Private LTE? What are you talking about???

July 18, 2017


Shared Spectrum strategies like the USA Citizens Broadband Radio Service “CBRS” unlock the pent up demand for Private LTE. CBRS reduces the barriers to entry for enterprises that, in the past, had a tough time accessing spectrum for private cellular.

So, why would anyone ever want to build Private LTE? Well, enterprises with wireless requirements for deterministic timing, controlled bandwidth, true mobility, long signal reach and privacy have not been able to meet them. The system architects in these enterprises view Private LTE operating in CBRS as the emergent ideal solution. We have witnessed that progressive enterprise IT architects envision their wireless ecosystem as a balanced diet of enterprise-owned Wi-Fi and LTE that can seamlessly satisfy the present and future needs of business applications.

As we move to the enterprise market from the mobile operator market, how each Private LTE system networks its radios together are front of mind for the enterprise. Enterprises are seeking Private LTE architectures that deploy like Wi-Fi and leverage the enterprise-wide Cat5e cabling and Ethernet/IP transport infrastructure in-place today.

We believe that SpiderCloud E-RAN is uniquely architected for maximum synergy with today’s enterprise networks, and their future directions. The other competing Radio Access Network “RAN” products that an enterprise can acquire to create their own Private LTE instance all have their own unique architectures that will fail the enterprise screening process in many ways.

What questions should responsible architects ask of Private LTE network vendors?

  • Is the network built on standard Ethernet/IP technology? If not, it requires the construction of another parallel infrastructure. Example: the network is proprietary technology or a DAS.
  • Can the network share the existing Ethernet/IP transport network? If not, it requires the construction of another parallel infrastructure. Example: If it uses CPRI over Ethernet. Sharing not possible due to massive traffic load generated on the Ethernet.
  • Is the network approved for connection to any mobile operators? Any IT application that plans to use the macro-cellular (outdoor) network, must be approved for a connection to the desired mobile operator. If the vendor cannot list any of the four Tier-1 USA mobile operators as approved for connection, that’s a problem.
  • Can the network be shared by Private LTE, and one or more mobile operators? CBRS spectrum can support multiple service providers, so make sure the network can!
  • Is network capacity added in common headend or just at the spot where it’s needed? Spot capacity is much lower cost than addition of a base station in the headend.

A network vendor that cannot answer yes to all five simple questions can still build out a Private LTE network for the enterprise.

But, it could mean:

  • Extra construction cost of parallel physical transport
  • Unplanned space and HVAC requirements in MDF/IDFs
  • Lack of agility in handling network expansion
  • Impossible to add connection to a mobile operator(s)
  • Capacity issues that are expensive to remedy

IF YOU ARE NOT IN AN ENTERPRISE IT ROLE, PLEASE SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH! As an enterprise architect in a multi-national, prior to joining SpiderCloud, I urge enterprise IT people who are researching the addition of Private LTE to their wireless ecosystem to get educated, and look before you leap. Cellular is a totally different universe than Wi-Fi, and you have to ask the right questions. Many vendors can make a sale and install a Private LTE system for you that won’t support your future needs. Failure to ask the right questions in researching the solution space, or in an RFP could result in your enterprise painting itself into the corner.

We have authored a comprehensive Private LTE white paper for enterprise IT application, network and telecom architect readers that explores business demands, vertical market applications, a CBRS primer and solution architecture overview. Get it now!

– Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Twitter: @ArtKingg

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