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Celona Private 5G targets Nokia's heft

21. 02. 2023 Tuesday / By: Robert Denes / Industrial / Exact time: BST / Print this page

C elona has added 5G-specific upgrades to its enterprise private wireless platform, which the vendor says make it a viable enterprise alternative in the growing market, particularly against heavyweight Nokia.

Puneet Shetty, Celona's vice president of product marketing, explained: The updates add 5G capabilities to the manufacturer's legacy 4G LTE-based private network platform. This includes a new 5G access point that supports a deeper pool of spectrum resources; the vendor's Converged Edge product, which provides core and control plane services; and a cloud-based orchestrator that supports remote deployment of access points and edge software.

The access point supports spectrum channel bandwidth up to 100 megahertz, features an antenna design that supports 2×2 multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) transmission, and simultaneously supports 4G and 5G multi-mode support.

Shetty noted that the architecture supports spectrum between the 3.3 GHz and 4.9 GHz bands. This includes the n48 spectrum band from 3.55 GHz to 3.7 GHz, also known as the quasi-licensed Citizen Broadband Radio Spectrum (CBRS) used in the United States; and the n77 spectrum band at 3.7 GHz and the n78 spectrum band at 3.5 GHz, which are used in various parts of Europe. He added that later this year, Celona will add support for the n79 band in the 4.7 GHz band, which is used in parts of Asia.

The Converged Edge product includes a converged 4G LTE and 5G private wireless core developed by Celona that includes a unified cloud-based 4G/5G data plane and an Open Radio Access Network ( ORAN ) compatible RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) for companies for. use cases. These services are tied to a Kubernetes-based orchestration engine that can handle redundant clusters and service slicing.

Celona Orchestrator also supports the provisioning of Celona SIM cards and eSIMs that are tied to enterprise access control policies within the network. Celona launched a device certification program for SIM and eSIM cards last year, which included initial certification of devices from manufacturers such as Apple, Google and Cradlepoint. This converged system can be purchased directly from Celona and operated through a management layer provided by an enterprise or through a service model.

“The ability to take that system and integrate it into an existing enterprise network ... the ability to connect to the existing security and policy framework, whether it's a firewall or [network access control], and to use those to continue driving. the desired [zero trusted network access] or security policies all the way down to the mobile devices to actually deliver that predictable [quality of service] to each device, each application using what's called internal MicroSlicing, and we also provide the orchestrator with a converged operational view that it allows the business to do it themselves or a [managed service provider],” Shetty said.

Prices start at $17,000 for a three-year plan tied to an indoor access point, or $57,500 for a three-year plan tied to an outdoor access point. Celona has added 5G-specific upgrades to its enterprise private wireless platform, which the vendor says make it a viable enterprise alternative in the growing market, particularly against heavyweight Nokia.

Celona's launch comes amid increased interest in the private network space. Celona itself has worked with a number of operators and vendors on their respective private network deployments and was one of the initial vendor partners to run on Google's Distributed Cloud Edge.

Shetty acknowledged that the private networking space is "noisy" but most of the other players lack the "turnkey end-to-end solution" provided by Celona.

But Celona pointed to Nokia as the "100-pound gorilla in the private wireless space."

"Nokia is the closest that probably has the pieces of the puzzle, so it makes sense to compare with them," Shetty said. "Because we have products that are available worldwide, it's right to talk about Nokia and tell customers where the similarities end."

This goal is Celona's need for better integration of companies than Nokia's wider scope.

“I usually joke that our best customers tend to be the customers who have actually tried Nokia in some kind of launch,” Shetty said. "And then they understand the challenges they face when trying to deploy a cellular infrastructure built for the macro network in the enterprise environment."

Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark noted last year that the vendor signed private wireless contracts with 30 customers during the fiscal third quarter.

“We're building the relationships with our partner network to really grow this business for the future,” he said. “All of these points are very important to our longer-term strategy, as it is crucial to give the company momentum to meet our longer-term growth ambitions. Based on what we've seen so far, I'm sure that over time this will remain our fastest growing customer segment."

Nokia previously announced that it ended 2021 with 420 private customers.

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