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5G-based private networks are poised to provide industrial companies and large enterprises with a new means of connecting their facilities. Private networks allow companies to tailor mobile networks to fit their specific circumstances, prioritizing what’s core to their business while ensuring that their traffic remains segmented away from public traffic to enhance performance and security.
The technology’s maturation, though, is setting up competition — evident at last week’s “Private Networks in a 5G World” industry event — between companies that have historically collaborated, as companies like Deutsche Telekom (DT), Qualcomm, Nokia, and more compete for business in the emerging private networking space.
Providers are competing over private networks because of the multitude of approaches by which solutions can be put into action. Private networks can operate in a number of different bands depending on the particulars of a deployment and the assets available to the vendor.
This means that a wide range of companies are able to provide these services, including networking equipment providers, general mobile network operators such as Nokia, and specialist network operators like Finland-based Ukkoverkot. Private networking solutions from mobile operators like DT and Vodafone can operate using the spectrum they’ve purchased at auction and are already using to support the rest of their business. Competitors like Nokia, though, need to operate in unlicensed spectrum, in reserved bands like what German regulators set aside (to Vodafone’s chagrin), or by leasing access to spectrum from network operators.
Private networks have already generated interest from major industrial companies like Bosch and Siemens, and the tech’s flexibility could result in even higher interest. For instance, Ericsson and Telefónica Germany are collaborating with Mercedes-Benz to build a private 5G network for a new production facility in southern Germany. And Nokia has developed private LTE networks and partnered with companies to enable specific equipment to function on its private networks — Nokia and manufacturing company Komatsu partnered to certify mining equipment to work on a Nokia private network at a remote mining site.
For these enterprise customers, what matters is that the solution works, rather than how it does so. This will likely lead to parallel development, with networking vendors developing solutions in reserved or unlicensed bands, while network operators — in conjunction with those networking vendors, ironically — foster solutions using their owned and licensed spectrum, meaning multiple options will remain on the market to push competition and drive adoption of private networking solutions.
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Published at Mon, 02 Dec 2019 14:31:47 +0000