Google makes private 5G play – with Betacom, Boingo, Celona, and others
Google Cloud has followed hyperscale mega-rivals Microsoft and AWS into the private 5G market with a bunch of specialist vendor and channel partners, starting with Betacom, Boingo Wireless, Celona, Crown Castle, and Kajeet. It said it is offering “turn-key” private 5G with the option to run network management, control, and user plane functions in the cloud-cloud and the edge-cloud on site.
It said its recent headline deals with operators will offer enterprises a way to roam beyond their on-premise private 5G setups, and also afford remote control over sundry edge functions. Interestingly, press statements from its two new vendor partners suggested, at a glance, Celona has been pegged for deployments in smart buildings and real estate, and Kajeet is being directed towards school placements, both with CBRS spectrum provision in the US.
Meanwhile, a note from Betacom, which handles network design and service in public macro and private micro networks, and prefers a familiar Airspan-and-Druid two-hander for radio (RAN) and core network provision, put emphasis on the Industry 4.0 space, implying it has been primed within the new Google Cloud camp to go after smart factories and the like. Lines are blurred of course; the Celona announcement only majors on a big real-estate install.
But it is also tempting to speculate on the makeup of the group, which compares most keenly with the partner-led private 5G offer from AWS, where Mavenir is the first name for RAN supply, Athonet is high on the list of preferred core network suppliers, and Federated Wireless (number two for SAS share in the CBRS market, behind Google), is the go-to for frequency coordination in the US (itself, a long-time confidante of Celona, of course). Google noted CBRS-like provisions in the UK, Germany, Japan, and South Korea, making clear its intentions are to go global with these partners, and partners like them (more will follow).
JMA Wireless is also named for RAN, and has roped in Druid Software with AWS, too. These are not exclusive clubs, so far as the hyperscalers are concerned – which works well for the vendor-side, too. Amol Phadke, managing director and general manager for telecom industry at Google Cloud, said: “These solutions address the distinct performance, service-level, and economic needs of key industry verticals by combining dedicated network capabilities with full edge-computing application stacks.”
The “edge-computing stacks” are based on Google’s Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) Edge, of course, which plugs directly into its cloud services – and is “backed by Google’s security best practices”, said Phadke, to reassure the Industry 4.0 crowd. He said: “Our partnerships with CSPs further enable enterprises with roaming connectivity while retaining control of their private environments.”
A statement said Betacom will offer its private 5G management service, with prominent slice and dice functions, on the GDC edge and Celona will do the same with its private 5G ‘operating system’. The separate press missive from Celona said “one of the largest real estate investment firms in the US” is already using GDC along the cloud-edge continuum, via Celona’s on-top software, to extend compute and networking indoors and outdoors.
It said its edge-cellular model for real estate reduces the cost and accelerates the deployment to deploy in-building connectivity and IoT applications, and also keeps traffic out of the public network. Kajeet’s appearance is about fixed-wireless access for “students and communities”. Meanwhile, Boingo Wireless will combine its private 5G offer with GDC in big venues (“airports, stadiums, hospitals, manufacturing facilities, military bases”)
The Crown Castle setup will use GDC as the go-to-compute facility for private networks using its wireless infrastructure and fibre networks, said Google Cloud. Phadke put the boot into Wi-Fi. He said: “Private cellular… offer(s) a variety of benefits over Wi-Fi… Wi-Fi can be noisy and inconsistent in terms of latency and bandwidth, which impacts its ability to deliver the QoS for real-time applications like video monitoring and robotic manufacturing.”
He went on: “It is also hard to use Wi-Fi to provide capacity and coverage in large areas like entertainment venues, nor is Wi-Fi well suited for connecting large numbers of sensors and IoT devices. And in places where a connected device is on the move, like in a warehouse or distribution center, Wi-Fi doesn’t offer the seamless connectivity that workers and vehicles require.”
Google Cloud wants private 5G scale, it said, as per the industry mantra currently. Phadke said: “Enterprises have been experimenting with private networks but operating and scaling them presents challenges… Every enterprise has unique topography, latency and QoS requirements for their applications. GDC Edge provides a centralized control and management plane for secure networks, scaling from one to thousands of locations… Customers can run private networks including virtualized RAN for connectivity and edge applications in a single solution.”
Johan Bjorklund, chief executive at Betacom, said: “Google has been at the forefront of shared spectrum access in the US from the beginning, and has a strong leadership position in the development and deployment of GDCEdge across the globe. We are pleased to be one of the initial partners… to deliver its new private networks solutions portfolio on GDC Edge, and look forward to working with our joint customers to support their Industry 4.0 initiatives.”
Celona stated: “With this partnership, we take care of the first piece of the puzzle with our 5G LAN technology offering the highest levels of predictable connectivity, and since it is running on GDC Edge, powerful real estate applications now extend into private enterprise environments. Usually connectivity and compute have been thought of separately. That no longer has to be the case, thanks to this close partnership between Google Cloud and Celona.”
Derrick Frost, senior vice president of private wireless at Kajeet, said: “Google has been a long-standing partner in our education business for equitable access and network reliability to students using Google Chromebooks. We are very excited to extend our partnership in enabling a unique private 5G experience to schools and students across America. GDC helps us realize economies of scale in a common environment encompassing private networks at the edge, a private data center, and the public cloud.”