Private LTE networking: a sweet spot for Enterprise IoT

Enterprise IoT has the proven ability to increase operational efficiency, improve performance, and enhance operational agility. The overall result is a boost to a company’s competitive offer and its bottom line.  Private LTE networking takes it to another level. When enterprises own that communications resource they control the performance, security and resilience. On a private network data transfer is secure. And ownership allows the resource to be amortised. So far so good, but it gets better.

It gets better for two significant reasons. One, there are two versions of 5G.  5G NSA uses LTE’s radio access and core network and LTE can operate on the same Band 43 spectrum as 5G. This LTE / 5G combination is significant because European regulators are promoting the use of this spectrum for local, private LTE services. It reflects concerns that the initial focus of operators will be on 5G SA consumer services rather than the improvements needed for industrial IoT solutions. It’s a very positive development.

Two, the first 5G deployments are NSA. This will enable operators to provide services having more bandwidth, throughput, capacity as well as better connection reliability to the installed LTE base. Moreover these services can be delivered in shorter times and at a lower cost over private networks.

The ability to deliver enhanced LTE performance comes from NSA’s addition of 5G base stations, dual connectivity and dynamic spectrum sharing. Dual connectivity with LTE and 5G radios allows devices to send and receive data using LTE and 5G simultaneously. This means that the network is carrying traffic over both 4G and 5G, each in its own spectrum, aggregating the content in the device. Therefore connectivity is much faster. Results from real world deployments show that users are getting multi-gigabit speeds when this dual connectivity technique is deployed.

It is unfortunate that 5G SA, which targets the consumer sector, is overhyped, while 5G NSA, which is ideal for the business sector tends to be overlooked. LTE’s current performance figures of 1 Gbps peak rate and latency less than 50 milliseconds are more than adequate for most of today’s IoT business applications.  But now they are being enhanced. Moreover network slicing enables the creation of services that address different market segments. And edge computing generates near real-time information which enables informed, immediate decisions to be taken at the local level. This combination of advanced performance and versatile functionality adds up to a very sweet spot for enterprise IoT. 

This evolutionary blending of LTE and 5G resources looks set to accelerate the deployment of private cellular networks and it’s one of the topics that Beecham Research covers in a new report on “Private LTE Networking and Enterprise IoT: What Businesses Want in 2019-25.” Other topics include: licensed and unlicensed spectrum deployments, including CBRS and MulteFire; seamless combinations of public and private networks; combined LTE and Wi-F networks; network slicing; the evolved packet core; developments at the edge; IoT security and a private networks forecast.

Bob Emmerson
Technology Editor, Beecham Research.

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