Private Mobile Networks and the IoT: Why Do Companies Still Need a Private Core Network?

Technology

In the past few years, the global Private Mobile Network (PMN) market has experienced exceptional growth as enterprises develop use cases that it can serve. These use cases primarily require high performance and guaranteed service in the field, regardless of location. In other words, a key driver of PMNs is the Internet of Things.

PMNs consist of a private Radio Access Network (RAN) and private core network that enable the creation of secure, private, and robust network connections for industries like healthcare, transportation, and more. 

The following defines PMNs in more detail and answers the question, “do I need a private mobile network?”

What is a Private Mobile Network?

A PMN is a system of connections that allows companies to take advantage of mobile voice and data services as if the endpoints were operating on a local network. In PMNs, mobile phones and other types of end nodes interoperate on PMNs using protocols like IP and the session initiation protocol (SIP), which are compatible with cellular networks.

Because PMNs are primarily software-based solutions, they can leverage any available network infrastructure to enable connectivity access in areas where deploying a new network is cost-prohibitive or there is high-level mobile usage with no GSM or poor GSM network coverage. 

In summary, in the places where data privacy is an issue, PMN serves as a localized communication format assisted by built-in GSM security measures, if available. 

Does a Private Network Actually Matter Much?

PMNs use the same technology as normal mobile networks that are managed by public operators with one key difference:  the core network infrastructure of a PMN is located entirely on site at the company. This affords the company absolute control over the network. 

Normally, accessing data from a third-party core network has an impact on latency, but this is reduced in a PMN because the data access point and the core network are one and the same. Therefore, PMNs can accelerate processes in IoT systems.

But that’s just the beginning of PMN benefits for IoT and mobile network users. If you have any of the following network requirements, it may be time to consider a PMN.

  1. High Performance – As more IoT devices are added to enterprise networks, low-latency and high bandwidth become paramount requirements. The move from Wi-Fi to cellular with a PMN provide this high throughput, low latency performance boost and can make systems more reliable as well by guaranteeing service availability. PMNs also provide operators with the ability to create policies around traffic prioritization.
  2. Guaranteed Coverage – Another advantage of PMNs is that use cases in offshore oil rigs, hospitals, remote mining sites, etc. must be operational in areas with poor coverage or no coverage. As a software solution, PMNs can easily enable the company employees to access the resources in a secure manner.
  3. Compliance – Mobile operators require compliance with certain security and IT policies, but PMNs allow the operating company to implement their own regulations. In addition, special security requirements can be integrated with these internal policies, which has been a game-changer for many businesses as it can streamline processes. An example of this is the inherent ability to split traffic onto secure and non-secured packet gateways depending on the application or traffic type.
  4. Management and Control – A PMN allows any organization to implement seamless roaming functionality without any external compliance requirements depending on how they architect their system. It’s completely up to the company and the structure of their devices, apps, and core network. And, similar to network policies, the flexible nature of PMNs means that organizations can implement rules around how developers or their clients access and transfer data.
  5. Easy Ecosystem – Any company’s PMN can also easily be turned into a shared ecosystem of regional partners. Because an organization has complete control over the system, network slicing can be used to provide different stakeholders with the appropriate level of security and access control. Unlike a WiFi network, the handover from one base station or network slice to another is simplified on a PMN.

Meet the Privacy and Flexibility Requirements of IoT Networks

As the requirements of IoT and mobile networks evolve, it’s important that companies have solutions that can be tuned to their specific needs. These needs can vary from one organization to the next, and differ across parameters like performance, coverage, compliance, control, and management, which demands extreme network flexibility today and in the future.

A PMN benefits both technical and business stakeholders across of these vectors and more, and can serve as the backbone of an organization’s IT infrastructure moving forward.