How to Avoid Private LTE Pitfalls
By Jim Wert
May 5, 2020
Private LTE is gaining traction among organizations looking to support scalable, seamless, wireless connectivity for innovative use cases. To realize the full potential of the technology, however, you need a strategic approach. A successful implementation requires more than merely dropping new hardware into an existing system and walking away.
This blog examines some of the common pitfalls that organizations face as they plan and execute rollouts of private LTE and offers some recommendations to help ensure that your deployment delivers the business outcomes you expect.
It’s vital to think ahead so that you understand the long-term use cases for your devices on the network. Although one of the benefits of private LTE is its tremendous flexibility, you’ll need to choose a deployment strategy that will fully align with your needs well into the future — for example, taking asset mobility needs into account. The choices you make early in your solution design will heavily influence the paths you can follow in the future.
Once you’ve committed to an approach, some problems may not manifest until you are far into implementation, and the cost of fixing system architecture issues at that stage can be very high. The right technology partner can help you develop a strategy to support a high-quality private LTE design and rollout with minimal surprises. That’s why it’s vital to engage an integrator that has real private LTE experience and to choose a technology vendor that has proven deployments with their solutions.
Before you leap into private LTE, be sure you have a thorough understanding of what it means to deploy a private cellular network solution cut off from the outside world. What if your system architecture includes mobile assets that need to travel outside your corporate campus boundaries and remain fully connected to the private cloud inside your corporate firewall? A private LTE device with no support for commercial mobile access won’t work for that. You may need to consider equipping these mobile assets with a cellular network adapter capable of “roaming” onto public commercial networks around your campus and across the geographies that asset will traverse in the course of its business function.
It gets more complicated if your organization is bound by business or regulatory compliance requirements that prohibit sharing information outside your private cloud. If your device requires location services provided by a third party, you’ll be sharing your device’s internal location data with that vendor, and you cannot guarantee how they will use it. You’ll need to work carefully to ensure that your deployment gives you the business value you need while protecting you from these risks.
Device management can lead to another pitfall for organizations planning a private LTE deployment. If you’re using an external device management solution, that solution can introduce security risks because it resides outside your private cloud or on-premise system. Depending on your security and compliance requirements, you may need a private device management solution that allows your organization to completely manage your devices from within your secure, on-premise, controlled network and your own data center.
Some organizations may prefer to use an on-premises instance of an IoT managed device portal that can be deployed together with the private LTE. This solution lets organizations take advantage of robust device management capabilities, without the security exposure.
A methodical, informed approach to private LTE deployment can position you to unlock key business outcomes, faster. Every organization wants to accelerate time to market and keep budgets in line. A strategic approach will help you reduce the risks associated with migrating or augmenting Wi-Fi and other legacy systems to private LTE. The right approach to data management, device access and network architecture helps your organization meet security and compliance requirements more effectively while optimizing data flow and usage. The right strategy can also help you prepare and ease your migration to emerging technologies like private 5G.
Adding private LTE to your corporate IT network architecture is a significant decision, and planning is critical to success. Engaging early with an experienced technology vendor with proven solutions and deployments across a variety of use cases can put you on the right path. Telit is an industry leader with industrial IoT, 5G and private LTE deployment experience and an extensive history of championing the development, commercialization and streamlining of mobile wireless solutions.
To learn more about how Telit private LTE network adapters and managed services can address your needs for seamless, scalable, secure wireless connectivity, read “Dispelling the Top Five Myths of Private LTE.”