fully rolled out? Or is there another connectivity solution for enterprise IoT networks ?
There’s CAT cabling, WiFi and LPWAN, yes. But in terms of coverage, bandwidth and security, these connectivity methods don’t cover all the bases for Industry 4.0. So, what’s the alternative?
The answer lies in private networks. Private LTE, to be precise.
What is Private LTE?
Simply put, a Private Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network is a scaled-down version of a public cellular network. By utilizing dedicated radio equipment on shared, licensed or unlicensed spectrum (e.g CBRS radio networks in the USA), enterprises are able to build and manage their own on-premises private network to deploy IoT devices.
However this is not the only option: Private LTE can also be deployed in conjunction with the Public LTE network. In this case, a Private LTE core is installed on the enterprise premises or in the cloud and uses the public radio network infrastructure. Alternatively, in a “Private Mobile Networking” scenario, the enterprise could have control of the network core to roam on and off the public network.
Private LTE networks as a stepping stone to 5G
Low latency, spectrum agility, network slicing for bandwidth scalability. The latest innovation in private networks means enterprises can cash in on all the benefits promised by 5G, now. A reliable, high-performance connectivity solution, choosing to build a Private LTE network can provide the answer to future-proofing IoT applications across a wide range of industries.
How does Private LTE size up against WiFi?
Granular network control
Control of Private LTE is in the hands of the enterprise that owns and manages the network, meaning that the demand for network resources can be optimized and managed for IoT/M2M applications.
Not only does Private LTE have higher bandwidth capacity than WiFi, it also affords enterprises the ability to change bandwidth and duration on the fly.
Fast data speeds
Data runs at gigabit rates on Private LTE networks, whereas WiFi typically offers speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Plus, operating a private network means enterprises won’t encounter interference from the public wireless spectrum.
With Private LTE, the risk of data breaches is reduced to an absolute minimum. Access to a managed network environment – the IPX (IP eXchange) backbone network – ensures that data is kept secure as it is not sent over the public Internet. WiFi, on the other hand, was responsible for 72% of data breaches in UK businesses last year.
Wide-range network coverage
For a reliable WiFi connection, IoT devices need to be in close proximity to a wireless router, a significant hurdle for scaling an IoT application as numerous routers and extenders are required. LTE networks, however, are designed with scalability in mind, offering a much larger coverage area for a reliable, fast network connection.
When it comes to high volume data transfer and the scaling of IoT applications, enterprises see costs greatly reduced when choosing to build a Private LTE network in comparison to WiFi.
Seamless combinations of public and private networks
The ability to seamlessly roam between private and public networks enables enterprises to capitalize on the benefits afforded by each type of network connectivity. The advanced functionality and global coverage of public networks combined with cost-effective, high-speed Private LTE networks creates a unified private domain which acts as an extension of the corporate LAN.
In order to guarantee secure interoperability between public and private networks, algorithms can also be employed to alert enterprises to potential security threats.
Use cases for Private LTE networks
Traditional enterprise technologies, such as WiFi, are not suitable for Industry 4.0 deployments. Limited connectivity in large geographical areas or industrial environments and spectrum congestion due to networks operating in the same frequency have given rise to the need for a new, alternative connectivity solution.
Self-maintained Private LTE networks are of particular interest to companies providing mission-critical services. Take manufacturing as an example. In large factories and warehouses, reliable connectivity for production-critical automation cannot be achieved via WiFi. Not only do Private LTE networks provide high-performance connectivity, they give enterprises the ability to utilize different network frequencies for different devices, guaranteeing interference-free connectivity for robotic and IoT devices throughout the plant. Private LTE can also be employed across multiple premises, yet centrally managed from one location enabling remote network control.
Complete control from one, modular platform
Secure, reliable and cost effective, a centrally managed Private LTE solution is an ideal way to future-proof IoT connectivity in an industrial environment. Pod Group’s modular platform, Pod IoT Suite, enables enterprises to control every aspect of their IoT connectivity, while seamless roaming between the public and private network is made possible through Pod PLTE Interconnect.
Want to find out more from the experts?
Are Private LTE network solutions what you’ve been looking for? For more information on how Private LTE can solve enterprise connectivity challenges ahead of the transition to 5G, watch our webinar led by industry experts and download our white paper on Innovation in Private Networks.