Definitely time to get clued up on MPNs – Tom Sime, CEO of Exchange Communications

With the drive towards improving operational efficiency and digitisation, Scottish businesses are changing the way they operate with many looking to mobile private networks (MPNs) to improve efficiency, reliability and increase digital capacity.

If you haven’t heard of MPNs, it is definitely time to get yourself and your business clued up. While MPNs are not new, we have seen a rise in interest from businesses across the country and across various sectors wanting to know more about the benefits and if it’s something they should consider.

MPNs can revolutionise business by bringing the network and the cloud closer to the devices that need it. They allow companies to manage all of their devices, services, and assets in a more secure and efficient way, all while having more control of their network, a local network on their premises.

While public networks can be accessed by anyone with a mobile plan, private networks are deployed for exclusive use by an enterprise and allows only authorised users and devices to connect. It’s definitely worth considering what the benefits are of deploying something like this for your business.

Security is often the driving force behind companies that choose to create their own private mobile network. We hear more and more reports of cybersecurity attacks on businesses across the globe and MPNs can be a key tool to reducing risks and keeping important data safe as it doesn’t leave your premises to be stored externally.

Reliability is also an important factor. Industries such as manufacturing, for example, cannot rely on a public network to monitor its machines and equipment. If the network has an issue, it could halt production. MPNs create greater business responsiveness as your data can be collected, analysed and then acted upon locally without needing to cross the network.

It is scalable so it’s possible to create a solution for a manufacturing company which enables thousands of devices on its factory floor to connect to the network without affecting performance. Slow public connections and lagging can also affect productivity and a private network eliminates any dependency on a public network.

As well as solving these common concerns businesses can have, MPNs open the door to the future and make it easier to upgrade and implement new technologies, ensuring businesses can remain agile and adapt.

MPNs can utilise both 4G and 5G technology and for many businesses, 4G is more than efficient for what they would like to achieve. However, 5G does allow for better future-proofing and is essential for virtual reality, robotics and remotely controlled vehicles. Fully private dedicated 5G networks ensures a business owns all of the network infrastructure as well as the spectrum, giving it full control. This is often a good option for large businesses particularly in the industrial, manufacturing and oil and gas sectors.

But that doesn’t mean to say that it isn’t something smaller companies and those in other sectors can benefit from. Hybrid MPNs see businesses owning part of the network infrastructure but also working with a service provider to manage and run the network. A good option for retail, healthcare, stadiums and office campuses.

More and more, I have been helping businesses create their own MPN but it’s important to think about these aspects and decide how you need your MPN to work for you before taking it forward. What is certain is that digitalisation is only going to become more important to businesses as we head into 2023 so definitely offers some food for thought.

Tom Sime, CEO of Exchange Communications

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