By Paul Rasmussen

Nokia ramps private 5G LAN opportunity

Enterprise LAN is being positioned by Nokia as a key part of its 5G strategy, with opportunities for private high-speed networks being seen in smart cities, shipping ports and the manufacturing sector.

During the company’s MWC19 Barcelona press conference, its president and CEO, Rajeev Suri, said that many tens of millions of users would be connected to private LANs as the opportunity develops over the next 10 years. “We have established a new business group to handle this growth, and we’re confident that we can increase our customer base by a factor of four in the near-term.”

Suri named industrial leaders, such as Komatsu and BMW, as companies that are seriously considering the high-speed benefits provided by deploying a private LAN using 5G technology. “This might involve the use of unlicensed spectrum, but Wi-Fi is not the right technology for private LAN networks.”

Questioned on whether this approach would put the company into competition with its mobile operator customers, the Nokia exec rebutted the suggestion, claiming it would work closely with MNOs to win opportunities. “We’re looking at campus and local networks – LANs not WANs. We would be a complementary partner with our operator customer base.”

Building on the theme, Suri stressed Nokia was now positioned to provide complete, packaged 5G solutions. “We can offer a complete end-to-end solution, and the days are over for multivendor systems. Our approach enables a 45 per cent time saving in time-to-market, and a 30 per cent reduction in cost of ownership.”

The CEO also used the occasion to address one of the hottest industry topics: security.

“I will not comment on particular security issues, but the facts relating to 5G do not support any claims of poor security. For Nokia, there is less to distinguish between the core network and the edge components with 5G networks.

He added that security was an issue for governments, and “we’re closely watching events. But this heightened awareness of security is becoming a factor behind the uptake of 5G – it has become a driver for adoption”.