By Mark Bole, Quortus
Private wireless networking is gaining ground in the U.S., and rapidly so, too. The closing of the CBRS auctions in 2020 has seen more enterprises across the U.S. look to unlock the inherent benefits of owning and operating their own networks – better connectivity, improved control, greater reliability, improved security, and perhaps most importantly, greater cost efficiency. While few doubt the vast potential of what private networks can provide, most enterprises will require support and encouragement from the supporting ecosystem to move from concept to deployment.
The channel that can support private network deployments and be ready to alleviate any concerns that exist in the minds of enterprise buyers, as well as ensure they receive the infrastructure that best suits their needs and use case, will add immeasurable value to those customers and build stronger and longer relationships. Technology vendors, resellers, and systems integrators must work closely, in tandem, to not only promote the undoubted promise of private networks—whether that be private LTE, 5G, or hybrid solutions that include cellular and Wi-Fi options—but also demonstrate a clear understanding of the material difference they will make to an enterprise according to the markets they operate in and the systems and applications they wish to support.
Boon For Private Networks
While not a new phenomenon, private networks are quickly grabbing the attention of many enterprises wanting to change how they approach connectivity provision. In fact, a 2021 forecast from industry analyst firm IDC revealed that the private LTE/5G infrastructure market is set to reach $5.7 billion in 2024. While the demand is there, deploying a private network solution is no easy feat, especially for the enterprises more accustomed to the world of IT networking, as opposed to telecoms networking. This is where the channel can act as a bridge between these two worlds, guiding and providing support for enterprises choosing to embark on their private networks journey.
Understanding The Need
Before deploying any connectivity solution, a channel partner can play an important role in determining the need of the end enterprise—what will they require from their network; what kind of capacity/reliability needs do they have? What about security requirements? How robust do these need to be? It’s important to remember that, unlike public macro networks, private networks rarely adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach and each enterprise will have its own parameters according to the applications it relies on, the industry and sectors it serves, and the customers it caters to. What’s more, channel partners can ensure that private network solutions are future-proofed to suit the end enterprise as their needs evolve.
From there, channel partners can work together with end enterprises to deploy the best private network solution for them. This will include:
- Finding the right technology: Private networks can encompass cellular, wi-fi, or a hybrid of the two technologies. In some scenarios, cellular deployments will make the most sense, for example, a university deployment connecting different campuses, while in others, such as factory settings with IoT sensors and devices, Wi-Fi or hybrid deployments could be the most appropriate.
- Managing their solution: Channel partners can provide support and guidance when it comes to managing a private network solution, as well as manage these on the behalf of end enterprises. Although a typical enterprise may already have a well-versed IT team capable of handling Wi-Fi network management, the skillset is different from what is required to deploy and manage a private network solution. Channel partners can therefore provide this much-needed skillset thus removing the huge learning curve that can be associated with deploying or adopting new technologies or solutions.
By leaning on the expertise of channel partners, enterprises can benefit from private network solutions quickly, without encountering major roadblocks. What’s more, they can reduce some of the cost typically incurred when deploying new technologies—for example, removing the need to hire new staff or retrain existing employees to manage their new private network solution.
For many enterprises, private networking will prove to be extremely beneficial when it comes to meeting their connectivity needs today, and in the future as their requirements evolve and shift. In fact, early adopters who have already taken the plunge are already reaping the benefits of their solutions.
By leveraging the expertise and know-how of channel partners, enterprises can ensure they get the most value from their new private networking solutions without the typical headaches associated with replacing or deploying new connectivity provisions. Channel partners must be on hand to offer the right guidance, carefully understanding the specific needs of the individual end enterprise. In doing so, we’ll begin to see more enterprises embrace and reap the benefits of private networking solutions.
About The Author
Mark Bole is the CEO of Quortus.