Cisco, NTT join forces to supercharge private 5G network transformations

NTT and Cisco said they will jointly build and bring to market technology and managed services that will enable enterprise customers to deploy private 5G.

The collaboration will accelerate edge connectivity through NTT’s Managed Private 5G solution, combined with Intel hardware. This will enable Cisco and NTT customers to easily integrate private 5G into their pre-existing LAN/WAN/cloud infrastructure.

These mega-players are looking to meet the needs of the increasing number of enterprises that are investing in network modernization for security, productivity, sustainability and other corporate objectives. Many are turning to private 5G.

Cisco and NTT are working together to assist enterprise customers in accelerating digital transformation with 5G and Wi-Fi across IT and OT operations, according to Masum Mir, senior vice president and general manager for provider mobility at Cisco Networking.

Cloud-managed private 5G will easily enable integration with customers’ enterprise network fabrics, and “provide a common policy and zero trust security architecture,” Mir said in a statement accompanying the joint announcement. The goal is to minimize technical, financial and operational risks associated with managing 5G networks, he said. 

Private 5G: Reporting for action

“Private 5G is emerging as a solution for enterprises that seek granular deployment, higher speed and better security capabilities than Wi-Fi and 4G LTE may offer,” Parm Sandhu, vice president, enterprise 5G products and services, NTT, told VentureBeat. “Its reduced latency is thought to better enable data-intensive Industry 4.0 and other applications such as push-to-talk ‘walkie-talkie’ communications, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), always-connected PCs (for digital frontline workers), machine vision (e.g. predictive maintenance, PPE detection) and more,” Despite some initial slow uptake, 5G of the private variety is garnering momentum.

According to IDC, the global private 5G market is expected to exceed $8 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 35.7% from 2022. Further indicating this demand is NTT’s Global Network Report, which revealed that 70% of C-level executives say their current network is negatively affecting their business, and that 86% plan to adopt private 5G to drive network modernization. Such data drives the interest of NTT, Cisco and others.

Computer vision, predictive analytics among the targets

Cisco and NTT have already begun coordinating on several customer deployments. The two companies are planning to power computer vision for product quality analysis, predictive analytics for manufacturing equipment functionality and maintenance, and autonomous vehicles for moving products on the factory floor, using NTT’s IoT-connected solutions.

NTT claims to have the world’s first fully managed enterprise private 5G platform. The company has multi-year agreements with innovative brands such as Celona, VMware, Albemarle, ServiceNow, Schneider Electric and BMW Innovation Hub.

NTT has also aided the Frankfurt Airport in building Europe’s largest private 5G network, and the City of Las Vegas in deploying the largest private 5G network in the U.S. 

“We’re confident that we’ll be well positioned to expand our ecosystem that will enable enterprise private 5G networks to scale and ultimately help companies achieve better business outcomes across industries,” Sandhu said.

Cisco, meanwhile, was active in 5G news beyond its agreement with NTT. Much of that news coincided with this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The company launched Meraki 5G gateways with T-Mobile; gained a deal with Vtal to build a multi-tenant 5G network in Brazil; and said it is collaborating with Intel to build “global 5G innovation centers” to test 5G applications and use cases.

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