By Michael Entner

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we looked at the challenges telecom operators face as they build 5G networks nationwide. In this second part, we study the potential of private 5G networks.

Two of the main topics of interest for telecom operators today are 5G and edge computing. When you combine these two technologies, it can be a game-changer. Why? Not only do you bring IT closer to where it happens, such as factories, end-user devices, and homes, but you benefit from these 5G capabilities such as super high-speed wireless access, time lightning-fast response, secure communications and priority traffic. . But there is a catch. As we discussed in Part 1, consumers are not yet seeing the added value of 5G, so telecoms operators cannot (yet) charge more for it. The challenge for carriers is figuring out how to monetize and get a good return on investment (ROI) for all that 5G and edge infrastructure they’re building right now.

There is a way, however, to take advantage of 5G at the edge and get a solid ROI. And these are the private 5G networks. Rather than building expensive infrastructure at all levels, carriers can focus on specific use cases and deliver purpose-built networks that meet the business needs of a specific customer. Private 5G can be the immediate and profitable future of 5G technology for telecom operators and their business and technology partners and customers.

Explore the benefits of private 5G

Private 5G networks have specific, measurable use cases that can be invested in right now, from robotics to industrial IoT in factories and utilities, and ‘regular’ IoT running on consumer-oriented devices. Let’s take a look at a few use cases.

A factory switching to robotics could use a private 5G network to make decisions about the quality of parts, welds, whatever you can capture on video, then use AI to dynamically manage robots on the assembly line. . A building management company could install private 5G in each of its locations to control access by floor or by room, without the need for security guards on site. Self-driving cars are another interesting use case. A car sees another car coming towards it and has to get the AI ​​to assess this situation very, very quickly and decide to either slow down the car or turn left or right to avoid a collision. And then there’s the potential for medical uses, such as long-range robotic surgery or video diagnostic tools.

Private 5G networks can deliver the critical reliability, predictable performance, wired security, and better coverage and connectivity that all of these use cases require. For telecoms operators, private 5G allows them to extend their expertise from both a technology perspective and technology management perspective, as they know how to manage radio networks. This is what they do.

So what is preventing a massive migration to private 5G networks? First, there remains the overall cost of 5G infrastructure. Second, there is the bigger issue of making a solid business case that really delivers a solid ROI for the costs involved.

More than technology

When it comes to private 5G networks, the entire end-to-end use case must be well understood from a business perspective, and then the network must be designed and built to be cost effective and easy to maintain. . To identify smart private 5G use cases, you need people with both business and technical skills. You want the business case to be solid and then develop the technology to meet that need.

Private 5G networks are complicated and difficult to design and build because they target specific use cases and situations. Building the right network for a specific use case means embracing the ecosystem of partners, from service providers to software vendors and hardware manufacturers, to provide end users with a cost-effective, reliable, and easily maintainable package.

Partnership with Wind River

Wind River’s Digital Technology Leaders (DTOs) like me are focused on helping our customers successfully enter the private 5G arena and invest in strategic areas that drive growth and confirm that cost investments are in the right place and make financial sense from a future perspective of growth and profit. We engage with clients and run ongoing programs and workshops that help our clients dive into investment analysis and understand how to leverage technology sustainably and profitably.

And, from a technology standpoint, Wind River Studio, deployed at the edge of the network, can enhance private 5G deployments with improved network performance, improved security, and cloud capacity at lower operating costs because it eliminates the cost of custom equipment and the latency resulting from moving traffic. to a central processing site.

By providing both technology and advice, Wind River bridges the gap between business and technology aspects allowing telecom operators to explore their private 5G opportunities. We can work with you not only to understand the ROI for things like product, 5G, virtual RAN, and AI / ML, but also to see if these are good investments for 5G use cases. specific private areas that you are exploring.

To learn more about Wind River solutions, contact us.

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