What are 5G private networks for? Not just low latency, it turns out.
Much of the buzz around NPNs is focused on low latency performance for demanding industrial or vertical applications. But users will also need access to classical B2B services – and not all NPNs are designed for factories or ports, as a recent deployment in the UK reveals.
NPNs are seen as key to driving new B2B revenue – but they are not just for data
5G private networks – often referred to as “Non Public Networks” are attracting huge attention and are expected to be a key B2B proposition for MNOs, MVNOs, SIs and others. Many of these are likely to be optimised for different performance targets, offering low latency for a range of demanding applications.
In this context, many commentators believe that such NPNs will likely be primarily for data-driven services and often associated with edge computing resources and capabilities. Some have wondered how this will impact traditional services – will the NPN also include access to user-related services, such as mobile PBX and UC functions, for example?
We think the answer is yes, for a variety of reasons. First, while many devices will connect to NPNs, so too must users. They will want to capitalise on a better, localised network. Second, they may also need differentiated services, which can be delivered in this environment – with specific QoS settings for particular sessions and users, as well as control of media functionality. Third, communications services may need to be associated with a particular event or action – consider a multi-party session to discuss an urgent medical case, or one between first responders in a critical situation.
Services need to be available in the NPN, in other networks and in different slices
There are many such examples (we’ll explore others in future posts) and there will be complexities associated with their delivery – if users are in different slices, if people outside the NPN need to be included with the same service levels, for instance – but there are also going to be cases in which classic B2B services will be delivered over isolated NPNs that are not optimised for a specific vertical application, but which simply exist to provide enhanced connectivity in a given location.
Take this news, for example. In this case, the network is designed to serve a number of enterprises in a given location and to provide dedicated 5G coverage to them. Note that while this has been delivered by a tower company, MNOs can also do the same to extend infrastructure or to super-charge a specific zone.
Here, the network is not required to deliver specific capabilities for a single factory, but rather to enhance connectivity for a number of companies that may be active in different spheres. So, the delivery of relevant communications services to users within the zone is a logical next step – as is the extension of these capabilities to users when they move from the zone to another location or network.
NPNs must cater for different needs – and deliver enhanced B2B communications
We expect to see many more examples of this kind of activity, and are working to define communications services that can provide a seamless experience to users in and out of the designated area. As such, a core B2B offer needs to be available so that it can be offered as an extension to the packages selected by users in the NPN.
So, if you are building out your NPN portfolio, you also need to think about classical services that can be delivered alongside advanced 5G services, so that you can meet the needs of, not just specialists, but also of general users within the private domain.
At the same time, you should also consider how to deliver these services seamlessly when users and devices move between domains. That’s a challenge we’re solving, so why not talk to us and see how you can augment your NPN offers with a range of optimised, powerful B2B services?