Top 5 Myths of Private LTE Debunked
By Safi Khan
April 21, 2020
By Safi Khan
April 21, 2020
New devices, new standards and new use cases are all driving the need for seamless, scalable wireless solutions. Traditional mobile network services cannot always be configured to meet performance, latency and firewalling requirements by enterprises. Private LTE is stepping in to fill the gap.
In the United States, enterprises and operators can utilize LTE technology over a shared spectrum called Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the 3.5 GHz band, also known as Band 48. When used in the implementation of private LTE networks, CBRS offers a variety of benefits for in-building, public space and industrial IoT applications. Fortune 100 companies have already committed to evaluating the potential of CBRS. Infrastructure providers like Nokia are already rolling out private LTE globally; innovative companies such as Ford have announced that they are testing the technology and creating pilot environments.
The future looks bright for LTE, though mired in misconceptions. Let’s look at a few.
The private LTE infrastructure is not dramatically more complex than typical Wi-Fi infrastructures. In many cases, provisioning and managing private LTE is simpler. The technology resides entirely within your organization and offers a variety of tools and frameworks to facilitate rapid provisioning and comprehensive management.
Private LTE does cost more than Wi-Fi. However, private LTE can provide a total cost of ownership (TCO) like Wi-Fi in large-venue deployments and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) scenarios with lower usage. For indoor cellular applications, private LTE offers faster and less expensive deployment than distributed antenna system (DAS) offerings, making it ideal for smaller venues. Furthermore, private LTE offers significant advantages, including interference-free reliability, an advanced LTE security framework and coordinated roaming for superior mobility.
Security has been an issue in Wi-Fi deployments, creating compliance and liability issues for users. In contrast, cellular networks such as private LTE are built from the ground up with end-to-end security in mind — unlike unlicensed wireless standards which typically have addressed security in “bolted-on” overlays.
The SIM card itself is one of the pillars of LTE security. Its built-in encryption algorithms make it impossible to bring a new device onto a network and easily clone or spoof credentials. Private LTE extends SIM requirements to the private network environment, enabling IT to issue credentials that provide the security and control required for mission-critical applications.
Smooth, secure roaming between and within public and private networks is fundamental for a variety of industries, such as mining and transportation. This capability is part of the foundation of cellular technology. With Wi-Fi, a patchwork of software overlays that IT has accumulated handles handoffs. Private LTE requires no overlays to handle soft handoffs either throughout the private network or transiting between private and public coverage areas. Roaming between private and public networks is secure and seamless. Private LTE provides consistent wireless connectivity for mobile devices.
Although Wi-Fi technology is quite capable of scaling, when access points reach a specified device capacity, enterprises must invest in additional equipment and configuration/validation efforts. In contrast, private LTE supports massive volumes of devices on the network while providing low overhead for signaling. With decades of continuous operation and billions of connections per day, cellular technology offers distinct advantages in scalability and market acceptance.
Some have contended that LTE on CBRS is simply a marketing initiative rather than an actual solution for production deployment. CBRS LTE is fully backed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has opened the door for initial commercial implementation of CBRS services by giving the go-ahead to five specified providers to begin offering services built around the band. With this support, providers and manufacturers have begun joint development efforts to implement the FCC framework, prepare the industry for deployments and certify devices and components.
The potential of CBRS and private LTE is clear, and Telit is a leader in this space. Telit was the first top-tier IoT and mobile broadband module vendor to join the CBRS Alliance, an organization focused on supporting the development, commercialization and adoption of LTE and 5G solutions for the CBRS band.
To learn more about how Telit private LTE modules can address your needs for seamless, scalable, secure wireless connectivity, visit www.telit.com/private-lte-cbrs-network-solutions/.
 The purpose of the CBRS Alliance is to “support the common interests of members, implementers and operators for the development, commercialization, and adoption of LTE solutions for the US 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service.” Their mission is to spread the word about OnGo technology, a wireless connectivity solution.