Thanks to the incredible power of the internet, we’ve seen businesses of all types grow to include multiple locations. Healthcare, package delivery & manufacturing companies, higher education and retail of all types need to share data between team members who might be across town or even across the country.
Here are just few examples of businesses with a critical need to share:
- Hospitals share sensitive patient data, manage countless devices and applications, and keep families connected without interruption. Reliable, connected communication is required through hospitals fleet of ambulances.
- Shipping physical materials among multiple site locations
- Retail stores track data from point-of-sale devices, digital signage, and security systems.
- Universities manage online-based curriculum, data for hundreds of staff and students, and wireless access systems.
- Corporate offices of all types need to share documents and operational and financial data.
Each of these organizations faces the same issue; they risk losing millions of dollars without a secure, fast, and reliable network. For example, when you send a communication to a separate office, with its own broadband connection and internal network, you rely on the public network to carry your message, file or data. Which can lead to issues around speed, security and reliability.
WiFi networks are reaching their limits. Public network outages and data breaches can have long-term impacts, as we continue to see in the news headlines each year. We’re seeing more businesses turn to cloud-based apps and countless IoT devices to manage their operations. All this makes scalability and security top concerns for growing businesses. New business locations put more strain on networks not designed to handle today’s demands. That’s why many organizations are turning to Private LTE networks to keep their organization from falling behind the curve.
What is a Private LTE Network?
Private LTE networks use small cells and micro tower antennas to create a self-contained version of the public networks deployed by wireless carriers. Only authorized devices can access a private network, resulting in less congestion and better security. These networks can operate on a licensed, shared, or unlicensed spectrum. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. What’s best for an organization will come down to their unique situation.
A promising area for businesses is the 3.5 GHz Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS), a radio spectrum between 3550 and 3700 MHz. This shared spectrum used to be exclusive to the U.S. military for radar systems but in 2015 the government began opening up the frequency band. The FCC will auction off priority access to the spectrum, but it will otherwise be available for enterprise Private LTE networks.
The American Dream project is one of the nation’s initial commercial deployments using the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Spectrum and OnGo Ecosystem in the United States.
Delivering reliable and high-performance wireless service to a venue of large scale and complexity presented a challenge: How to provide the wireless infrastructure to support expansive parking, security, and support for future expanded use technologies without exhausting bandwidth for the venue's millions of visitors?
ANS deployed a private LTE network using Citizen Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in partnerships with JMA’s commercial carrier and private wireless technology for American Dream. ANS provided selection, installation, integration and operation of the OnGo service.
Advantages of a Private LTE Network
Private LTE networks offer businesses increased flexibility, more bandwidth, and better security. Using WiFi or public networks can be expensive when managing many locations, not to mention security risk. The versatility and value offered by Private LTE connectivity over the CBRS Spectrum demonstrates the potential for businesses to reach customers in new ways that successfully blend physical and digital worlds.
Flexibility is critical for businesses today. Delays can cost thousands of dollars in sales and productivity. With a Private LTE network, businesses have flexibility in a variety of situations:
- A new retail location can open without waiting for an ISP
- IT teams can remotely manage devices, security, and local area networks (LANs). This can eliminate the need for travel, on-site staff, or outsourcing.
- Temporary locations and field workers can be deployed anywhere without wired connections
Increased flexibility doesn’t come at the cost of reduced bandwidth and speed, either. WiFi networks struggle with latency issues when streaming large amounts of data. Interference can also cause problems when nearby networks are using the same wireless spectrum. And at the scale required for many locations, WiFi can quickly become cost-prohibitive. A Private LTE network is better equipped to handle a large number of devices and applications, without interference.
Network security is top of mind for every single business today. Any device on a network can be vulnerable to a cyber attack, even a multi-function printer. That means security needs to be stronger than just a username and password. LTE devices use SIM cards and access points with advanced security features to protect networks from unauthorized users.
A private LTE network architecture usually includes on-site servers, as well. This gives each location a self-contained network, instead of relying on a public internet connection. This is in addition to the ability to include firewalls, content filtering, and VPNs. Using an SD-WAN, businesses can manage everything remotely.
Future-proofing Branch Networks
Organizations relying on large amounts of data and devices across many locations need a fast, reliable, and secure network. As technology evolves, adopting private LTE networks will keep organizations from falling behind. With 5G on the horizon, it's more important than ever.