Thursday, July 25, 2024

Vodafone 5G Edge Replace Notes Maturing Portfolio – and Prospects – IT Connection

John Marcus – Senior Principal Analyst, Enterprise IoT, Mobility, Personal Networks, and Service Improvements.

Abstract Bullets:

• Vodafone has now delivered greater than 100 cellular non-public networks (MPNs), most of which at the moment are in manufacturing environments.

• Vodafone’s MPN portfolio incorporates hybrid networks and slicing, however most manufacturing deployments embody a devoted, on-premises part – though MEC demand stays restricted.

Vodafone Enterprise offered an replace to analysts in Could 2024 on what Vodafone calls its 5G edge. For essentially the most half, this refers to its devoted MPN providing, but additionally incorporates hybrid MPN and cellular edge compute (MEC) options.

Good Information, Dangerous Information
Beginning off with a type of ‘excellent news, unhealthy information’ narrative, Vodafone acknowledges a slowdown in demand for MPNs, however it insisted – convincingly – that the market is getting extra “actual.” Particularly, far fewer new deployments are small-scale proofs of idea (PoCs). Most are for manufacturing environments, with fairly a number of overlaying a number of buyer websites, however even new PoCs are extra critical – with particular use instances outlined, even in a number of areas. To drive the purpose house concerning the rising maturity of MPNs within the subject, Vodafone has additionally shared a number of examples of deployments, which had been initially meant for a single use case, however at the moment are increasing to serve further use instances for his or her prospects.

Vodafone confirms that 5G edge to this point is principally serving multinational corporations (MNCs) and different massive enterprises with customized necessities, notably in industrial verticals together with manufacturing, power/utilities, transportation, and logistics. The main points Vodafone has given on its put in base illustrate a particular enhance because the final time it communicated numbers. Vodafone now claims 112 MPN deployments (80 of that are in manufacturing environments) for 58 distinctive prospects on 5 continents. Due to what it sees as a slowdown in demand (with the exception being for advanced, large-scale necessities), that is what Vodafone is specializing in now – Vodafone is constructing its portfolio and positioning accordingly.

Such alternatives contain prolonged requests for proposal (RFPs) presenting quite a few, typically distinctive, challenges spanning native rules, spectrum availability, and expertise wants, to not point out the wholly non-uniform traits of buyer areas and use instances. Vodafone highlights its deep expertise in fixing such challenges, and Vodafone positions its providing as a managed service able to delivering multi-vendor, multi-geography options, partnering the place it is smart outdoors of its personal working footprint to accommodate massive MNCs. Portfolio choices are outlined for these with extraordinarily strict on-premises necessities, these with roaming wants, and different hybrid conditions, all supported with a Vodafone administration airplane for managed companies.

5G Focus
An rising variety of Vodafone’s current and in-progress MPN deployments are 5G-based, with some based mostly on 5G standalone – ‘bucking the development’ globally of MPNs based mostly on 4G/LTE. It has discovered little price distinction in rolling out 5G in comparison with 4G, noting that units to this point account for a comparatively small portion of total undertaking price. Devoted non-public networks are nonetheless in demand for advanced industrial use instances, however there was a rise in hybrid non-public/public architectures and community slicing from the general public community to satisfy particular buyer necessities. Vodafone notes that the latter is the quickest technique to deploy a campus community, and that it could present both native or nationwide protection with its public community property. The community slice (native or nationwide) providing might be a part of the identical portfolio as devoted MPNs, which is the suitable transfer to make. It’s necessary that cellular operators current all choices collectively as a part of a logical portfolio, regardless of the variations in possession and repair fashions, in order that prospects don’t must resolve on an structure earlier than partaking with them (and might subsequently give attention to their required enterprise outcomes) and in order that operators don’t miss out on alternatives the place completely different elements of the corporate are promoting and supporting completely different enterprise 5G merchandise. Whereas Vodafone has stated its community slicing functionality “is actual and we’re doing it at present,” it has additionally stated its first business provide might be rolled out (in certainly one of its European markets) later in 2024.

MEC Replace
Vodafone was early with distributed and public MEC (with Amazon Wavelength within the UK and Germany) in addition to non-public or devoted edge compute, however like different suppliers, it has found restricted demand to this point. For many MPN use instances at present, the very low latency and native information storage enabled by non-public MECs aren’t essentially the very best precedence. Like different suppliers, Vodafone anticipates use instances served by MPNs will get more and more demanding, making a pull-through impact for MECs in addition to Vodafone’s deep IIoT capabilities – however even when that’s true, enterprises could have their very own approaches to on-premises compute that don’t contain their cellular community supplier. In its replace, Vodafone did present a number of case research demonstrating there’s a minimum of some buyer exercise on this entrance, emphasizing its edge innovation program for builders seeking to leverage both distributed or devoted MEC, and its edge labs, which give sensible entry to its engineering assets and ecosystem companions. A couple of precise business MEC deployments have been famous in non-industrial sectors like media and sports activities in addition to manufacturing. And whereas a lot of the exercise going down by Vodafone’s edge applications remains to be about studying what prospects actually need, Vodafone says that within the course of, it has realized how you can higher talk its MEC structure, making it simpler to indicate prospects how the structure really works.

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