Spectrum for sale – the benefits of private wireless networks

12 November 2021

Tina Yates, EMEA business manager

Tina Yates, EMEA business manager

Reliable, effective, wireless networks have become a critical component to day-to-day life in our pandemic environment. Tina Yates, EMEA business manager, Nuvias Group, discusses why strong, reliable wireless networks are not just critical to the economy, but in enabling the future of IoT

Every single second another 127 IoT devices connect to our data networks. More than 35 billion devices are now in operation – sending an unending stream of information on almost anything that affects their performance or operating conditions. There appears to be no slowing in the anticipated demand for smart, connected devices.

This means we are all competing for a share of limited bandwidth. Yet, many companies rely on an uninterrupted data flow to run their business effectively and meet customer demands. Instant data access is vital to the success of their operations.

Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if Heathrow airport lost access to its passenger or flight information? Or if Felixstowe port lost track of the 3.8 million containers it handles every year? Uninterrupted connectivity and data security are fundamental to running many businesses, beyond the transport sector, including healthcare, education, logistics and many more.

Private Wireless Networks can offer the reassurance of uninterrupted service, bandwidth and security that many businesses require.

Access to a private network
Private networks require access to spectrum, a precious and finite commodity. Spectrum refers to the invisible radio frequencies that convey wireless signals. It is what enables us to make calls, message someone on our smartphones, use social media or shop online. The frequencies that we use for wireless are only a small portion of what is called the electromagnetic spectrum.

The UK and Germany have recently put some of the national spectrum up for sale. It is an opportunity for businesses and organisations to build their private networks. For many, it presents the chance to create a high-performance, efficient network in a disputed and fluid environment.

Take the following sectors as examples as to how private networks can transform their performance.

Airports: We are all hoping that air travel will soon return to normal. When it does, we need to adjust to the realities of a post-pandemic world. In the new environment, airport operators need to monitor passenger flow and minimise any health risks. A robust, industrial-grade private wireless network makes effective use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) analytics. It keeps track of passenger movements, interprets temperature-sensing imagery, and monitors mask usage, all in real-time.Even in normal circumstances, efficient wireless data connectivity is vital to ensure the smooth running of an airport. IoT enabled equipment coordinates efficient bus transfers, refuelling operations, baggage handling, de-icing, and many other day-to-day issues. Real-time data can also reduce flight delays and enhance plane turnaround times.

Ports: More than 20 million containers are on the move or storing goods every day. Keeping track of their location, and the condition of their contents is critical in a global logistics chain. Many ports, however, suffer from poor or patchy wireless coverage. A private wireless network can cover all port facilities. It ensures the safe monitoring of crane mounted video cameras to check on goods, their movements, and their condition. A real-time overview of site assets, people, and vehicles is also the best way to ensure portside security and the health and safety of the operators.

Healthcare: The pandemic has put a severe strain on healthcare resources. An effective wireless network can help manage and use resources more efficiently by using IoT systems to track hospital equipment, staff, and patients. It can also provide a reliable network to host automated services for the prompt delivery of medicines, for example. The healthcare sector handles a huge amount of operational complexity, and it’s in such pressured circumstances that robust networks that are not subject to failure come into their own - especially when patients’ lives are at risk.

Education: Higher education, especially in subjects such as architecture, mathematics and other branches of science, increasingly use complex modelling applications. There is also an accelerating need for access to databases - such as those containing engineering and statistical data - as part of these courses. For students to train in a way that will prepare them to use their skills in applied environments (if they are not already doing so), they also require access to a stable, high-performance wireless network.

Logistics: As the movement of goods becomes faster, often managed to the minute or second, connecting the pieces in a supply chain is vital. This includes potentially disruptive points in the process such as customs checks. New Brexit regulations mean hauliers need customs clearance to comply with the new import-export regulations. With trucks out on the open road, good connectivity becomes vitally important when you need fast access to up-to-date electronic documentation. The connection of vehicles, goods, suppliers and customers will only increase in importance as eCommerce continues to accelerate.

Spectrum for Sale
Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud (NDAC) creates the opportunity to take advantage of the new availability of national spectrum for private use. Its private wireless networking solution has already been successfully deployed across the world by leading airport operators, automotive, manufacturing, and energy companies.

NDAC reliably and securely connects CCTV, walkie-talkies, drones, robots, self-serving vehicles and more. Designed for industrial-grade wireless networks, it offers considerable gains in security and reliability compared with standard Wi-Fi. Beyond just peer-to-peer connectivity, it provides IoT connectivity at the highest level. It also provides a platform for the affordable deployment of 5G and related applications in the future.

If you are considering a private wireless network, now is the chance to get on board. It could be the boost and security your organisation has been looking for.