The enterprise market is in the midst of a connectivity revolution. The advent of The “G” in 5G stands for generation. 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. 5G is characterized by bigger channels (which improves throughput), lower latencies allowing for real time applications, and the ability to connect more devices (which is increasingly important as the number of devices has grown exponentially). More and edge technologies, combined with Shared spectrum is a term that refers to a band of radio frequencies that are available to a wide range of users and allow for the creation of private cellular networks. In the US, this currently takes the form of CBRS. Other countries, including France, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia have similar schemes. More initiatives such as CBRS, have ushered in a new era of enterprise IT transformation through private mobile networks. In the edgetech category, these networks are being hailed as one of the early examples of edge solutions as a service that can be realized through a few Application Programmatic Interface An intermediary between two Applications/Systems or Generic Connectivity Interface to an Application. Software applications communicate with one another via APIs. Learn more about APIs and Private Networks More calls in minutes that is consistent with prevailing low code/no code paradigms.
Discovering unit economics at the edge
So why are IT departments lining up to operate their own private carrier style networks? One common theme that we hear often includes: enterprise digital transformation is a priority, and a plethora of new use cases are in turn catalyzing this current phase of network transformation. In addition to the underlying use case driven value proposition, the answer is a confluence of needs meeting unit economics:
- Recent upgrades to 3rd Generation Partnership Project
A group of standards organizations that develop protocols for mobile telecommunications. More standards, including ultra-reliable low-latency communications (uRLLC), enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), massive MIMO, network slicing, and high connection densities, have made high capacity private mobile networks possible.
- Coupled with decades of “software eating the world” has ensured private mobile networks can leverage silicon economics at scale.
Clearly innovation in these two technological fields has been ongoing – but the superposition of efficiency gains over the past couple of decades, combined with edge technologies, has led to breakthroughs in unit economics. Hence enterprise IT operated carrier style networks are now economically affordable and the industry has addressed multiple areas of friction in adoption.
Enterprise connectivity transformation
Clearly, network evolution is a constant process in any enterprise. However, given global trends in digital transformation, connectivity centered network transformation is now an imperative i.e., an incremental evolution will not suffice. Towards this transformation, there are four areas of friction that are addressed by private mobile networks and these 4 Cs capture the value proposition of this connectivity paradigm.
4 Cs – Coverage, Capacity, Control, and Customization
Coverage & Capacity
Let’s begin with the spectrum. In order to operate their own networks, shared spectrum initiatives such as Citizens Broadband Radio Service Radio frequency band between 3.5 GHz and 3.7 GHz that can be used for 5G, 4G or LTE communication. The FCC has recently opened these band to general use. Learn more about CBRS More have made spectrum licensing a matter of a few clicks and API calls! Given this simplification, the additional areas of technology friction that are addressed by private mobile networks are centered around the implications of coverage and capacity.
Coverage refers to the physical area that is served by the network and capacity refers to the number of successfully connected devices. Private 5G networks promise to support up to 1 Million simultaneous devices within a half mile radius, with dedicated ultra-reliable high capacity, combined with low Time required to send data over two points in a network. More.
These carrier-style networks can offer end-point solutions that are virtually impossible with contemporary enterprise Wi-Fi networks. However, the complexity of these newer technologies and 3GPP standards can be overwhelming. Needless to say, the industry has responded with layers of abstractions coupled with programmability to optimize coverage and capacity.
Control & Customization
Despite the promise of private mobile networks, there’s no denying the ubiquity of Wi-Fi. We should expect Wi-Fi and newer private mobile networks to co-exist in the enterprise. Moreover, IT managers will resist any form of network transformation that results in a loss of control of their own networks. One area of control that is critical is speed to market. CIOs are insisting on tighter controls as any slip up in network transformation has a domino effect downstream.
Additional areas of control relate to network visibility, policy control and feature additions. The mantra is: cloud-like agility with greater controls! Moreover, no two networks are the same – enterprises seek to customize their implementations of private mobile networks while optimizing unit economics. Such customizations may be location specific, programmed and managed by in-house IT. This ensures rapid issue resolution.
Finally, with 90% of companies migrating workloads to the cloud, market models for private mobile networks have to be consistent with the cloud revolution. Fortunately, edge solutions as a service provide the foundation for such consumption models.
In conclusion, coverage, capacity, control, and customization all on a private network rolled out in minutes is the promise of programmable private mobile networks. A developer first low/no code approach, through open APIs, is exactly what is needed to provide enterprises with the keys to transform their IT departments, while saving on CAPEX they can take control of their network and customize it to their business needs, finally.