5G promises to be a game-changer for enterprises, enabling everything from augmented reality experiences to automated manufacturing floors. But for enterprises to play in that game, many will need to deploy a private cellular network that can support the low latencies, high bandwidth, strong security, and flexible scalability that these new applications will require.
Unlike current Wi-Fi networks, these new enterprise wireless networks will need to be much faster and more responsive, blend seamlessly with 4G/5G networks, and support a cloud architecture where new services can be readily deployed, orchestrated, and managed for optimal efficiency with full automation. Recognizing the need for this new kind of private network experience, mobile network operators (MNOs) have taken the lead by deploying next-generation private cellular networks at the network edge and in the cloud edge—in effect allowing enterprises to manage and operate their own private networks with minimum capital expenditure and, in some cases, consuming the network as a service.
The network edge is, in a very real sense, a new frontier for operators/managed service providers (MSPs) and enterprises. Instead of delivering everything from a centralized core network, edge networking disaggregates compute, network, and storage resources from the core and places them at the edge, closer to the enterprise. With edge-based private networks, enterprises gain ultra-low latencies (under five milliseconds), dedicated and scalable bandwidth, network isolation for improved security, and higher performance through guaranteed service level agreements. Private network services provide operators with a unique opportunity to modernize and monetize their networks in order to meet the needs of the next-generation of enterprise applications.
Private Networks as a Revenue Driver
The telecommunications industry is expected to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in 5G network infrastructure over the next several years. This investment is in response to the enormous potential of 5G applications, from IoT devices to mobile gaming. The first generation of 5G applications is expected to include:
As the market moves to immersive, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) experiences, companies will need to deliver these high-bandwidth applications to devices at ultra-low latencies. For some companies, these experiences might look very different – e.g., a service technician performing remote repairs through AR video or a retail customer viewing a product in virtual 3D – but the network requirements will remain largely the same. In nearly all cases, enterprises will want applications closer to the end user, whether that user is in a store, at home, or on a mobile device. Affirmed is partnering with Netmore Group to deliver innovative private enterprise services such as AR/VR and IoT.
Industry 4.0 promises to bring technologies such as IoT, automation, and robotics control to manufacturing. These technologies will require robust wireless connectivity that extends beyond the current capabilities of Wi-Fi. Creating private cellular networks for manufacturers is a natural application for edge-based mobile services and can include a dedicated mobile core in the enterprise’s data center for additional control and security. Affirmed is delivering secure private 5G connectivity to Inventec, a leading Taiwanese manufacturer of consumer technology, to enable smart manufacturing as part of Inventec’s Industry 4.0 initiative.
M2M & IoT Systems for Oil & Gas
Mining and energy-related industries such as oil and gas production, refineries, and transport systems are known to generate large amounts of data for logging, recording, storage, and analysis. 5G private networks will allow enterprises to move these high-bandwidth, low-latency services closer to the data source, where traffic can be broken out for local processing and storage on premise-based servers or through high-speed connections to cloud-based servers.