Within the past few years, private wireless networks have quickly shifted from “nice to have” to a “must have” for a number of businesses. New advanced technological solutions offer companies the chance to gain a competitive edge, and private wireless plays a key role in making that happen. As beneficial as a private wireless network can be for some enterprises however, it might not be as big of a “must have” for every business, Advanced RF Technologies President Julie Song wrote for Forbes.
How private wireless networks function
For an enterprise to determine if a private network is beneficial, it’s best to know it works. First, there are a fair amount of similarities between public and private networks. With a public wireless network, mobile carriers own the spectrum and creates wireless infrastructure across the country to transmit RF. Meanwhile, mobile network operators (MNOs) control and distribute bandwidth to users and can access all of the transmitted data.
Mobile subscribers access their carriers’ network through their cell phone’s SIM cards. In-building wireless infrastructure like distributed antenna systems (DAS) and small cells make indoor cellphone coverage possible.
A lot of the same infrastructure applies to a private wireless network. The difference is the enterprise owns and operates the network. The enterprise still needs all of the same pieces for their network to be effective — shared and unlicensed spectrum and core, SIM authentication for mobile device users to access the network, etc. Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) is the most popular frequency band that can be used for private wireless networks today.
Additionally, enterprises need equipment so they can offer in-building wireless coverage like antennas. DAS solutions can help them support private networking frequency bands for 5G and LTE in the event they need to expand their network, according to Song.
What enterprises need private wireless networks?
The ability to maintain data control is perhaps the biggest benefit of having a private network. Data traffic does not have to go through a mobile carrier like it would with a public network. Keeping data in-house allows for better coverage, more speed, lower latency (the amount of time it takes for data to go from one device to another), and more security and data privacy.
Any industry that deals with a lot of data transmission or can’t afford to have unreliable or slow coverage could benefit from having their own wireless network, Song said. These sectors include healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and utilities.
Another benefit of private networks is companies get to decide how the bandwidth is used throughout the organization. A manufacturer might want more connectivity dedicated to its production lines, which require lower latency and put a little less toward its back-office systems. It’s this type of control that has led 76 percent of manufacturers to plan to deploy private 5G by 2024, per Accedian research, Forbes reports.
The healthcare industry also benefits from private networks as their life-saving wireless devices can use a majority of a medical facility’s bandwidth.
“Ultimately, private networks are great for enterprises that want reliability and granular control of their wireless network,” Song wrote. “It’s easier to manage everything from performance and security to gating user access and visibility. As companies continue down the path of smart everything, private networks will become a necessity to manage all connections without interference or risking sporadic drops in performance.”