Over the past several months, I have spent time with Celona, a startup offering a private cellular networking platform as a service. I like Celona’s strategy as it has the potential to be disruptive from a cost perspective while also simplifying the deployment and management of 5G for enterprises most accustomed to managing Wi-Fi and wireline. Today, the company announced its architectural vision titled “Edgeless Enterprise.” I want to dig into the details and provide my insights into what I find most compelling.
Defining the edgeless enterprise
At a high level, Celona believes that through the deployment of 5G networking principles, enterprises of all sizes can deliver applications, data, and services more efficiently to users and devices while also ensuing the highest levels of performance. Presently, enterprise knowledge workers utilize a mix of connectivity solutions that include corporate local area networks, Wi-Fi and broadband hotspots, public LTE and 5G networks deployed by operators such as AT&T and T-Mobile, and most recently private LTE and 5G networks. The array of overlays are complex, and the rise of disaggregation ushered by the introduction of software-defined networking tools and cloudification is only compounding the challenges as the application layer becomes increasingly dispersed.
Consequently, the dynamic and ever-changing nature of modern networking topologies is placing enormous pressure on IT and OT operators from a security and performance standpoint. With Celona’s “Edgeless Enterprise” architecture, simplification can be achieved through the use of a single network overlay that dynamically delivers improved policy routing, higher quality of service, and security segmentation. I believe one of the other outcomes from this approach is a more consistent application user experience. Improved user experiences lead to higher productivity, and simplification can lower operational expense allocations and allow IT staff to focus on more value-added support for the lines of businesses supported. It is a powerful combination that can benefit organizations of any size.
The impact of 5G
5G may be one of the most hyped cellular “Gs” within the 3GPP standard’s history, but its game-changing benefits are undeniable. 5G promises throughput at that of wired connections and latency that edges (pun intended) close to the single-digit milliseconds. Given the tremendous performance improvements as well as its inherently more virtualized design, 5G allows Celona to deliver a micro-slicing capability that enables the mapping, enforcement, and tracking of essential routing, security, and performance levels across both new private cellular and existing enterprise networks. In this scenario, services are orchestrated, not configured, automation can be deployed to quickly troubleshoot and remediate issues, and application intent can be directly translated into network resources.
From my perspective, this is a compelling capability given new services that can take advantage of 5G’s quantum level latency and throughput improvements over LTE can be rolled out faster and more securely. This has the potential to provide businesses with a competitive advantage in the form of faster time to market and new monetization opportunities.
I like Celona’s edgeless enterprise vision because it leans heavily into a modern architectural approach that leverages software-defined tools and 5G microservices. The result is the automation of policy that delivers a higher quality of service tailored to a specific application need. Microservices provide a platform that can massively scale-out and one of 5G’s other superpowers is its ability to support a massive number of connected devices. This one-two punch will most certainly lay the framework for massive industrial IoT support and deliver on the promises of Industry 4.0.
Celona has also wisely partnered with HPE Aruba and recently announced partnerships with over a dozen IT value-added resellers. I believe their channel strategy should offer the Celona 5G as-a-service platform to a vast enterprise install base. Keep your eye on Celona – I believe it will be a competitive force in the race to providing private 5G networking and compelling enterprise digital transformation services.
Will Townsend is a Senior Analyst that manages the Security, Networking Infrastructure and Carrier Services practice at Moor Insights & Strategy. Mr. Townsend advises some of the largest networking infrastructure providers and carriers in the world. He has been featured on NPR, CNBC, in the Wall Street Journal, providing insights into enterprise networking and 5G. Mr. Townsend is also considered one of the top networking analysts in the world.