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How 5G mobile private networks can open new opportunities to Irish business

In a digital era privacy and security is crucial to all technology evolutions. 5G mobile private networks (MPN) offer a secure business network designed to meet the high-performance needs of an organisation

“The latest generation of mobile network, 5G, is the first mobile standard that has considered the needs of business and enterprise,” explains Chris Byrne, solutions specialist with Vodafone Business Ireland. “As a result not only does it focus on being faster, it also provides reliability, quality of service and lower latency, which means less delay on the transfer of high volumes of data.”

Unlike its predecessors 2G, 3G, and 4G, which were singular technology drops based on increasing network speeds, Byrne explains that 5G is more of an evolution, one that will be rolled out over the coming years. “As 5G networks evolve new features and benefits will be added over time which can be tailored to the needs of the business community,” he says.

What are the advantages to business of a mobile private network (MPN)?

One of the key features of 5G is the offer of a mobile private network (MPN) or networks. A MPN is a private network that is dedicated to a particular location of a business and provides it with uninterrupted connectivity, for example, an airport, sea port, hospital, or a manufacturing facility.


“The idea is that we deliver the same technology that powers our public networks within a localised context for a particular business need,” Byrne outlines. “A mobile private network is a local network built to cover a specific location, capable of delivering a better quality of service with more control and security.”

5G technology allows Vodafone - which was the first to offer 5G Standalone (SA) technology in Ireland - to effectively slice up the network and customise it to meet a range of different requirements from those of the general public but also their business customers. “On top of that slice, you can offer a quality of service which just wasn’t available with previous generations of mobile networks,” Byrne adds.

What opportunities does MPN open up for business?

The opportunities offered by this leap in technology are myriad, and Byrne says that businesses that harness the power of 5G will be rewarded with a plethora of opportunities that will allow them to operate more efficiently.

In Ireland undoubtedly the biggest opportunity is for the manufacturing industry, he explains. “Manufacturing is one of the best performing sectors of the Irish economy and the manufacturing industry is going through a huge positive change at the moment.”

This is the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 as it is being called, which represents the coming together of a vast array of new technologies These include robotics, artificial intelligence, edge computing, which enables data produced by IoT devices to be processed at or near the source of the data generation, computer vision, where computers can identify people and objects in images and videos, and 3D printing, among others.

A new industrial age that is 5G-led

“Each one of these examples above rely on specific connectivity requirements whether that be data throughput, latency or quality of service,” Byrne explains.

Because of 5G’s slicing capability it can scale to support all examples, providing a single communication platform that can host all of the new Industry 4.0 technologies.

All of these mission-critical use cases require ultra-secure and ultra-reliable connectivity which 5G provides, which is allowing businesses to become more efficient and productive and less wasteful,” says Byrne.

A smart solution for transport, logistics and med-tech sectors

Outside of manufacturing 5G and 5G MPN can also apply to sectors such as transport and logistics, as well as healthcare and med-tech, Byrne adds. “Many are interested to understand how 5G can help their organisations become more efficient, productive and secure.”

The societal benefits of this technology are also apparent; for example, a blue light service such as the Gardai or ambulance service could be provided with a slice of the network because they are using mission critical comms.

And there are other applications that go far beyond the obvious commercial deployment. In the field of sports and performance analytics for example, there are significant potential use cases of 5G for video analysis with access to real-time data over a secure network. “We have been working with the IRFU’s innovation and analytics team and have recently deployed private mobile 5G at their high performance facility where it is helping them move and analyse huge amounts of performance data in a new and more efficient manner so its very exciting to see the benefits unfold for the coaching team in the run up to the Rugby World Cup,” Byrne explains.

As our public core network evolves to 5G Standalone, slicing and its associated possibilities will slowly seep into our everyday activities. Soon, we will see MPNs used for drone services, cloud gaming and autonomous vehicles, as well as eHealth and many other everyday applications.

This story is part of a Connected Business series. See Vodafone.ie (www.vodafone.ie/business) for more information