Ten questions to ask when choosing your private wireless vendor
Exclusive GlobalData podcast explains the key factors that will help you get the right partner for your private wireless network project.
10 key questions to ask when choosing your private wireless vendor
John Byrne, Service Director for Telecom Technology and Software at Global Data, will talk with two of GlobalData’s Principal Analysts – Ed Gubbins (Radio Access Networks) and Kitty Weldon (Enterprise Networking) about the criteria for selecting the right private wireless network partner for your deployment.
- The importance of choosing the right partner to build, optimize, run and support a private wireless network
- The key questions you need to answer when selecting a private wireless network partner
- Role of the ecosystem in the success of your private wireless network
Principal Analyst for Radio Access Networks, GlobalData
Principal Analyst for Enterprise Networking, GlobalData
Service Director for Telecom Technology and Software, GlobalData
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Podcast at a glance
Is your enterprise contemplating deploying a private cellular network? There could be many reasons for doing so. Maybe you require dedicated bandwidth for large amounts of data, or need high speeds and reliability and low latency.
Whatever the reason, it’s unlikely that you will have the in-house depth of expertise required to launch and operate such a network in the face of the overarching and day-to-day challenges involved in its use.
If you decide to bring an expert partner on board, there are ten questions you need to ask. These relate to their experience, technological capability and commitment to the market place for the long term.
1/ Does the vendor have experience of private wireless deployment?
Your potential partner should be able to prove their expertise by providing quantifiable SLAs – and a history of compliance with similar SLAs with existing customers.
They should demonstrate their ability to meet KPIs on areas such as repairs and service, plus the bandwidth achieved for different traffic loads and conditions. There should also be endorsements from customers and eco-system partners.
Ideally, they should have their own solutions, rather than merely being able to assemble third-party elements.
2/ Does your potential partner have a track record of wireless deployment in your sector?
Of course, all enterprises are unique and you’re unlikely to find a one-size-fits-all solution. Your potential partner needs to demonstrate that it has worked successfully with customers in multiple industries – with an associated versatility that enables them to customize the network to meet your outcomes.
3/ Is your potential vendor committed to the private 5G business?
You’re about to make an investment in a network that needs to last. So it’s important to choose a partner with skin in the game for the long haul. Is their private network department well resourced, with a broad range of in-house features? You should also check whether or not the company participates in industry standards groups and associations relevant to private wireless.
4/ Can their private cellular network solutions be adapted to your needs?
Can they strike the right balance between standardization and customization? There should be flexible Opex and Capex models as options, and support for all types of spectrum – licensed, unlicensed and shared. There should be simplicity, but also the ability to address individual use-case requirements.
5/ Does your potential private wireless partner have a solution mindset?
You need to see a desire to take responsibility for securing and supporting all the elements of your solution, along with SLAs and a long-term commitment to the process. Take the example of a manufacturing enterprise; will your partner explicitly support areas such as predictive maintenance, asset condition monitoring, and remote configuration and control?
6/ Does the vendor have proven performance specific to your technology?
This is becoming a crowded market place, with numerous start-up software companies advocating cutting-edge solutions. You need to be comfortable that any potential for innovation can be balanced against the shortcomings of a shorter track record. Do you want to be with the latest and greatest, or a vendor with decades of experience, investment and customer endorsements?
7/ Is future-proofing part of your private LTE network solution?
Flexibility and innovation will be key in this space going forward. Some deployments that begin as LTE will need to become 5G in time. You need to feel sure that the deployments you’re thinking about in 2021 and 2022 will still be viable in 2031 and 2032.
Any potential partner also needs to show an evolution path that means your network and its technology will evolve smoothly to meet future needs without needing to be ripped out and replaced.
8/ Is your private wireless partner viable and sustainable in the long term?
You need to choose a vendor that will support you over an indefinite period. Of course, nobody can predict the future; but a proven track record, a busy pipeline of ongoing business, and a commitment to R&D all suggest that the strategic bet you are placing now will pay dividends over the years – and decades – to come.
9/ Does the vendor understand your challenges?
An advisor worthy of your trust will work to understand the issues that are keeping your CIO and CTO awake at night – and to bring the right solutions to them. They should, quite simply, be in tune with your enterprise so that their technology helps to meet your business objectives.
10/ Will your partner offer the breadth of private 5G support you need?
As well as their technological solutions, you may require other partner resources including marketing, technical training and sales guides. There may be a partner portal that facilitates ongoing communication and training or sales tools.
Ultimately, remember that the vendor in question is on the look-out for partners too, to prove the viability of their solution.
This is an important decision for you and your enterprise – it is worth taking the time to make sure you move in the right direction.
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