The social network

While most of us have come to appreciate fast, reliable internet on a completely new level, enterprises have been relying on an area of telecoms that is by no means prioritized by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) - the IoT.  IoT connections are growing faster than the mobile handset business… at a rate of around 20% per annum for the next 5 years, and so IoT is becoming increasingly important to the telecoms business.

The infrastructure of telecoms has catered to the needs of consumers long before GPS technology and machine-to-machine communications were conceived. These days, however, the trillions of tiny data packets that comprise IoT communications have become an essential utility, opening up international operations that would be impossible without real-time, large-scale connectivity.

While the capacity is there for MNOs to cater to enterprises using IoT, the data requirements for the majority of IoT devices is much, much lower than the average smartphone, and so the revenue for each unit is significantly lower - but the volume of IoT devices is much, much greater with estimates ranging between seven billion and twenty-two billion devices. Telcos’ focus on consumers has led to lower capacity bands such as 2G and 3G being shut down in some regions to make way for faster 4G and 5G bands.

Many IoT applications roam across multiple countries and networks and so MNOs need to work with roaming partners in areas where they may not have visibility or the requisite network performance. Because of the relative stability of the licensed cellular bands and the need to roam unimpeded between networks, embedded SIMs, which enable international and global connectivity are set to play a pivotal role, because of their ability to connect to multiple networks on one SIM card. Enterprises that operate globally may therefore have to pay a premium to connect to multiple different MNOs around the globe.

This is where virtual MNOs (or MVNOs) come in. MVNOs lease spectrum from hundreds of different networks around the globe and offer businesses a connectivity package that could cover the whole globe, rather than offering one network that might restrict a business's operations. Looking past the sheer volume of consumer traffic that MNOs cater to, MVNOs have looked to provide more flexible connectivity services - adopting new technologies and making agreements with a multitude of smaller operators and the largest carriers.

A new breed of enterprise network operator (ENO) gives an enterprise further network control by providing managed services for them to run their own networks. Private LTE networks function within the 4G LTE band, taking advantage of increased access to the network core, enabled by the MVNO model, and utilising unlicensed spectrum that has been auctioned off in some areas for enterprise use.

Private Cellular Networks (PCNs) replicate the functionality of public 4G/5G networks, but are owned and managed by the user, which enables precise control of networking functionality. Moreover, they perform as if they were an extension of corporate LANs: data is intrinsically secure because it stays on site, and doesn’t need to be transmitted to the MNO. PCNs are ideal for edge computing and network slicing, a combination that allows companies to run and manage applications locally for optimized performance.

The network control afforded by private networks means that enterprises can manage their own network, and escape the confines of public cellular infrastructure that may not suit the full range of their requirements. Using embedded SIMs in combination with a private network, enterprises operating their own network can also chop and change the public networks they connect to, based on coverage or price, and even use unlicensed spectrum that has been made available to them without having to make separate agreements.

Glow’s role

Glow Networks defines architecture, designs, conceptualizes solutions, develops, tests, deploys and offers seamless support in integrating the product to various platforms. We offer flexible, extensible and reusable frameworks and platforms for implementing end-to-end solutions, in addition to performing network validation. Most of these customizable frameworks are plug-and-play features.

Glow Networks’ comprehensive testing solutions maximize business efficiency and reliability while reducing business costs. We provide testing automation solutions in addition to Performance Testing, Digital Testing, Security Testing, Agile Testing and Functional Testing. These testing services are performed in all platforms reducing the risk of bugs and delivering a quality product resulting in exceptional customer experience.

Glow’s Network Operations and Analytics team of consultants has a wide range of experience spanning many industries, helping clients realize their goals of customer experience management, operational excellence and efficiency, with 70% improvement.

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