18 May 2022

Keeping visibility front of mind in the age of enterprise 5G

Enterprise 5G has huge potential. Across the telecoms landscape – particularly for equipment manufacturers and systems integrators – private networks are being seen as one of the biggest growth areas across the next few years. Why? This is largely due to the slower than anticipated public 5G roll-out, still yet to prove its worth and deliver on its promises.  

Private networks therefore represent a lucrative opportunity that industries can engage with straight away – especially with some of the smart ‘network in a box’ solutions currently on the market. Yet it is essential that security remains front of mind for those introducing private networks, as visibility and monitoring remains critical across all 5G infrastructure, regardless of whether it is public or private. 

The benefits 

There are already some hugely exciting use cases for enterprise 5G within the UK. Southampton port, for example, was the first mainland port in the country to boast its use of private 5G network. And for manufacturers looking to embrace Industry 4.0 and the growing Internet of Things (IoT) private networks will be indispensable for reducing latency and streamlining operations.  

What’s more, this evolution does not have to be hugely expensive. As long as private networks are introduced in smaller, rural locations (e.g., not required to span across large cities), regulators have reserved spectrum for private networks and for minimal fees. Therefore, a minor investment will mean more far more agility and connectivity for the organisations that are ready to utilise the latest innovative technologies.  

Security concerns  

A central concern for enterprise 5G is security. While the popular ‘network in a box’ solution for private networks may be great in theory, what happens when it’s not working so seamlessly? Private networks are being sold as a business solution, although the workforce using this technology will likely have never encountered anything like it. Most critically, they will have never monitored this kind of network and simply will not have the technical understanding for how to. To bridge the knowledge gap, it is important the industry builds an ecosystem of service providers focused specifically on the safety and security of private networks. From here, telecoms operators, equipment manufacturers and network analytics solution providers can support businesses from the initial network implementation, through to troubleshooting and optimisation.  

There is also no room for complacency. Organisations may presume a network is safe and secure simply because it is only internal data running across it. “It’s private, so what are the risks?” It is true that 5G is intrinsically more secure (it was built with security in mind), and a private network will be less vulnerable to attackers. Yet private 5G will still be a target for cybercriminals, as with greater connectivity and a wider network of IoT devices comes larger opportunity for bad actors. 

Therefore, businesses must recognise the importance of regular monitoring and deep observability across all data in motion to ensure that there are no cybercriminals attempting to compromise devices. Deep observability is real-time network-level intelligence that enhances the power of metric, event, log and trace-based monitoring tools and mitigates security risk. For private networks, this is visibility is key to ensuring organisations can reap the benefits of their enterprise 5G investment and protect their network from external threats in a dangerous cyber environment. 

Private Networks User Guides & podcast

Private networks: a new user guide by techUK

Our #techUKPrivateNetworks campaign week celebrated the publication of a new user guide techUK has produced, to help prospective private networks customers, across enterprise and the public sector, understand the key benefits of adopting advanced connectivity in their organisations. The guide helps users as they formulate a business case for investing in enhanced private networks, and the key success factors. We also shine a spotlight on several case studies. 

Private networks: a techUK user guide

Gain a clear understanding of the benefits of adopting private network technology for your business with this techUK user guide.

Download for free

Private network ecosystem: Management model - A new techUK guide

techUK's Advanced Communications Services Working Group created a new guide for organisations considering building out services using 5G networking technology entitled 'Private network ecosystem: Management model'

It introduces and describes the principles of neutral hosts, and then goes on to describe the architecture and ecosystem which supports the provision of shared services, particularly in the context of high capacity/low latency applications, which will drive 5G deployment. While this paper is focussed on 5G, many of the principles of neutral hosts, and the discussion of edge versus core provision will apply to other technologies such as Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi 6.

Private network ecosystem: Management model

A technical guide by techUK for users of private networks, outlining how the ecosystem is managed. It outlines the architecture of edge native applications in the architecture of the ecosystem, the value chain and operating models, resilience, operations, and the role of Neutral Hosts. 

Download for free


The techUK podcast: Making the case for Private Networks

In this episode of the techUK podcast, we explore the topic of private networks for enterprise, specifically, how we can accelerate the deployment of private networks from beyond the testbed phase and drive adoption across industry and the public sector.  

The episode covers the key challenges for enterprise customers that the telecoms sector can address with advanced connectivity services, including 5G and Wi-Fi 6, and how we, the supplier base, can effectively deliver on the benefits of private networks. 

Sophie James, Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy at techUK, joins a conversation with Simon Parry, CTO at Nokia EnterpriseCatherine Gull, Consultant at Cellnex and Dez O’Connor, Senior Manager at Cisco. Sophie also catches up with Mike Kennett, Senior Consultant & Head of Regulatory Affairs at Freshwave



Guest blog by Adrian Belcher, Solutions Architect, Gigamon — Follow Gigamon on Twitter and LinkedIn

To read more from the Future Private Networks campaign week check out our landing page here.