The advent of 5G has transformed the digital landscape, offering faster data speeds, lower latency and more reliable connections. With the rise of IoT devices and the need for high-speed connectivity in industries like manufacturing and healthcare, businesses are increasingly turning to Private 5G networks. HCLTech is at the forefront of this movement, leveraging Intel's FlexRAN™ reference software to accelerate the deployment of Private 5G networks.
Enterprises are in various stages of implementing Industry 4.0 technologies, which include but are not limited to Digital Twins, Big Data and Analytics, AR/VR and IoT, to improve service delivery. Still, they are challenged to manage the complex and ever-evolving space of private networks. Adding to this is the fact that often multiple wireless/wired networks co-exist within an enterprise—e.g., 5G, LoRaWAN, Wi-Fi and Wireless mesh. Planning, deployment, operations and scaling of all these networks need resources (Software/Hardware and manpower) of varied skillsets.
Deploying Private 5G networks will revolutionize how businesses innovate their strategies and implement their operational ecosystems, as these networks can provide high-speed connectivity and low latencies, enabling enterprises to implement real-time control and monitoring of their production lines, machines and equipment. This can help them optimize their operations, reduce downtime and improve overall efficiency. This led to enterprises focusing on deploying their own highly-secure Private 5G networks like never before. Private 5G has many benefits and is emerging as the proper successor to current enterprise wireless networks in many industries because of its sub-millisecond latency enabling URLCC use cases, massive machine-type communication capability, higher interference tolerance, larger coverage footprint and inherent security. HCLTech sees this transformation as a significant change to business models, bringing new opportunities across industries.
*According to the IDC, the worldwide Private LTE/5G Wireless market Infrastructure Market is set to reach $8.3 Billion with a CAGR of 35.7% by 2026.
The combination of HCLTech's expertise in next-generation networks and Intel's FlexRAN reference software provides a powerful platform for businesses to leverage the benefits of Private 5G. With this technology, organizations can create a dedicated high-speed network tailored to their needs and requirements.
The FlexRAN reference software enables network operators to rapidly deploy and manage virtualized radio access networks (vRANs), allowing for faster and more efficient deployment of Private 5G. This means businesses can take advantage of the increased speed, security and reliability of Private 5G networks without the hassle of lengthy deployment times.
By use cases like enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low latency (URLCC) and massive machine type communication (MMTC) capabilities of 5G RAN, it is touted as the network that can provide enterprises an option to replace and unify all their connectivity needs. Furthermore, the open-source nature of RAN gives much more flexibility to enterprises and allows them to be vendor agnostic to avoid vendor lock-in too.
Private network benefits
The growing enterprise needs are concentrated around the following requirements:
Guarantee coverage and control: Enterprises need improved coverage while maintaining control of data and user policies. In remote and underserved areas, indoor/in-building will cover with guaranteed coverage.
Performance and reliability: Increasing users and devices requires reliable and high-performing connectivity depending on their needs and QoS – defined profile that will support demanding applications and QoS guarantees.
Network control and security: Enterprises have better control as compared to public networks. Security, privacy and data integrity are very high as compared to public networks.
Operational flexibility and integration: Every enterprise has different needs and resources; therefore, they expect flexibility in choosing which operational model works for their needs. The ability to integrate with their current IT infrastructure is also important for lessening the complexity of operations and maintenance.
HCLTech and Intel ecosystem play an important role in private networks
HCLTech, which is a member of the O-RAN Alliance, is a leading systems integrator and leader in the virtualized network space. We are making forays into providing enterprises with flexible cloud-based or totally on-premises and scalable (containerized) private network deployment models leveraging Intel’s FlexRAN reference architecture coupled with Intel® Smart Edge solution to ease the complexity to deploy flexible deployment models, from 4G LTE to 5G to CBRS technologies.
At a very high level, the key components of private networks are virtualized RAN, Backhaul, Core and Edge, where virtualized network functions are hosted on-prem/on-cloud to enable Industry 4.0 use cases, including ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) use cases. Virtualized RAN enables disaggregation of the baseband unit (BBU) into a distributed unit (DU) and a centralized unit (CU). The DU manages the real-time L1 and L2 scheduling operations while the CU oversees the non-real-time, higher L2 and L3. A cloud-native virtualized RAN enables the DU servers and related software to be hosted on the site or on an edge cloud, which can either be a data center or a central office. The CU servers and related software can either be co-shared with DU on-premises/EDGE/Cloud. This allows independent component scaling as compared to monolithic (proprietary hardware) scaling.
FlexRAN reference software offers a reference architecture for virtualized RAN-based private networks, wherein it provides complete L1 functionality with Intel® FPGA connected with a RU. HCLTech onboards and integrates vNFs (DU, CU) on FlexRAN reference architecture powered with Intel® processors. This technology, when coupled with LTE/5G Core and Intel Smart Edge—the Intel software platform for distributed edge computing—completes the private network. FlexRAN is powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. The combination of technologies from HCLTech and Intel provides a powerful solution for Private 5G networks. By leveraging Intel's FlexRAN reference software, HCLTech can accelerate the deployment of Private 5G networks, helping businesses take advantage of the benefits of 5G without the hassle of lengthy deployment times.
HCLTech tailors end-to-end solution development for private 5G networks by leveraging its vast Partner Ecosystem to source components, software and tools for various streams like Radio, Transmission, Core, SIM Management, Cloud, Infra, Apps and MEC. This is complemented by our end-to-end system integrator offerings: Plan, Prepare, Deploy, Integrate, Optimize and Operate.
The above image is HCLTech’s POV on typical end-to-end Private Network/OvRAN architecture leveraging Intel components.
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