Imagine a factory that has hundreds of thousands of machines and devices that need to be securely connected wirelessly within a localized area. This enterprise cannot depend on public cellular networks offered by Mobile Network Operators (MNO). To ensure their security and robustness, the enterprise instead leans on their own private IoT network, operating independently of the public cellular networks. Unfortunately, these companies do not own any spectrum and rely on Wi-Fi, ZigBee, or other 802.11x technologies today which are useful but face many limitations as these technologies cannot provide the security, reliability, mobility, and support the diverse applications that LTE can offer. A new class of network must be enabled to meet the needs of industrial applications and provide a standalone, unified network architecture.
Qualcomm Research is designing the technology to enable private LTE networks for industrial IoT. Delivering connectivity in challenging environments, these standalone LTE networks are built to serve devices and users within a localized area but also interact with public LTE when needed, e.g. for devices outside the enterprise premise. Combining LTE-grade performance with Wi-Fi-like simplicity, we have leveraged 4G LTE air interfaces that primarily dwell in the unlicensed (5 GHz) and CBRS (3.5 GHz) bands but could as well be deployed on MNO spectrum locally dedicated to the enterprise. Private LTE fills the gap between what existing technologies can do and what enterprises need, addressing challenges in QoS, coverage, mobility, reliability and security in support of self-contained networks.