The concept of private networks has been there for quite some time. Private networks are usually preferred by businesses and various types of private organisations to protect the data and information that they store and handle.
Though the underlying technology and infrastructure for private and public networks remain the same, says Yash Mehta, an IoT and Big Data Science specialist, private networks are restricted only to the enterprises owning them.
Compared to public networks, setting up a private network is a bit more complex as it involves implementing security measures and access restrictions. For instance, while setting up a private network, the number of devices that can connect to the network has to be taken into account, web servers have to be made extra secure to avoid cyber attacks and secure hardware and firewall applications have to be installed to ensure high-level security.
The growing need for private 5G networks
The initiative that was taken by the US government to allocate unlicensed cellular brands for public use with the introduction of Citizen Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) became a global trend and was adopted by various countries like Germany, the UK, and others.
This initiative not only satisfied the increasing need for organisations to stay secure and make use of high-speed network connections, but it also provided customers with a better alternative to other network technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and Wi-Fi networks. This eventually resulted in fast-growing demand for 5G networks and will pave the way for next-generation network technology.
Private networks are the best option for enterprises as they offer secure and performance-oriented connectivity. They also offer flexibility to enterprises when it comes to Quality of Service (QoS) and security policies. Lately, manufacturing, logistics and healthcare sectors have started leveraging private 5G networks to keep up with the ever-changing market requirements.
These sectors have stringent requirements concerning automation, performance, cybersecurity protection and adherence to their corporate IT and security policies. Adopting private 5G networks ticks the boxes of their needs and use cases.
While on the subject of private networks, Nir Shalom, the CEO of floLIVE, who also served as general manager and vice president of network application development at AT&T, acknowledged in a press release that the company has closed a US$15.5 million (€13.12 million) investment as a part of its series B extended funding round, leading it to a total of $37 million (€31.31 million).
The company offers a cloud-native, 5G Mobile Private Network (MPN) that offers high performance, elasticity and security to enterprise businesses from sectors such as healthcare, Industry 4.0 and Utilities. With the increase in cyber security threats to national infrastructure, the latter are turning to private networks to secure their digitally connected assets.
The company’s MPN solution can be deployed using a private Radio Access Network (RAN) within campuses or can be connected to public RANs deployed by national carriers, providing adequate coverage and performance.
This efficient and flexible private 5G network is only one of their many Internet of Things (IoT) solutions designed for enterprises, mobile operators and IoT service providers. Their solution suite utilises Software-defined Connectivity (SDC) that offers flexibility, integrability and inherent security and performance to the IoT environment.
Moreover, enterprises are rapidly moving towards IoT-powered digital transformation which requires advanced connectivity methods. Amidst the pandemic, organisations have to inevitably allow their employees to work remotely. Working remotely from various locations cannot be implemented undertaking strong measures to ensure security. This drives the enterprises’ adoption of private 5G networks.
Types of private networks
A private network must be able to provide continuous connectivity, where people and things can securely connect, communicate and perform business functions. It is important for a private network to possess better security mechanisms and intelligent policy enforcement. Finally, a private network must offer quality service apart from security and connectivity. Private networks can be broadly classified into three categories as mentioned below depending on their use cases.
Private campus networks
A private network that is intended to provide connectivity to limited and confined environments is known as a private campus network. This type of private network is used in factories, hospitals and other areas where the requirements for security, privacy and service are unique and can utilise either the public or private RAN.
Nationwide private networks
Nationwide private networks have various use cases like the construction of smart cities and connected vehicles, and also well serve utility providers implementing smart connected meters.
Global private networks
Global private networks implement the same requirements for security, regulatory compliance, performance and privacy similar to nationwide private networks. The only difference is that the global private networks can be accessed from anywhere on the planet.
By leveraging private networks, companies can have more secure and customisable networks where they can take complete control over network accessibility. These above-mentioned characteristics of private 5G networks such as flexibility, availability, security and cost-efficiency can increase business productivity and pave ways for new innovations.
The author is Yash Mehta, an IoT and Big Data Science specialist.