16 May 2022

Why private cellular networks are becoming a popular solution in sectors from automotive to distribution centres

For organisations operating in challenging environments, for instance large geographic areas, or dynamic areas with obstacles and prone to Wi-Fi interference, setting up a Private Cellular Network can be a cost-effective and secure way to establish a wireless local-area network (LAN). Wi-Fi doesn’t upscale cost-effectively, is vulnerable to interference outdoors, and carries security concerns. Meanwhile, public 4G LTE or 5G may not be the right solution due to coverage or data plans. That’s why Private 4G LTE and Private 5G often make sense across places like school districts, distribution centres, Smart Cities, transportation hubs, and manufacturing sites. 

A Private Cellular Network (PCN) leverages cellular access points to provide coverage and connectivity, similar to a scaled-down version of a public cellular network. It’s a dedicated network that combines the fixed cost and control of Wi-Fi with the security, mobility, and coverage of cellular. It’s not only the security of PCN that is appealing but many businesses are relying on them for coverage and performance in large, previously difficult to connect areas. 

At Cradlepoint, we’ve been working in several different areas with our clients to provide reliable, secure connections. Here are some examples: 


A popular automotive manufacturer is using PCN in their research and development location to help build their production line of the future for electric vehicles. They use many machines to make these electric vehicles with the cars needing between hundreds and thousands of welds on them. This is done through a robotic welding machine with each weld checked for quality by artificial intelligence (AI) through cameras on each machine. To do all this robotic vision and AI, they need a reliable connection back to the machine. With security, reliability, agility and flexibility being a key factor in the manufacturing plant, Wi-Fi isn’t the best solution. They needed a robust reliable wireless connection and PCN was the obvious answer. 

Transportation Hubs

Many transportation hubs are looking for capabilities they can't get from Wi-Fi. Shipping ports are a prime use case for private cellular networks using it for asset tracking, routing and equipment monitoring. Trucks and containers are in constant motion, but vehicles stay within the defined area of the port and do not interact with outside traffic. However, due to the expansive area covered by ports it would be too expensive to cover the whole area with Wi-Fi.   

Tourist attractions

We’ve seen an increased interest and use cases for PCN in tourist attractions. One large tourist attraction venue needed connectivity that would not be compromised by Wi-Fi. The PCN was used for business critical applications such as point of sale devices, IoT devices and asset monitoring, ensuring the smooth operation of the venue, and increasing the experience for the tourists. A separate network applications allows for better performance of business-critical applications, while delivering a segmented network for tourist connectivity and experience. PCN’s can facilitate these reliable connections with strong security measures and high speed connectivity. 

Distribution Centres

Warehouses and distribution centres are another huge area of growth for PCNs. A PCN is helping to facilitate digital transformation in warehouses across the globe and can address diverse use cases, such as predictive maintenance, autonomous machines, factory robotics and ultra-high-definition video analytics used for security or quality control. 

Guest blog by Roger Jones, Solution Architect, EMEA at Cradlepoint. Follow Cradlepoint on Twitter and LinkedIn

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


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