According to recent industry surveys, 5G awareness among enterprise decision-makers and operations professionals stands between 55-65%, and close to 50% are making plans to deploy 5G.
Many thanks to Vinay Dhar, SVP Business Development, Emerging Business Unit, Mavenir, for contributing this guest blog. Vinay is speaking on the Open RAN and Network Architecture in Private Networks track at the CW Technology & Engineering Conference: Engineering 5G Private Networks.
Enterprises increasingly want to take advantage of the high-performance and low latency of 5G networks. As such, three key inflection points are driving the adoption for private networks: digitization of industries, democratization of spectrum, and evolved distributed computing system.
The global pandemic brought a sense of urgency to drive digitization across industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and education.
Enterprises will move from a self-managed digital infrastructure to what can be considered compute and connectivity on cloud and on Edge. Leveraging synergies between both computing and communication services together, enterprises will have the ability to deploy private networks on distributed computing systems that allow for web-scale based adoption of applications.
The digitization of these networks will enable use cases that utilize the high performance and low latency of 5G. For example, the manufacturing industry is evolving to smart manufacturing with Industry 4.0 initiatives, including transporting materials via autonomous guided vehicles, connecting high density devices on a factory floor, using automatic robots for quality inspection, enabling AR/VR for preventative maintenance, and more.
Other industries will also reap the benefits of distributed networks to drive uses cases. Autonomous robots are being used in cargo inspection to increase incident findings, which leads to reduced waste. As the utility industry moves from a central energy-generation model to a more distributed-generation model supporting the shift to renewable energy, they are exploring how private networks with high-broadband connectivity can provide a more intelligent network to monitor critical remote assets and for grid automation.
Democratization of spectrum
Wireless networks require spectrum. As regulators see potential benefits of 5G networking in mission-critical and industrial-grade applications, the democratization of local spectrum has been gaining momentum globally.
Now, enterprises can own dedicated spectrum. There are also cases where enterprises work with an operator partner to gain access to licensed spectrum, offering the ability to adapt the network for the use cases they want to address.
For example, Germany has taken the lead in recognizing the potential of 5G and has prioritized issuing spectrum licenses to enterprises. As licenses are issued, the ecosystem continues to grow, and enterprises are taking advantage of building 5G applications and use cases.
The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum also gives enterprises in the United States the opportunity to use spectrum to enable connectivity with LTE private networks.
A similar trend is happening in Japan and Taiwan, as both countries take more active regulatory actions around spectrum. This phenomenon of democratization of spectrum is now spreading and is available in more countries across the globe.
While it's still early in the process, large enterprises do see the benefit of keeping the entire network isolated, since data that is running on these networks tends to be extremely mission critical. As access to spectrum continues to grow, enterprises will find value in deploying secure private networks to drive innovation.
The promise of 5G lies in the ability to deploy networks across multiple deployment models to enable many industry-specific use cases. Monolithic, closed architectures supporting narrow use cases will no longer suffice.
Open architecture-based approaches will be critical in unlocking the true potential of private networks. Open RAN principles present an alternative way of building networks that ensures interoperability, vendor competition, element security and reduced operating costs across the radio access network (RAN). Taking an Open RAN approach to private networks enables bigger and broader ecosystems that can foster collaboration and competition across many vendors rather than depending on a few large companies. As private networks continue to evolve, these ecosystems will help deliver innovative solutions to enterprises and industries.
When it comes to developing a robust ecosystem, considerations regarding how an enterprise works with them are key. How does an organization work with chip companies and what devices will be used? What factors come into play for the hardware infrastructure? These considerations extend to cloud players, Communications Service Providers (CSPs), system integrators, and technology integrators as well.
Enterprises will come to rely on the power of the ecosystem to drive innovation which will in turn drive the market, which is estimated at almost $8 billion over the next five years.
Realizing the potential of 5G through secure, wireless connectivity
Industry digitization, democratization of spectrum, and evolved distributed networks will drive the evolution of wireless connectivity. With private networks that enable secure connectivity while collecting and managing massive amounts of business-critical data, enterprises and industries can truly realize the potential of 5G.
Mavenir is building the future of networks and pioneering advanced technology, focusing on the vision of a single, software-based automated network that runs on any cloud. As the industry’s only end-to-end, cloud-native network software provider, Mavenir is focused on transforming the way the world connects, accelerating software network transformation for 250+ Communications Service Providers in over 120 countries, which serve more than 50% of the world’s subscribers.