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VMblog Expert Interview: Casa Systems Talks Private 5G Networks and Private Network Architecture


A recent study by Deloitte states that 100 companies worldwide will have begun testing private 5G deployments by the end of 2020 and that the spend on 5G installations will rise significantly in the coming years.  To better understand this subject, VMblog reached out to an industry expert, Steve Collins of Casa Systems, to learn more.

VMblog:  To start things off, can you tell me about Casa Systems, what you do, and what customers you serve?

Steve Collins:  Casa Systems provides core and access solutions, and we focus on delivering physical, virtual and cloud-native 5G infrastructure and customer premise networking for data and multi-service communications networks. Our core and edge convergence technology enable public and private networks for service providers and enterprises. Our products are deployed in more than 70 countries, and we serve over 475 Tier 1 and regional service providers worldwide.

VMblog:  And if you could, explain private networks.

Collins:  Private Wireless networks offer a 3GPP LTE/5G standards-based solution for delivering dedicated and secure networks for enterprise data communications and applications. Enterprises in almost every industry vertical are looking at ways to improve productivity by eliminating the need for separate networks for each application. The next generation of IIoT and smart manufacturing, often referred to as Industry 4.0, and the virtualization of wireless networks have made possible the delivery of a secure environment for each enterprise application with high availability, reliability and end-to-end quality of service.  Private LTE/5G core nodes can be located either on-premise or in hybrid clouds. This provides architectural flexibility for addressing various use cases with a manageable total cost of ownership.

VMblog:  How do Private Networks compare with Wi-Fi 6?  Is a Private Network a replacement for Wi-Fi? 

Collins:  Wi-Fi 6 has made tremendous technological advancements, and will continue to have great device penetration due to universal spectrum characteristics. We view Wi-Fi as a complimentary solution that can address non mission-critical use cases where the end-user device count is small. When the use cases require features like greater scalability, mobility, and reliability then LTE and 5G solutions will be required. Innovative spectrum bands like CBRS and the recently announced 1200Mhz block of 6 GHz unlicensed spectrum in the U.S., and the industrial spectrum bands in Germany, UK and other European and Asian countries, have made enterprise deployment of Private LTE/5G a reality. Virtualization and disaggregated O-RAN-compliant cellular radios have further leveled the playing field, enabling comparable TCO between private cellular wireless networks and Wi-Fi. Additionally, cellular providers can assist by leveraging their network assets in conjunction with private networks to augment their capabilities to enterprises.

VMblog:  What's the difference between Private LTE and Private 5G?

Collins:  Both LTE and 5G are 3GPP-defined technologies. 5G is a major step forward in architecture and capabilities, which further expands the use cases for enterprises. Today, LTE has an advantage of greater frequency penetration due to the spectrum assets being used and can address many of the enterprise use cases. 5G unlocks further benefits of URLLC (low latency), multi-gigabit throughput, greater density of connected devices or sensors, Quality of Service (QoS), massive machine communications, dynamic network slicing, Time Sensitive Networks (TSN), etc. We believe that the initial set of use cases will be addressed with LTE, and that these networks should be software upgradable to support a seamless migration path to 5G in the future. 

VMblog:  What factors should an enterprise keep in mind when considering Private Network architecture? 

Collins:  Use case & enterprise-specific requirements are the key considerations. One size does not fit all, and network / device interoperability is a concern for the enterprise to keep in mind. It is important to utilize the flexibility and elasticity of the cloud and on-premise network components to ensure positive ROI. Enterprises should consider picking the right partner who not only provides the best end-to-end technology from core-to-CPE, but also provides best-in-class operations, support services and brings together device ecosystem partners.

VMblog:  How is Casa Systems' approach to building private networks different than other vendors?

Collins:  We provide a best-in-class approach to end-to-end communications, from the core to the edge and the far-edge, including CPE. Our private network dual-mode core products are fully cloud-native, containerized software workloads that operate on any cloud platform of customer choice, ranging from CSP private clouds to edge compute cloudlets that run on public or hybrid clouds from hyperscale companies like Google and AWS. Our Axyom common software framework provides LTE and 5G co-existence on the same core. Our small-cell solutions follow the O-RAN alliance architecture and we continue to be innovators in this space. Also, with our heritage in providing broadband-grade fixed wireless and cellular IOT Cat1, M1 and NBIOT access devices, we are uniquely positioned to deliver robust connectivity solutions.

VMblog:  This has been great.  Tell us, what's next for Casa Systems?

Collins:  We continue to invest heavily in innovating our converged core, fixed and mobile wireless and wireline broadband access, and IOT and FWA access devices for a range of use cases. With next-generation speed, throughput, dynamic slicing and auto-scaling that sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G service provides, we can enable our customers to unlock the productivity gains that private networking enables by collecting and utilizing data across a variety of use cases.  


About Steve Collins

Steve was previously a part of NetComm Wireless, an industry leader in Fixed Wireless solutions, which was acquired by Casa Systems in July 2019. Steve is now SVP of Access Devices, a Casa Systems product group responsible for Casa's Access Technologies.  Steve is a customer-focused technology innovator with more than 25 years of international product design realization. He is responsible for many world-firsts and is a patent holder himself. 

Steve possess the rare gift of taking an incredibly complex technological challenge and providing a solution in understandable terms. An in-demand international speaker regularly appearing at world leading industry events, Steve is at the bleeding edge of the technology curve.  
Published Monday, September 28, 2020 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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