Digital transformation has forever changed how business is done, with innovative devices and applications adding ease and optimization into daily tasks for enterprises and consumers.
This new dependency on technology has also created new points of priority for businesses, the most prominent being the new emphasis on network technology. In today's new digital age, network infrastructure has become the backbone of an enterprise's day-to-day operations, making an unreliable, inflexible, and expensive network severely detrimental to modern-day businesses.
For many organizations, the path to improving their network infrastructure leads them to one of the most prominent technologies of digital transformation, private wireless networking. 5G is expected to change the way businesses work extensively and the way people live, being faster and able to handle more connected devices than existing 4G LTE networks. With the opening up of new spectrum bands, including Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS, a 150 MHz wide broadcast band of the 3.5 GHz band in the United States,) cellular enterprise networks offer high data rates (1-20 Gbit/s), ultra-low latency (1 ms), high security, reliability and scalability, all which will help fuel transformative new technologies.
Federated Wireless announced a new solution designed to simplify enterprise private wireless networking by putting the entire stack together and selling Private Wireless as a Service based on CBRS spectrum in the United States.
According to Chris Swan, COO at Federated Wireless, "Enterprise customers don't want to buy a single network component; they need someone to design, deploy and manage their connected things with Private Wireless holistically."
The announcement comes just after Federated Wireless revealed a new partnership with mixed-use property developer JBG Smith to deploy 5G private wireless in National Landing, which is a small area in northern Virginia comprising three neighborhoods; it’s also home to Amazon H2Q. JBG Smith is Federated's first commercially announced private wireless-as-a-service customer.
Using the licensed CBRS spectrum that JBG Smith acquired in 2020 that covers all of Arlington County and the city of Alexandria, the pair will create an interoperable 5G private network showcase in National Landing to support areas like IoT, AI, advanced robotics, AR/VR and edge and cloud computing.
As part of the strategic partnership, Federated Wireless will relocate its corporate headquarters to National Landing, occupying approximately 36,000 square feet of office space.
"We're not only relocating but also building an Innovation Ecosystem Showcase for customers and partners to participate in Private Wireless, including CBRS and WiFi 6E technologies," said Swan. "We'll have robots, holograms, digital twin, drones, and other cutting edge IoT running on the shared spectrum in National Landing."
The private wireless-as-a-service, currently being used by JBG Smith, offers a 3-step model — order, onboard, and scale — for enterprises to get started with 4G and 5G connectivity and promises to get the network up and running in only two weeks.
The ordering step takes place on Federated Wireless' "cloudified" marketplace. Here, enterprise decision-makers define the requirements of their use case and the location of their first deployment.
Then, the first private wireless node is installed and onboarded with its initial connected devices and applications. Customers then have an RF and network design plan in place that can scale to cover larger areas with additional users, applications, and devices.
Because the solution is built on the shared spectrum, enterprises can expect faster and more affordable deployments and improved security and performance because data never has to leave the property or cross a public network.
Despite these benefits, the CBRS spectrum — precisely because it is a shared spectrum — runs the risk of interference from other users. That is why Federated Wireless says it is dedicated to helping its customers find a quality, clean spectrum – interference-free even when areas become more densely populated.
"We are going in and helping customers achieve that interference-free deployment even when somebody drops another CBRS radio in," said Swan. "Our business is CBRS, shared spectrum; this is the foundation of what our business is built on."
Federated Wireless is helping fill the demand for private wireless networks, which started roughly two years ago when the FCC decided to auction off CBRS, which refers to 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3550 MHz to 3700 MHz range, 3.5 GHz to 3.7 GHz. The decision to auction off the CBRS meant that, for the first time, the availability of low-cost, shared wireless spectrum using the CBRS in the 3.5-3.7 GHz band now allowed enterprises to own and operate private LTE and 5G networks.
This growing interest from enterprises is part of the current "democratization" of private LTE and 5G, enabled by local spectrum allocations, cloud, and edge-based core networks, and a rapidly growing ecosystem of vendors and integrators is happening quite swiftly. Tens of thousands of private cellular networks will be deployed over the next few years. According to a new forecast from IDC, the global market for private LTE and 5G wireless infrastructure is tipped to grow almost fourfold during the next five years and be worth a whopping $8.3 billion in 2026.
Swan added, "We're seeing the need for a true Service Delivery Partner for enterprise Private Wireless. Someone who understands Spectrum Design, Management, IoT integration, site deployment, and the real ROI goals and timelines businesses are trying to achieve."
As private wireless networks grow in popularity, enterprises are increasingly looking for ways to adopt their own private networks. However, the complexities of implementing and managing a private wireless network may be a daunting task for some businesses who lack technological know-how, which makes finding a partner for the project a much more appealing option for organizations.
CBRS helps enable enterprise apps that require real-time decision-making at the edge and demand AI-based learning models in the cloud. Such apps automate traditionally manual tasks at work and allow workers and employees to access valuable insights immediately. CBRS can play a critical role in improving and optimizing any vertical in any industry, which is what makes the technology so desirable among nearly all enterprises today.
Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.
Edited by Erik Linask