As digital transformation – the process by which companies are embedding innovative technologies across their businesses to drive fundamental changes within daily processes – continues to grow, the variety of new devices and applications are providing increased efficiency and greater business agility. Ultimately DX strategies are unlocking new value for employees, customers, and shareholders. However, while there is an abundance of technologies that can offer benefits to an enterprise, one truly stands above the rest : the Internet of Things (IoT) and its related devices.
Many, if not all, industries are now turning to the power of IoT technology to optimize their daily processes, leveraging devices that range from ordinary household objects to sophisticated industrial tools. Embedded with sensors, software , and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging real-time data with other devices and systems over the Internet. IoT offers advantages in efficiency and productivity, but is most prominent for the ability to automate and deliver enhanced connectivity.
With the variety of benefits the technology can offer, the rapid and recent growth of the IoT market comes as no surprise. While still relatively new, the market is already booming. According to the latest research, the number of IoT-connected devices globally reached 11.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to increase quickly. While some studies predict the number of devices to steadily increase, reaching 22 billion by 2025, others are even more bullish, projecting the total number of IoT devices to reach 31 billion by that time.
To enable the connectivity needed for these IoT deployments, 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 the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum in the United States.
According to Chris Swan, Chief Commercial Officer 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, a small area in northern Virginia comprising three neighborhoods and is 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,” added Swan. “We’ll have robots, holograms, digital twin, drones, and other cutting edge IoT running on 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.
Swan further explained that, because the solution is built on the shared spectrum, enterprises can expect faster and more affordable deployments, as well as improved security and performance because data never has to leave the property or cross a public network.
Despite these benefits, however, the CBRS spectrum — precisely because it is a shared spectrum — runs the risk of interference from other users. That is why Federate 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.”
The main hurdle with private wireless in the past has been associated with network dependence, as the core feature is the immense amount of interconnections between various devices and access to the global network. For this reason, IoT devices additionally require an infrastructure that ensures uninterrupted wired and wireless communication with high throughput, low latency, and constant access to the Internet.
Fortunately for enterprises wanting to leverage IoT devices, the recent rise of private wireless networks, especially CBRS and 5G, has given them an opportunity to adopt a network that offers the desired level of connectivity for IoT technology.
A private network is any connection within a specified network wherein restrictions are established to promote a secured environment. This type of network can be configured in such a way that devices outside the network cannot access it.
The major benefit of a private network is that data traffic doesn’t have to travel back and forth to a remote core like it would with a public network, which lowers latency and improves speeds, security, and data privacy. Private networks also allow enterprises to control how the bandwidth is distributed across the organization.
“Our customers’ IoT applications and devices need real-time performance and response that they can only achieve with a Private Wireless Network. On top of that, many require privacy to protect their assets and R&D programs when they are developing and testing technology before launching new products. We’re establishing 5G Private Wireless research labs for system integrators and government clients to enable their programs.”
Among private networks, the quickest growing type is private 5G networks. The fifth-generation wireless technology enables ultra-reliable, high-speed, low-latency, power-efficient, high-density wireless connectivity, helping spur a variety of innovations while also allowing enterprises to leverage the technology already available more efficiently, including Industrial IoT (IIoT).
Much like 5G in general, private 5G is only recently beginning to pick up steam globally but has rapidly grown since the interest in the technology began. The global private 5G network market size is estimated to reach $14.28 billion by 2028. Deloitte predicts that over the next decade, hundreds of thousands of companies will deploy private 5G networks.
With the variety of advantages a private wireless network offers enterprises, both in general and associated with IoT devices, many organizations are increasingly looking for ways to leverage their own private wireless network. However, managing these networks adds complexities on top of an already complicated set-up with the myriad technology being commonly used by businesses. For this reason, enterprises are really looking for a partner that can offer them all the benefits of a private wireless network with none of the headaches associated with managing one.
Swan closed by sharing, “We’re at the beginning of a wireless renaissance as 5G and WiFi 6E shared spectrum solutions become game changers for the industry. Finally, IoT, Digital Transformation, and other key programs have a fast, reliable, and secure way to meet their mission. We’re excited to be an enabling partner to anyone with these goals.”
Edited by Erik Linask