Increased Security and Resilience are Key Drivers for 5G Private Mobile Networks

Highlights critical importance of service level management to enable enterprise business outcomes

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Spirent Communications plc , the leading provider of test and assurance solutions for next-generation devices and networks, has released its “Accelerating Private Networking Value Creation” survey, providing insights on key trends and requirements around the adoption of 5G private mobile networks (PMNs). The survey identified technical and commercial drivers, challenges, service level management (SLM), delivery ecosystems, and buying centers for private 5G networks. The report is available to download here.

“Private networks are emerging as a viable alternative to traditional enterprise networks, offering a wide range of benefits,” said Spirent’s principal strategist for private networks, Marc Cohn. “But the disaggregated private networking ecosystem, wide range of domains, technologies and diversity of user cases result in much greater complexity than the traditional wide area networks (WANs) enterprises have previously relied on.”

The market survey of prospective enterprises reveals that security and network resiliency are key drivers motivating enterprises to consider private networking, fuelling a market that is forecast to reach $7.7 billion (USD) by 2027. As the survey reveals, service level management is especially critical because private networking directly enables enterprise business outcomes which are impacted by network performance and service-level agreement (SLA) compliance.

“Spirent has observed firsthand how private network resiliency requirements, complexity and risk thresholds are introducing new dynamics. To ensure success, rigorous testing is essential at every step of the private network lifecycle – from network design and validation testing, field and acceptance testing, to live network operations and maintenance. Test automation and simplification are also essential for deploying and managing diverse private networks and reduce operational costs,” said Cohn.

The new report was compiled by STL Partners and surveyed 200 enterprises in the manufacturing, financial services, transport and logistics, and oil, gas and mining sectors.

Key findings included:

  • Service level management is becoming critical because private networking directly enables enterprise business outcomes which are impacted by network performance and service level agreement (SLA) compliance.
  • Increased security and network reliability are the top two business values enterprises are requiring to achieve from their private network. This is due to sensitivity requirements around data sovereignty and IP, security and reliability being viewed as “table-stakes” to enable mission-critical user cases and the current costs and complexity of trying to implement security and reliability across “best-effort” networks.
  •   Automation and continuous testing across the lifecycle from network/device design through to site acceptance testing and into live operational assurance and SLA management is essential for deploying and managing diverse private networks, and to reduce operational costs.
  •  Enterprises appear willing to pay a premium for an increase in service level requirements. But stringent SLAs are viewed as difficult to achieve on current public networks.
  • Global systems integrators (GSIs) and cloud service providers (SPs) could have advantages as future lead suppliers. Manufacturers favor GSIs due to complex environments and use cases, and cloud SPs have a strong position due to their IT buyer relationships.
  • Enterprises are trying to shift from CAPEX to OPEX models, as private networks are typically financed with IT budgets. Many enterprises favor consumption based as-a-Service models.

Private networks must support diverse applications, environments and commercial models, which drives up complexity, and while PMNs offer previously unobtainable capabilities, and significantly lower total cost of ownership, unprecedented complexity necessitates a new approach to service level management.

“Comprehensive and robust private network service level management is an essential tool to ensure business outcomes as planned. With this in place, a significant opportunity exists for MNOs and CSPs to monetize their investments in 5G,” says Cohn. “However, as the survey shows, none of this is possible without a mature testing strategy in place and employed in the planning, development, and throughout the lifecycle of the solution.”