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HPE’s launch of private 5G that includes seamless integration to private Wi-Fi networks is what enterprise networks need to increase their intelligence, speed and scalability, the company says.. Enterprises also need to achieve greater 5G-to-Wi-Fi 6 reliability for all devices to get the most value from new enterprise and industrial applications being deployed from edge to cloud. 

HPE’s goal in launching its private 5G is to combine the advantage of Wi-Fi 6, including its cost-effective indoor connectivity, with the wide coverage, high mobility and high-reliability applications on its own. The private 5G solution is pre-integrated with radio access capabilities from leading vendors, enabling their private 5G solution can be deployed quickly and at scale across enterprises. HPE’s 5G Core Stack is available as a GreenLake infrastructure-as-a-service solution, in response to enterprises’ interest in this deployment approach, according to Tom Craig, VP and general manager of HPE’s Communications Technology Group, during a recent press briefing. 

One of the main design goals of providing a private 5G solution is to deliver carrier-grade quality of service. HPE relies on Aruba Air Pass, which automates 5G and Wi-Fi roaming, to accomplish that goal, working together with Aruba Wi-Fi networks to provide a consistently high-quality network experience. Enterprises are wary of being locked into private 5G architectures, which is why HPE designed in O-RAN compliance into the private 5G network they are launching today.

Organizations need private 5G networks they can deploy remotely in a hardened, secure configuration while also needing the flexibility of operating in distributed cloud environments. HPE’s decision to offer 5G-in-a-box and cloud configurations reflects what organizations need in private 5G networks.   

Where enterprises need private 5G now

HPE’s prioritizing Wi-Fi 6 and private 5G connectivity performance can close large gaps enterprise networks are struggling with today. The most urgent challenges enterprises face are ensuring the network gaps outside their organizations stay secure and reliable. HPE cites use cases including real-time applications, video conferencing, Wi-Fi calling in enterprises, and virtual private 5G networks. A second core market provides ruggedized, hardened 5G-in-a-box private 5G networks for military operations and remote oil and gas production centers. 

Private 5G with Wi-Fi 6 integration can help close the following major gaps enterprise networks are dealing with today, enabling them to deliver greater intelligence in the process. The most urgent needs are outside organizations’ supply chains, distribution channels and service centers.

  • Real-time monitoring of remote production centers for greater productivity and safety. Private 5G networks with Wi-Fi 6 integration can deliver Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) data and, when combined with predictive analytics applications, predict when a given machine or asset will need to be repaired. Using private 5G networks as the basis of real-time monitoring to collect condition-based data from machinery and remote equipment can reduce maintenance and operating expenses while prolonging a machine’s useful life. 
  • Move more digital twin pilots into production across all production centers. HPE currently has an automotive manufacturer in Germany using their private 5G network to accomplish digital twin strategies across the automotive manufacturing process. Research firm Gartner defines a virtual twin as a ‘digital representation of a real-world entity or system,’ which comes in the form of a ‘software object or model that mirrors a unique physical object, process, organization, person or other abstraction.’ The auto manufacturer uses the 5G network to streamline its Operational Technology environment. HPE says it is achieving continuous and bidirectional data flows among operational technology and IT systems with low-latency connectivity. Richard Band, head of mobile core and 5G, communication and media solutions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, says, “what is resonating [with enterprises] is the ability to separate IT and OT networks. In addition, there is the need to have slicing capabilities. They don’t necessarily want to have very advanced or very ability to customize those slices, but they want something simple to deploy them.” Manufactures struggle with keeping IT and OT optimized in digital twin configurations, making HPE’s private 5G network a good fit for this specific requirement. 
  • Achieving real-time production and process monitoring across all manufacturing centers. Given the continual unpredictability of supply chains today, manufacturers need greater real-time visibility and control across all production centers. Equating what’s going on within each center and its implications on financial performance is a gap private 5G and wi-Fi six integration can help solve. Add to that the fact that manufacturers are continually faced with the challenges of improving time-to-market while reducing production costs and increasing quality, and the value of real-time production and process data reliably captured in a private 5G network becomes clear.
  • Improving supply chain track-and traceability when combined with IoT-enabled containers. Private 5G networks can revolutionize track-and-traceability across supply chains by combining Wi-Fi 6 and private 5G networks. Improving the accuracy and speed of track-and-traceability information across all production locations enables greater collaboration and knowledge sharing company-wide. A track-and-trace system that can scale quickly across an entire supplier network is invaluable in ensuring high inventory accuracy and forecasting precision. Knowing the specific levels of inventory and their relative status across a supply chain is needed for attaining higher production rates in each manufacturing center. In addition, track-and-trace systems over time generate data sets that tend to show patterns, making it possible to anticipate shifts in demand. This insight contributes to greater forecast accuracy and the potential to optimize manufacturing schedules. 
  • Accelerate environmental monitoring, smart metering, renewable plants supervision, and inventory intelligence. Private 5G networks have the potential to deliver value, including improving operator productivity in production plants, improving the accuracy of warehouse management and inventory monitoring, reducing non-technical operations losses, and enabling smart product tracking. When combined with smart IoT sensors, private 5G networks can help improve the payback period of investments in core operational areas. The following grid compares the benefits from IoT implementation by payback investment period. Capgemini predicts IoT will contribute to Manufacturing Intelligence and Product Quality Optimization gaining adoption over the long term. Private 5G networks provide the latency and coverage to help improve the performance of each of these use cases:
Private 5G will be a contributing technology that helps each use case in the above Capgemini IoT matrix deliver greater business value in the next five years.  

The potential of private 5G

Enterprises are struggling with wide gaps in what they know about local and remote manufacturing, distribution, supply chain, and service performance. HPE’s private 5G announcement shows the potential to close those gaps when combined with IoT sensors and intelligent devices. Private 5G and Wi-Fi 6 seamless integration that HP claims is enabled with Aruba AirPass will make monitoring remote machines easier for quality engineers and lead to greater productivity gains across supply networks that need greater visibility and control today to stay efficient and safe.

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