How and why private 5G networks are taking flight

Addressing the need for enterprise network security, speed and bandwidth in the U.S.

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In a 2020 survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of Verizon, 700 business technology decision-makers weighed in on the topic of 5G, with most agreeing it will create new opportunities for their company (80%), their industry (79%) and their role (79%). Seven in 10 believe 5G will help their company overcome the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (69%). But, as businesses look to transform from an extraordinary 2020, they also face exponential digital acceleration and challenges in applying data-centric emerging technologies such as Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), Augmented and Virtual realities (AR and VR), as well as real-time analytics, into their business operations.

Recognizing that these and other data-centric emerging technologies will need a next-generation scalable connectivity network, an increasing number of enterprises are leveraging 5G technology to launch private 5G networks. A private 5G network gives companies the ability to customize the network according to specific organizational needs and locations, securely, and on their timetable.

Realizing the potential of private 5G networks

With businesses having the option to either build out and run their own private 5G network or outsource it to a mobile network operator (MNO) or systems integrator (SI), a new world of opportunities are coming into vision for organizations across the spectrum, from retail, healthcare and entertainment to manufacturing, transportation and education. A private 5G network allows large enterprise and public sector customers to bring a custom-tailored 5G experience to indoor or outdoor facilities where high-speed, high-capacity, low-latency connectivity is crucial, regardless of whether or not the premises is within a public 5G coverage area. It also addresses the need for dedicated bandwidth capacity and range, security, high-quality connections and consistent, always-on service to help reduce downtime.

Deloitte predicts that over the next decade hundreds of thousands of companies will deploy private 5G networks. It’s a safe prediction considering increased reliance on wireless devices, sensors and artificial intelligence to connect people, machines and processes. Private 5G networks have the potential to dramatically improve security, bandwidth and speed.

Spectrum opens up new opportunities for enterprises

Private 5G networks have been gaining momentum in the U.S. with the evolution of 5G technology and the availability of spectrum needed to leverage 5G private networks. Now, organizations have the option to use either unlicensed spectrum such as the general authorized access (GAA) tier of the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band, licensed spectrum from one of the organizations that purchased CBRS priority access licenses (PALs) in the 2020 FCC auction, spectrum secured in the recent C-band auction, or spectrum (high or midband) through a licensed wireless provider. John Deere, for example, purchased PALs for CBRS spectrum for its global headquarters and factories in Rock Island County, Illinois. It also purchased PALs for four Iowa counties where it has additional factories.

In October 2021, Verizon announced that it launched private mobile edge computing for enterprise with AWS Outposts. Coupled with Verizon’s private 5G networks (known as On Site 5G), 5G Edge with AWS Outposts, a fully managed service, can deliver a consistent hybrid experience by offering the same AWS infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to virtually any environment, whether a data center, co-location space or on premises.

Corning Incorporated is using Verizon’s On Site 5G and private mobile edge computing  services at its factory in Hickory, N.C., which is one of the largest optical cable manufacturing plants in the world. The company is using Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Outposts and On Site 5G to  experiment with high-speed, high-volume data collection on the factory floor, quality assurance, and on-premises inference using machine learning.

The right tech for a variety of industry challenges and opportunities

Beyond smart manufacturing, private 5G and private mobile edge computing open up tremendous capabilities and opportunities for many industries. And the timing couldn’t be more appropriate.  The ability to connect devices and machines to secure, reliable and optimized networks from any place at any time will be foundational to moving the world forward.

Recently, Verizon launched On Site 5G, a private network that provides unparalleled speed and bandwidth (superior to CBRS) for large enterprises and public sector customers including college campuses, industrial and manufacturing facilities, warehouses and more. On Site 5G leverages the best of 5G Ultra Wideband and 4G LTE capabilities as different operational environments require, and also maintains interconnection to the organization’s LAN, SD WAN and enterprise applications. On Site 5G allows controlled authorized user access and device management and the inherent privacy of on-premises networking to help keep the network secure.

While spectrum is important, security is paramount, which is why enterprises must consider experience and expertise when choosing a partner to build out their private 5G networks.

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