Enterprises choose private LTE networks for wireless connectivity in huge places where Wi-Fi isn't a good option
Having a flexible and reliable wide-area LAN is essential for businesses that operate in warehouses, shipping ports, convention centers and other large-scale venues. Wi-Fi is no longer cutting it as more devices used on the day-to-day job require Internet access with nonstop connectivity.
Private LTE technology is an option that provides a high-performance network in large areas with less equipment than Wi-Fi and lower network costs than public LTE. The market for private cellular networks is growing quickly as organizations with large-scale locations realize Wi-Fi sometimes cannot support the performance, coverage, reliability, Quality-of-Service, and security they need.
Private LTE and private 5G provide a network through a wireless broadband connection that is a scaled down version of a public cellular network. This type of network is ideal for organizations that are not well supported currently by Wi-Fi or public LTE networks.
The architecture that supports wireless LAN consists of routers, small cells or radios, a management system, an evolved packet core, and a spectrum allocation server when using the shared spectrum called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the U.S. That’s the “what,” but who operates a private network? Either a third-party network provider, a traditional mobile operator, or an enterprise. Deciding which provider to go with depends on the type of spectrum and level of private management an enterprise requires. In many cases an enterprise will operate its own private cellular network by using shared spectrum.
The limitations of Wi-Fi
What are the benefits of Private LTE vs. Wi-Fi? Connectivity and real-time data sharing between high-bandwidth sensors, applications, and IoT devices is a necessity for modern business and can’t be constrained to small areas. Wi-Fi’s biggest limitation is providing a reliable, low-cost, and secure network on a large scale.
Conventional Wi-Fi access points aren’t stable or robust enough to keep up with the increasing technological standards for large-scale business. Devices such as high-definition surveillance cameras, employees’ mobile phones, and wireless robotic equipment can switch between access points, but Wi-Fi can be susceptible to spectrum noise and interference from obstacles and walls. Private LTE and 5G provide the option of prioritizing certain traffic types to provide low latency and high Quality-of-Service, opening up opportunities for an array of Private 5G use cases as 5G becomes more pervasive.
Businesses that span large areas need a network with more security than just a standard username and password. Instead, additional layers are needed to protect highly sensitive information. Private network solutions include SIM cards and edge networking routers that can require a PIN for connectivity. This provides a secondary authentication that Wi-Fi does not provide to protect an enterprise from hackers.
While some of these advantages can be achieved using public cellular networks, private networks can use shared or unlicensed spectrum, which means there is no charge for data usage. Bandwidth-heavy deployments such as video surveillance can achieve significant savings by using their own network.