It seems everyone is getting in on private wireless networking these days. For its part, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) will combine private wireless with its Aruba Wi-Fi technology.
The company says that although 5G far surpasses Wi-Fi in terms of wide area coverage, Wi-Fi has the edge when it comes to cost-effective, indoor connectivity. “With private 5G technology from HPE, customers can uniquely enjoy the best of both worlds with seamless interworking across both private 5G and Wi-Fi,” said HPE in an announcement today.
HPE will pre integrate radio capabilities from Airspan Networks for its private wireless offering. The vendor has also worked with JMA Wireless and expects to strike more radio partnerships in the coming months.
The private 5G solution from HPE is based on its HPE 5G Core Stack, which is an open, container-based 5G core network software. New capabilities for private networking have been added, including an advanced portal for service provider administrators and their enterprise customers.
During a press briefing, HPE executives said the new private wireless offering is now available, and the company has a few customers in the process of deploying it. It can be provided as “5G in a box” for deployments in remote locations such as military operations or at shipping or oil-and-gas locations. Or it can be provided as a distributed solution with some elements such as critical network functions and radios deployed at the customer location and the rest deployed at a central location.
Both the HPE 5G Core Stack and the Aruba Wi-Fi technology are offered via GreenLake, which is HPE’s infrastructure-as-a-service platform. GreenLake already includes HPE’s Aruba Wi-Fi offerings.
Richard Band, head of Mobile Core and 5G at HPE, said, "We don’t intend to make this available directly to enterprise for the most part. Our go-to-market is toward communication service providers and toward systems integrators. 5G MNOs are one of our prime channels to market."
In order for an organization to deploy a private wireless network, it will need spectrum. In the U.S. the availability of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum has propelled the private wireless ecosystem.
“Spectrum in general is an important element of this story,” said Band. “In countries where the government has actively intervened, like the U.S. with CBRS — but there’s also Japan with the local 5G; there’s Germany, the U.K. and to lesser degree France — the countries that have created specific policies to make spectrum available for enterprise are clearly the countries where we are seeing the biggest level of activity.”