In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital connectivity, private networks are emerging as a critical solution for organizations and industries seeking more secure, more reliable computing infrastructure.
Unlike traditional multi-tenant public networks, private networks give organizations enhanced control and can be customized to meet each company’s unique connectivity, security, and compliance requirements. This makes them an ideal choice for organizations that want predictability and complete visibility into their infrastructure.
While private networks offer more control, organizations wishing to unlock their full power also need to ensure that they have the underlying technologies in place needed to make real-time decisions. Otherwise, the advantages of private networks begin to dissipate, and it becomes that much harder for organizations to keep pace with their peers.
In this post, we’ll take a deeper look at what private networks are, the challenges and opportunities inherent in private networks, the link between private networks, 5G, and edge computing, the critical role real-time data processing plays in private networks, and why organizations need to invest in a data platform for private networks.
What are private networks?
Private networks refer to dedicated cellular communication infrastructure purpose-built to support the needs of a specific organization, industry, or location.
Unlike traditional public networks — the kind that likely power your home and deliver connectivity to your mobile devices when you’re on the go — private networks are not accessible to the public. Instead, they are owned, operated, and managed by the organization that uses them or a third-party provider that administers the network on the organization’s behalf.
Private networks deliver a number of benefits to organizations. This makes perfect sense: When a company has complete control over infrastructure, it can customize the environment however it wants, increasing security and reliability. Private networks also enable businesses to exert more control over network resources, strengthening data privacy while reducing the risk of costly data breaches or cyberattacks. What’s more, organizations that use private networks benefit from improved performance because they can configure the infrastructure to meet unique connectivity requirements, making it easier to achieve business goals.
Add it all up, and it comes as no surprise that the global market for private networks, which brought in $7.62 billion in 2022, is expected to reach $35.6 billion by 2029, growing 47 percent each year until then.
While private networks can be used by any business and in any industry, they are particularly well-suited to industries that require real-time communication and low-latency applications and have high data security and compliance requirements. Most commonly, private networks are used in manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, and industrial settings to support mission-critical applications and enable seamless machine-to-machine communication (e.g., for IoT and IIoT use cases).
Why are private networks better than WiFi 6?
WiFi 6 delivers several benefits to organizations — like great bandwidth, low latencies, and cost efficiencies due to economies of scale — and may be able to meet basic connectivity needs for small businesses.
However, larger organizations and enterprises that require better security and more control over devices that can access the network are better off investing in private network infrastructure. Private networks are also well-suited for enterprises that have IoT devices roaming between buildings, providing continuous connectivity across corporate campuses compared to WiFi’s spotty service.
Private network challenges and opportunities
Private networks present a range of challenges and opportunities for businesses and industries looking to improve connectivity and build more resilient, more agile computing infrastructure.
One of the biggest challenges is network security. Organizations that invest in private networks need to ensure they have robust security measures in place that will protect sensitive data and company communications. As private networks proliferate — and more and more organizations with deep pockets move in the direction of private networks — they attract the attention of malicious actors. As such, organizations that invest in private networks need to ensure they deploy advanced security protocols, encryption, and authentication mechanisms to safeguard against threats and maintain data integrity.
Another challenge with private networks is their cost. While many organizations leverage public cloud resources to take advantage of cost efficiencies, private networks don’t offer similar economic benefits. Not only do organizations have to procure infrastructure in a time-consuming, capital-intensive process, they also have to perform ongoing maintenance and upgrades to ensure the network is running efficiently and securely. Of course, they can opt to outsource these responsibilities to a third party; they’ll just have to pick up the price tag and stomach those costs, too.
Despite these challenges, private networks offer tremendous opportunities, which is why the market is growing so rapidly. Chief among these opportunities? By maintaining complete control over their network, organizations can customize their infrastructure to meet the specific requirements of their mission-critical applications.
Since you’re able to build the perfect infrastructure for the job, private networks facilitate innovation, enabling organizations to deploy cutting-edge technologies. For example, in industries like manufacturing and logistics, private networks enable real-time data processing — or data processing that’s fast enough for you to meet your latency SLAs. This, in turn, makes it easier to streamline operations and perform tasks like predictive maintenance while preparing for the future.
In order to move at the actual speed of real time — making decisions in less than 10 milliseconds — organizations need to invest in a modern data platform for private networks.
Private networks, 5G, and edge computing
As 5G networks mature and more and more workloads move to the edge, private networks are increasingly seen as the infrastructure most capable of unlocking the full potential of these innovative technologies. Together, private networks, 5G, and edge computing are transforming the way organizations transmit, process, and store data.
For starters, 5G technology delivers lightning-fast speeds and low latency, allowing for faster, more efficient data transmission. Edge technology complements 5G by enabling data processing and analysis at the network’s edge, closer to where the data is created, which reduces latency, improves performance, and reduces data transmission costs.
By deploying these technologies on a private network, organizations can further enhance the security, privacy, and reliability of data transmission by providing a dedicated, controlled communication infrastructure tailored to the organization’s unique needs. As a result, organizations can enable low-latency applications, improve overall operational efficiency, and generate actionable insights rapidly — truly moving at the speed of real time.
Importance of real-time data processing for private networks
Unlocking these top speeds and moving in real time is only possible when applications use a data platform designed for private networks. Simply put, applications built with database technology made for a pre-Internet world or at least a pre-mobile one are incapable of moving fast enough to meet the requirements of modern organizations.
While private networks have fewer subscribers than public networks, the workloads on private networks are typically more critical than the workloads on public networks. The longer it takes for an enterprise to notice network performance issues, the more costly it becomes to fix them. For this reason, enterprises would be wise to invest in solutions that enable them to monitor events in real time. To maximize the benefits of 5G, edge, and private networks, organizations need an underlying data platform that enables them to simplify the environment and keep latency under 10 milliseconds to ensure SLAs — like low latency to devices, data platform responses, and understanding of network behavior by processing telemetry data in real time — are manageable.
To do this, they need to look for a platform that can actually enable real-time data processing — and one that doesn’t introduce several management or administrative headaches. For example, Volt Active Data has a shared-nothing, core-based distributed architecture that can scale without degrading latency, which keeps the architecture easy to manage and reduces the amount of infrastructure and hardware needed. Volt can also be deployed in a distributed architecture with small, edge-optimized nodes running at the edge and larger centralized nodes where and when required.
Real-time data processing enables organizations to instantly analyze and respond to incoming data. As a result, organizations that are able to truly process data in real time benefit from:
- Proactive real-time network SLA management, which enables you to identify network issues immediately, thereby improving service quality, minimizing disruptions, and improving customer satisfaction.
- Enhanced data-driven decision-making, which enables organizations to rapidly respond to changing conditions, minimize downtime, optimize workflows, and improve overall efficiency.
- Improved safety and security by detecting anomalies and potential threats instantly and taking immediate protective actions to mitigate risks and safeguard valuable assets and data.
- Efficiency resource management by leveraging up-to-date insights into network performance, statuses, and operational efficiency to optimize resource allocation, track usage patterns, and address bottlenecks in real time.
- Support for automation and AI with infrastructure lays a foundation for organizations to take advantage of next-generation technologies. ML models enhance fraud/anomaly detection use cases by learning from real-world outcomes and constantly evolving the logic to improve decisions without human intervention.
- Enhanced user experiences with high-performing applications that are highly available and reliable and give users fast access to data and personalized experiences
All these benefits point to the fact that real-time data processing — again, data processing that’s fast enough for you to meet your latency SLAs — is crucial for organizations thinking about investing in private networks.
Not only does real-time data processing help organizations make timely decisions while improving security and safety, but it also enables them to optimize resource management and future-proof infrastructure — all while delighting users.
By harnessing the power of real-time data processing, organizations can leverage the full potential of their private networks. As a result, they can move faster than their competitors and drive operational excellence in today’s fast-paced, data-driven business landscape.