Key Criteria for Evaluating Private LTE and 5G Solutionsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Private LTE and 5G Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Factors
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Ivan McPhee

1. Summary

Until recently, cellular technology was the sole domain of mobile operators due to their radio spectrum ownership. In recent years, however, governments have released new spectrum designated for use by private networks. In addition, while some mobile operators have begun leasing spectrum to enterprise customers, new versions of LTE (the Long Term Evolution standard as defined by the 3GPP) and future 5G NR-U (New Radio Unlicensed) can also operate in the unlicensed or lightly licensed spectrum, increasing the availability of private wireless networks to a far wider population.

With radio spectrum now available to industry, organizations can deploy their own private wireless network to deliver optimal coverage, quality of service, and ultra-low-latency for their operations. Eliminating individual device subscription fees—and overage charges—private wireless networks offer affordable services with edge connectivity and traffic flows previously available only with wired networks.

Operating as a cellular carrier, an organization deploying private LTE or 5G provides the SIM cards, core servers, and radiofrequency licensing—in addition to radios and antennas. Each organization is responsible for managing, operating, and maintaining its own private 5G network with complete control over radio coverage and bandwidth. With all devices operating in a private IP address space, data flows can be architected to ensure full compliance and secure edge computing.

Utilizing licensed and/or unlicensed spectrum, organizations can choose to deploy a private wireless network based on their geographic locations, operational requirements, and budget. For example, MulteFire—an LTE-based technology operating standalone in an unlicensed, shared spectrum—combines the performance of LTE with the simple deployment of Wi-Fi, expanding the capabilities of private wireless to small and medium-sized enterprises—and short-term projects such as construction sites—with the deployment of small cell solutions.

Organizations deploying a private wireless network can either build and run it themselves or outsource it to a mobile network operator (MNO), system integrator (SI), or cloud service provider (CSP). Private LTE and 5G vendors provide a range of private wireless network infrastructure and services to partners and/or enterprises, from essential components to end-to-end implementations.

Despite being a relatively new technology, organizations are adopting private LTE and 5G platforms to enable new use cases. This GigaOm Key Criteria report outlines critical criteria and evaluation factors for selecting a private LTE or 5G solution. The corresponding GigaOm Radar Report provides an overview of noteworthy private LTE and 5G vendors and their offerings available today. Together, these reports are designed to help educate decision-makers, providing critical insights for enabling edge processing initiatives.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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