Industry digitisation and IoT driving boom in private networks
25 November 2019

Industry digitisation and IoT driving boom in private networks

25 November 2019

Demand for private networks is currently booming. According to statistics from Global Market Insights, the private LTE market alone is set to grow from US$1.8 billion in 2017 to more than US$11 billion by 2024 – a CAGR of 28 per cent over that period.

Advances in connectivity technologies, and inefficiencies in aging networks, mean that governments and industries are being compelled into investing in private networks are driving this strong growth. But there are also two compelling business cases. First, the reduction of telecoms costs by enabling communication on private networks, whenever available, on the same SIM. But more importantly private networks mitigate the risk of data misuse and theft by providing full visibility and control throughout the enterprise campus.

Private networks - investment is coming

In the past, many private networks lacked broadband capabilities, relying often on unlicensed WiFi or other licensed narrowband technologies, which clearly are not up to the job of providing secure connectivity for hundreds, or even thousands, of people on a large site.

At the same time, industry digitisation, including Industry 4.0 initiatives, and the growth of IoT use cases mean that there is a requirement for LTE and even 5G-based private networks to generate strong productivity improvements and/or operational efficiencies.

According to the same Global Market Insights report, the use of IoT connectivity in smart buildings and cities, and IoT-based devices that are compatible to wireless networks, will see the private LTE market grow at a CAGR of around 35% between 2018 and 2024. Private LTE and 5G networks, for example, offer smooth mobility and inter-cell hand-off, a key feature required by industrial IoT applications.

This combination of conditions is driving investments in private networks, especially in public safety, utilities, manufacturing, logistics, robotics, public venues (such as airports and smart ports) and energy, to name a few.

Private networks now need to securely connect hundreds of people, control complex or critical machinery or analyse data from thousands of IoT devices that are either tracking goods and products, or monitoring a company's workflow and processes. For this reason many industries are deploying LTE private networks, which ultimately can be upgraded to 5G.

Such networks offer unrivalled ability to configure a network, including priority levels for data, spectrum allocation, and reliability and QoS requirements. They are also upgradable, scalable, offer low and high data rates, IoT capabilities, and so on. Wi-Fi networks, for example, offer many of these features, but can’t match the security, upgradeability, configurability, and scalability requirements of more advanced technologies. And, like cellular networks, a private LTE network can be accessed and controlled via SIM card-based credentials.

Connectivity driving the adoption of private networks

However, while many private networks will have similar needs, the adoption rate of different connectivity technologies still varies widely across industry segments, and so there is still a need for the entire range of technologies from fixed to WiFi to LTE and 5G. Moreover, specialist use cases are emerging all the time, which means we can expect to see some unusual and highly variable demands.

That’s why Telecom26 offers the full range of interconnection approaches, from satellite to traditional mobile, ensuring smooth delivery of voice, messaging and data services, whether that’s required permanently or temporarily. We offer public and private network access on the same SIM, which negates the need for dual SIM phones.

We also provide roaming services that allow users to receive calls on the same phone number even when they connected to the private network – traditional private network providers require either a bubble, or two separate networks to be active at the same time to achieve this, which defeats the purpose of the private network as it no longer provides the security required, or the ability to restrict and observe traffic within the enterprise campus. The T26 SIM is unique in its ability to enable full visibility into network traffic, whether voice, data or SMS.  

In conclusion, private networks are likely to become the norm for many stakeholders and across a wide range of sectors. The ability to tailor needs to meet highly specific needs will be essential, so if you are considering your future networking requirements, you should talk to a specialist that has the time to listen and to work with you to deliver the optimised connectivity solution you need, backed by a global network and the most extensive range of partners.

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