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Six private wireless trends to watch in 2022

Exclusive OMDIA podcast analyzes six important private wireless trends for the year ahead

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Pablo Tomasi

Principal Analyst for Private Wireless Networks at OMDIA

The future of private networks in 2022

In 2022, there will be great momentum behind private 4G/LTE and 5G networks as they continue to be enablers of digital transformation and Industry 4.0 in a world still facing the challenges and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pablo Tomasi, Principal Analyst for Wireless Networks at OMDIA, explains the top six trends that will shape this growing market in 2022 and beyond.

Key points:

  • Private wireless networking momentum will be based on results and trust
  • Replicability and scalability will drive network growth
  • Private 4G/LTE-5G networks will flourish between edge and cloud
  • Supply chain and other challenges will need to be overcome
  • Lack of 5G devices may impede progress
  • Building blocks like spectrum continue to evolve
Private Networking 101

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Podcast at a glance

What trends will shape the future of the private wireless 4G/LTE and 5G market in 2022?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the enterprise world, not least because it has acted as a wake-up call regarding the importance of accelerating digital transformation.

Everyone in the enterprise market, from vendors to the enterprises themselves, now understands that such a transformation is increasingly the result of a combination of innovative technologies. These include IoT, edge, 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

In this pandemic-affected world, enterprises accept they must use any technology as part of a strategy to deliver a clear business outcome. They also need to be flexible in their processes and adapt to rapid change.

What does this mean for the future of private networks and digital enterprises in 2022?

Should we expect momentum in the private 4G/LTE and 5G networks market?

This market continues to grow significantly. According to a study by OMDIA, in 2021, network rollouts represented 20 percent of all announcements.

Growth is no longer restricted to first movers such as the United States. We are now seeing deployments in an increasing number of new countries such as Denmark and Poland.

Deployments are becoming larger and more complex as private networks deliver the right ROI to enterprises.

Will the appetite of enterprises for larger and more complex private wireless deployments increase?

When private 4G/LTE and 5G networks were a novelty, organizations would start with a POC or trial. They might deploy in a single site or test a few use cases.

Now, with private networks delivering the desired results, verticals such as mining and ports have deployed private 4G/LTE and 5G networks across multiple sites and countries. There is similar momentum across all verticals, including manufacturing.

OMDIA’s survey of 451 enterprises found that by 2023, 34 percent will have deployed a solution in more than five sites – significantly higher than the current figure of five percent.

Should we expect to see private wireless networks leveraging developments in edge computing, cloud computing and cloud environment?

This is one of the most exciting trends set to mature in 2022, which is shown in several examples:

  • Cloudbased network monitoring platforms are becoming ever more relevant and popular
  • Edge and cloud players are showing increasing interest; 50 percent of enterprises will need cloud computing and storage as part of any private 4G/LTE and 5G network deal
  • In this fragmented environment, edge computing as a distributed computing model to analyze data closer to its source brings latency and cost benefits
  • OT applications will need different requirements in latency, workload, ML/AI support, data security and confidentiality – a combination of edge and cloud is the only way to support them fully

What challenges can we expect in the private wireless market?

Some are specific to this market:

  • The ongoing struggle to educate enterprises on the benefits of cellular
  • The challenge of integrating private 4G/LTE and 5G networks with existing IT systems and connectivity solutions

Others derive from macro trends:

  • Private 4G/LTE and 5G networks have been hit by chip shortages because of geopolitical issues, the pandemic and businesses doublepurchasing to head off uncertainty
  • This leaves vendors in an expanding market facing growing uncertainty over chipset availability

Will 2022 be the year when 5G truly arrives?

Although 5G has been a hot topic for a while, it is still moving slowly into this market. Release 16 in 2020 officially heralded the new era of private 5G, but this is yet to fully materialize.

The expansion of 5G in supporting industrial specific features and requirements will remain gradual. Barriers to adoption include the lack of a wide system of 5G devices, especially in the industrial environment.

Until chipset vendors fully commit roadmaps and in-depth resources to accelerate this ecosystem, the pace of adoption will remain sedate.

Will enterprises be able to find the private wireless experience and expertise they need?

Providers that have been active in recent years are now skilled in the design, deployment, management, and other facts of making private 4G/LTE and 5G networks a successful solution. Enterprises can now tap into that expertise.

As more countries unlock spectrum, the potential market is increasing – Brazil and South Korea are recent examples. Other countries that have already begun this process are continuing to expand, including the United States.

MulteFire has also rekindled its push to use unlicensed spectrum to use unlicensed spectrum to support the expansion of private network.

Ultimately, private 4G/LTE and 5G networks are delivering results – and it is time to understand how to use this solution to your advantage.

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