Private 4G and 5G networks are attracting the attention of companies who can now explore potential automated Industry 4.0 applications powered by systems provided by Betacom at MxD’s Factory Floor Lab, the Digital Manufacturing Institute and the National Center for Cybersecurity in Country manufacturing.
Betacom CEO Johan Bjorklund said his company has been building telecommunications networks for more than three decades, but is now introducing a managed services offering designed to solve one of the most important problems – the lack of 4G and 5G knowledge – noted by companies showing interest in private networks.
“For a company, even though it may be very large, it is very difficult for them to acquire this expertise in a very short period of time, so that they can deploy and own their own network, let alone manage their own network,” Bjorklund said. during a webinar held last week on the announcement of MxD. “We are all about private wireless: we deploy, design and manage networks.
“We already had a lot of expertise in-house, we brought that expertise together and then added the management component to it to allow companies to build and own their own private wireless network without adding a single staff to their IT department. overall. We take care of all of this transparently for them.
These sentiments echoed Bjorklund’s messages about Betacom that he expressed during an interview with IWCE Urgent Communications.
“Our business philosophy is really all B2B,” Bjorklund said in the interview. “It’s about putting 4G and 5G networks in the hands of enterprises, so they can own their own private wireless networks without all the complexity of having to learn the whole ecosystem around telecommunications, 3GPP technologies, etc. We manage all of this seamlessly, so customers don’t have to add staff to their IT departments.
Betacom staff members can remotely monitor the performance of customer networks, but they do not have access to the content being transmitted over the systems, so the company retains all of the independence associated with owning a network. private, according to Bjorklund.
“We have a network operations center, which we call the SSOC, where we basically manage and monitor all of our networks from a centralized location,” he said. “We use machine learning and artificial intelligence a lot for statistical reporting and analysis on our networks, so we try to be as proactive as possible. So if we start to see trends – things that happening in different places – we can hopefully take action before we have an event or an outage.
“This is our added value. A company can literally come to us and we can take care of everything from soup to nuts, but it’s their private wireless network. They can decide what goes on there, and they can use it as much as they want, it’s their network. We’re just behind the scenes to manage it, and we have the staff to do it.
Bjorklund said this approach also allows companies to dictate their cybersecurity policies as they wish.
“From a cybersecurity perspective, that means they have control over all of their data at all times,” Bjorklund said. “It’s very attractive to large manufacturers, robotics companies, airports and other companies we work with.
“What we hear from a lot of these companies is that they just want to be inside their own firewalls because they can control that environment. This way, it’s just easier for their IT department to know what’s inside, and they don’t have to worry about what’s going on outside.
Bjorklund said Betacom has deployed a 4G network — operating on General Authorized Access (GAA) licenses in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) 3.5 GHz band — at 22 MxD Lab facilities. 000 square feet in Chicago earlier this year and recently completed an on-site 5G network using the same spectrum.
For years, private wireless networks were mostly limited to the use of Wi-Fi, but the popular technology is not designed for mobility and does not provide the type of Quality of Service (QoS) and characteristics of security that enterprises seek for mission-critical enterprises. and critical applications. In contrast, both 4G and 5G are designed as mobile connectivity technologies that support quality of service and security as outlined in the 3GPP standards protocol, Bjorklund said.
A company’s choice for a 4G or 5G private network can largely depend on the type of applications running and the time frame for network deployment. Bjorklund said 5G offers latencies of less than 10 milliseconds per second, while latencies associated with private 4G networks can be as high as 80 milliseconds per second.
“I guess over 90% of use cases will probably be satisfied with 4G, because 4G is good enough,” Bjorklund said. “But with the arrival of 5G, we can now add even more use cases with even more requirements for latency, speed, etc.”
In addition to Betacom, other vendor partners participating in the development of MxD are Airpan Networks, provider of the new 5G radio access network, and Druid Software, which provides the Raemis 5G core software, according to a press release on the MxD announcement.
“We are delighted to support our Betacom partners at MxD and join this esteemed group of advanced manufacturing technology companies,” Druid Software CEO Liam Kenny said in a prepared statement. “Our Raemis 5G SA platform is ideal for delivering the lowest possible latency and guaranteed quality of service (QoS) needed for these Industry 4.0 use cases as this group works to redefine manufacturing standards worldwide.”
Some of the companies testing the private wireless capabilities of the MxD facility include high-profile entities like Dow, Siemens and John Deere, Bjorklund said.
“(MxD) is a lab for these companies to try new technologies and processes, with the goal of bringing more manufacturing back to the United States,” Bjorklund said, noting that energy costs and the challenges of supply chain have generated greater meaning. urgently to establish highly automated manufacturing facilities closer to customers.
MxD Technical Fellow Tony Del Sesto said he thinks companies like Betacom are playing an important role in making private wireless networks practical for businesses, especially those without large IT staffs.
“A lot of people don’t realize that 98% of manufacturers in the United States are small and medium-sized businesses, and a lot of them think, ‘I can’t do 5G, it’s only for big business.’ .” said Del Sesto during the webinar. “But…Betacom made it easy. They handle the installation from start to finish. They handle configuration, commissioning, testing, verification and sub- contractors.
“I think one of the important advances [for private networking] …it doesn’t have to be difficult. Companies like Betacom can make it easy for you. It was just a matter of interfacing with our cybersecurity and IT teams, making sure we had configurations, both from a WAN and LAN perspective, to give them remote access, but at the same time we control access internally.
“So it really is the best of both worlds. We had the ease of installation and expertise of Betacom, but we still manage access and security within our own system.
Airspan COO Glenn Laxdal highlighted the need for enterprises to have the reliable and robust performance of a private 4G or 5G network to support automated critical operations.
“You need a wireless network that provides mobility, security, and precise geolocation of the device you’re tracking to enable these automated use cases,” Laxdal said during the webinar. “And there are a myriad of automated use cases, whether it’s smart warehousing, smart manufacturing, oil and gas, mining, or transportation.
“There are myriad use cases, and what will happen is that devices – whatever device you want to control – will have 4G and 5G sensors…and those devices will be controlled by the network we are creating here.”
This private network technology could be applied to many types of solutions, but Bjorklund said Betacom is currently focused on three sectors: logistics, manufacturing and airports/airlines. Bjorklund noted a deployment at Dallas/Fort Worth airport, where private networking has enabled more efficient use of baggage scanning technology.
“We were basically able to increase the efficiency of baggage handling by about 22%,” Bjorklund said in an interview with IWCE Urgent Communications. “The end result was a 22% faster aircraft gate turnaround at Dallas/Fort Worth for American Airlines.”