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Private LTE FAQs

Seeking answers about Private LTE technology?

Private LTE is one of those developments in networking that is as exciting as it is complex. There’s a lot to know about how Private LTE works, the value of CBRS vs. WiFi for Wireless LAN, and what you need to make it work in large areas at the edge. Let’s explore.

Cellular operators offer organizations Private LTE as a dedicated broadband network with flat-rate pricing — most often when Wi-Fi and public LTE don’t provide the performance, cost-effectiveness, or security necessary for particular use cases. On-site micro towers and small cells mimic a standard public cellular network, but with less traffic congestion and greater security.

Organizations with locations and applications that require wireless connectivity but are not well supported by Wi-Fi or public LTE networks use Private LTE. These use cases tend to be large areas such as airports, mines, factories, warehouses, power plants, ships, and stadiums.

In large areas where organizations are dealing with significant amounts of data traffic, including a lot of information that is being sent to the corporate data center, public LTE infrastructure isn’t always available. Even if public LTE is available, per-bit pricing may be cost-prohibitive.

Private LTE can be provisioned anywhere, with flat-rate pricing. Private LTE infrastructure also enables organizations to keep certain data on-site instead of sending all of it off campus, and to prevent the performance fluctuations that can result from bandwidth competition on public LTE networks.

Private LTE offers levels of security and performance that aren’t possible with Wi-Fi. The use of SIM cards and edge networking devices gives Private LTE an additional layer of security, helping protect an organization’s most critical information from malicious attacks. Regarding performance, the ability to block out outside traffic and to give priority to the most important devices enables Private LTE to provide better Quality of Service (QoS).

For Private LTE, cellular carriers can use licensed, unlicensed, or shared spectrum. They can license their spectrum to organizations or third parties, or they can use their spectrum to build and operate a Private LTE network on request. Enterprises also can operate Private LTE networks in shared spectrum that is owned but lightly licensed, such as Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), which is 3.5 GHz. Additionally, carriers and organizations can use unlicensed spectrum such as 5.4GHz, which is currently used for Wi-Fi; carriers can combine unlicensed spectrum with their own spectrum to expand bandwidth through carrier aggregation.

Private LTE networks can be operated by major cellular operators, third-party network providers, or end-user organizations.


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