The notion of private cellular networks, or non-public networks (NPN), has accelerated with cellular standards evolution. The recently awarded spectrum gave the latest boost. With it, enterprises have a potential means to deliver performance, security, coverage, and overall reliability guarantees for applications and use cases with exceedingly diverse requirements. Current and new enterprise customers now have a number of deployment models, whether LTE or 5G, to consider—from full turnkey via a mobile network operator (MNO) to fully owned and controlled private cellular network and all the options in between. In many use cases, especially those that require low latency such as robotics in an Industry 4.0 scenario, an MNO is the logical choice to deploy edge computing. In all cases, the service provider B2B2X private networking opportunities bring complexity.
Complexity and Opportunity Ahead
How does an MNO maintain the visibility required to adhere to a high standard service-level-agreement (SLA) for their private networking enterprise customers?
How does the MNO offer visibility to the customer’s IT department at the same time and tailor each entity’s required analytics?
Network transformation alone is challenging enough for the MNO as they evolve from LTE to the cloud-native requirements of 5G Standalone (SA). While 5G SA would simplify the resource allocation via separate network slices for addressing a given private networking customer’s requirements, it is not the only cellular option. LTE may be a play depending upon the MNO’s evolution status, enterprise spectrum ownership, device cost sensitivity, and associated network equipment manufacturer technology choices. In all scenarios, MNOs have an opportunity to assist enterprise customers and provide value. Yet to properly manage the deployment, a complete end-to-end subscriber-centric view of performance and experience for the MNO and customer is required.
Complexity for the enterprise opportunities abounds. For example, which virtual network functions (VNFs) are handling the coverage of enterprise employee access vs. the million IoT devices the enterprise has in a 5G SA cellular private network deployment? It is imperative for MNOs to recognize that it will no longer be acceptable to treat network visibility assurance and analytics as an afterthought once the design has been finalized and the network deployed. Rather, the assurance and analytics solution is a critical network design element from day one.
How to Address Visibility Requirements of Private Networking
Successful navigation of the growing opportunity for MNOs in the enterprise private networking space can be achieved. It requires a subscriber-centric, end-to-end, disaggregated assurance and analytics solution that can be designed into a private networking enterprise customer offer. Even in a scenario where the enterprise has its own spectrum and is providing most of the equipment—where perhaps the operator is only providing support services—the visibility can be bundled as a part of that MNO’s service and deployed locally. It can be in a public or private cloud, or within the MNO themselves. Whether it is LTE or 5G, the right assurance and analytics solution:
- Provides a subscriber-centric unified, RF, RAN, Edge, Transport, and Core view of service performance with location in three dimensional views
- Is itself cloud-native and disaggregated for deployment flexibility and scalability
- Has within itself an assurance slice manager so that resources can be dynamically allocated and adjusted for the visibility provided and to do so efficiently. This also assures that resources for visibility are never consumed at the expense of resources needed to provide service.
- Has a flexible data model so that compute resources can be dynamically changed such as in the case of a complex service-affecting issue, resources can shift to automated (preferred) or manual diagnosis from data science exploratory use until the issue has passed
- Is network vendor agnostic. Regardless of the networking solution used, the visibility provided correlates across all as may enterprise customers have multiple sites.
This is just the beginning of the discussion and VIAVI invites you to connect to explore the topic as you plan new and expanded service offerings and scope new revenue streams. We are a trusted supplier of network test, validation, and assurance solutions for operators and manufacturers worldwide. Let us put the insights we’ve gained assuring over a billion subscribers across eighty operators to work for you in this exciting new space. We can help you navigate technology turns from lab to field and into assurance and monetization.
Read A Unique Cloud-native Approach to Disaggregated Assurance and Analytics to fully understand the operator considerations and requirements for assurance and analytics solutions in the cloud-ready world of 5G Standalone.
Learn more about the Industry 4.0 opportunity by listening to Private Wireless Meets Industrial IoT, a panel discussion from the Private Wireless Networks Virtual Summit featuring Dr. Sameh Yamany, VIAVI CTO.