Celona private 5G network products go global ahead of MWC

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – SiliconANGLE.

Private wireless is expected to be a hot topic at next week’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. Ahead of the show, startup Celona Inc. today announced a portfolio of indoor and outdoor private 5G products for the global markets.

To date, Celona has gone to market in the U.S., with its Citizens Broadband Radio Service or CBRS solution. The new products use spectrum across a wide range of international 5G NR bands from 3.3 to 4.9 gigahertz, which means customers can now deploy Celona’s private 5G local area network architecture around the world.

Celona’s 5G LANs are designed for demanding “noncarpeted” enterprise environments such as warehouses or factory floors where latency and deterministic wireless connectivity mean everything. The private cellular technology uses 4G/5G radios and a converged 4G/5G core with full IP stack. It also has a feature called MicroSlicing, which automatically enforces and tracks key service levels such as latency, jitter and packet error rates for individual applications and devices. MicroSlicing ensures that apps get the highest levels of performance on a wireless network without touching client devices.

With this launch, Celona is offering an end-to-end turnkey solution for private 5G that includes various components, such as hardware, software, orchestration and SIMs or eSIMs. The solution is capable of delivering up to 1-gigabit-per-second speeds and latency rates of 10 milliseconds or less. A key focus for the vendor is industrial and semi-industrial use cases, as well as outdoor private 5G wireless deployments. Examples include smart manufacturing and warehousing with high-definition video surveillance. Celona is also focusing on transportation, ports and airports, oil and gas, universities and large campuses.

The new Celona portfolio comes with 5G RAN access points that support bandwidths up to 100 megahertz (MHz) across international bands. Celona’s initial band support will include N48 (3550-3700 MHz) in the U.S.; N77 (3800-4200 MHz) in the U.K. and part of Europe; and N78 (3300-3800 MHz) in the rest of Europe. Later this year, Celona will also support N79 (4600-4900 MHz) in Japan and Southeast Asia.

Previously, its 4G products utilized 3.55 to 3.7 GHz CBRS spectrum in the U.S. only. With the expanded spectrum, Celona has gained access to new global markets. The biggest driver, according to Celona, is the digital transformation that’s taking place in different verticals and the need for next-generation apps that current wireless networks cannot support.

Ahead of the launch, I met with Celona Chief Executive Rajeev Shah (pictured). “We’re going to expand our market presence throughout Europe and in Asia by the end of the year, with a whole new set of products and a unified architecture that can be used globally,” he told me. “For organizations that have warehouses all over the world, they can have a single architecture that works for them.”

The second component in the portfolio is the Celona Edge OS,where concurrent 4G/5G core services, sharing the same data plane, can support both 4G and 5G client devices. The radio portfolio that Celona has with its existing 4G and the new 5G APs, now covers indoor, ruggedized outdoor and a unique 4G/5G multimode indoor AP for the U.S. market.

The last component is the Celona Orchestrator, a cloud-based platform that facilitates remote installation of Celona APs and the administration of its Edge software across multiple sites. Using the Celona Orchestrator, organizations can provision Celona SIMs and eSIMs based on various access control policies within the enterprise network. Celona calls it the “brains behind private 5G,” which controls everything from policy automation to routine maintenance.

“All the services on the Celona Converged Edge and the Celona Orchestrator have always been 5G-ready because they’re built to be radio-agnostic,” Shah told me. “Given the device ecosystem, enterprises need a migration path to 5G. It’s not going to happen right away, so this allows them to make that radio technology transition from 4G to 5G.”

Celona has an aggressive certification program that puts devices through comprehensive interoperability testing to ensure that customers have an open ecosystem of devices to choose from. The certification program guarantees that devices will work on Celona’s private 5G network, and it also, as Shah put it, “educates device manufacturers on what enterprises need, so they can shape their roadmap appropriately.”

On the packaging and pricing side, Celona is offering something unique too. The private 5G portfolio is now available through channel partners as a single software-as-a-service license, with three- and five-year subscription options. This includes the APs, license for CBRS spectrum access if required, Celona Edge software, Celona SIMs and eSIMs, the Orchestrator management system, technical support and hardware warranty. The three-year subscription price per indoor or outdoor AP starts at $17,000 and $57,500, respectively.

The path to private wireless has been a long, winding one with many stops and starts along the way. One of the challenges has been finding use cases for it, outside the traditional use of manufacturing and warehouses. Today, it’s becoming more common to find it being used as part of smart cities, in large venues such as stadiums, manufacturing plants and other use cases. These new use cases will “prime the innovation pump” and create broader adoption. The new spectrum supported by Celona will allow businesses to adopt private cellular in more places for more use cases.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.