The convergence of a greater adoption of IoT in business, as well as the capability of 4G LTE and 5G are driving an upward trajectory for private cellular networks. According to IDC, the private LTE and 5G infrastructure market is anticipated to reach $5.7 billion in 2024 as businesses invest in this connectivity technology.
The IDC continues by outlining the three segments that define the market opportunity for private LTE and 5G networks.
First, there is mission critical, which is an IoT use case defined by it’s need for connectivity to be readily available and consistent. Network failures or even dips in bandwidth could negatively affect the IoT application and cannot be tolerated.
Next is industrial, which refers not entirely to the industry but to those verticals that are building IoT solutions that either use significant bandwidth due to large data demands or have built in automation. Again, while not exactly mission-critical, having steady and reliable connectivity is of great importance to operations.
The IDC identifies the final classification as business critical. In these applications, loss of connectivity could result in loss of revenue, which is why having resilient connectivity in a private network is identified.
A private network is a dedicated network built of the public spectrum, which organizations can choose between 4G LTE and 5G. The choice between the two is individual. The cost and availability of 5G and the related infrastructure might be a hindrance, as 4G LTE is widely available, as is hardware and infrastructure. But some applications might need the latency and speed requirements of 5G. Both cellular generations are well equipped to carry out the benefits of a private network, which include:
In instances where reliable speeds and bandwidth are in demand, private networks can offer greater assurance to those applications.
While private networks can benefit many use cases, here are a few of the top use cases for private networks, which demand mission-critical or reliable communications, or where Wi-Fi isn’t an option due to security concerns or interferences.
Manufacturing and Industrial: Private networking in industrial is driven through several key requirements. First, interference is an issue within manufacturing, which makes Wi-Fi a less attractive option over cellular. Secondly, many operations with manufacturing fit under the “industrial” requirement segment defined by the IDC, both in communicating data and automation demands.
Healthcare: Mission-critical life and health support devices, security requirements, and high occupancy all drive this use case in favor of private networks. As the healthcare industry adopts further digital approaches, such as remote patient monitoring and telehealth, the need for greater bandwidth grows and can be met by private networks.
Higher Education: College and university campuses are often widespread and need the reach of cellular coverage through private networks, as well as removing the barrier of having to compete with other applications on a public network. Blanket coverage through private networks helps bring all operations under one network for greater control.
Offices and Corporate Campuses: The security and reliability of private networks can offer greater coverage and scalability than Wi-Fi. Here is where the IDC defines business-critical requirements for private networks. If the loss of network or signal strength results in lost profits, or lost reputation, then private networks should be a consideration.
Stadiums and Arenas: With many attendees clogging public cellular networks, network capabilities might fail the application requirements. Taking that risk off the table makes private networks a great option for event locations, as well as large convention centers.
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