Private 5G networks

Industry turns to private 5G to speed digital change | Financial Times

Regulators are allocating 5G telecoms spectrum to companies, though — which is making easier for them to buy their own private 5G networks that do not share traffic with other networks.

They are doing so as they need “reliable connectivity, security and more connected devices on [their] networks”, explains Tami Erwin, executive vice-president and chief executive of Verizon Business, a telecommunications and technology company.

I became aware of private 5G networks when Amazon announced it last year. This is likely to be a “game-changer” since it will be easy to provision 5G networks (and the edge computing) in a matter of days.

Private 5G How it works

Data connectivity remains the core for a connected enterprise (and healthcare isn’t different). I have previously worked on the idea of having an “onco-genomics” pipeline that will require considerable throughput of data. It includes data from “Internet of Things” – essentially beacons and embedded hardware. It will bring in “spatial-awareness” and make it easier to track something as mundane as a urine sample.

Here’s more from the linked write up:

Companies can build and run their own 5G networks, or outsource the work to telecoms operators, equipment manufacturers and tech groups. Data is gathered from sensors in the machines that make batteries for electric cars. It is then analysed and processed by technologies including AI and ‘edge’ computing — processing that is done near the source of the data instead of in data centres or the cloud.

I am not passing a judgement whether it is the right approach. The associated costs are prohibitive.

For the world’s largest companies — operating at multiple sites in dozens of countries — the cost could run into tens of millions of dollars over the deal lifetime, depending on its complexity, says Jason Leigh, research manager and 5G expert at research company IDC.

I need to mention here that life-time deals are usually negotiated and hard coded in legal contracts without public scrutiny. Purchase decisions are completely unrelated to the field, and most companies (network vendors) will be hard-pressed to recoup their investments from the “technological demonstrators”. Therefore, you can witness a lot of colourful banter around “engaging with the leadership” and “innovators” – though they’d be shilling for the first wave of investments.

Private 5G networks should remain as a viable business decision though. One reason is that it isolates the core network from a public-facing network, and that will limit a “cyber-attack”. Egress of data in the private network can be locked down, which should technically require multiple approvals, for example for “data-analysis”. Let’s just say it will facilitate captive data analysis and processing.

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