HPE’s Aruba unit debuts platform for building private 5G networks – SiliconANGLE News

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.’s Aruba unit today debuted a new hardware and software bundle, HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G, that companies can use to build their own 5G networks.

Organizations rely on Wi-Fi routers to provide wireless connectivity at their offices. Larger corporate locations such as factories, in turn, increasingly use on-site 5G networks instead of Wi-Fi to facilitate internet access. The reason is range: A Wi-Fi router’s coverage extends a few hundred feet at most, while a 5G network can process signals from devices located miles away.

“Enterprise and industrial customers are increasingly seeking to deliver wireless coverage in demanding environments, including large outdoor areas,” said Stuart Strickland, wireless chief technology officer at HPE’s Aruba network equipment unit. ”The complexity of conventional approaches to private cellular networks has held them back.”

HPE says that its new Enterprise Private 5G platform is designed to be relatively easy to deploy. According to the company, some setup tasks can be completed in as little as 30 minutes. HPE envisions the platform finding use at locations such as hospitals, factories and sports stadiums.

Enterprise Private 5G is built around a so-called 5G core. This is the set of backend components that powers a wireless network’s core features. It processes users’ login requests, optimizes the speed of their connections, secures those connections and performs a range of other tasks.

HPE provides the 5G core together with ProLiant servers, which perform the computations involved in processing network traffic, and small cells. Those are miniature cell towers optimized for use in private 5G networks. HPE says that its small cells can be used in both outdoor and indoor environments.

Starting next year, the company’s networking hardware will support a section of the radio spectrum known as the CBRS band. Companies can send data over this band, which spans the 3.55-gigahertz to 3.7-gigahertz range, without having to purchase the licenses required to use other parts of the spectrum. That can help reduce the costs involved in setting up a 5G network.

Employee handsets must be equipped with a specially configured SIM card before they can connect to a company’s private wireless network. According to HPE, Enterprise Private 5G includes SIM cards to ease procurement for customers. The platform also supports the eSIM standard.

An eSIM card has a smaller form factor than the standard variety and is installed into a device during manufacturing, which means it can’t be removed. To switch wireless networks or accounts within the same network, users reprogram the eSIM card instead of swapping it with another. The technology can be found in many connected devices and is also widely supported by smartphone makers.

Alongside hardware, Enterprise Private 5G includes software that companies can use to manage their deployments. HPE says that the software eases tasks such as setting up network equipment, monitoring it for technical issues and managing subscriber accounts. The company also provides tools that can be used to stream data from a 5G network to artificial intelligence models.

Down the road, HPE plans to integrate the software with Aruba Networking Central. This is a cloud-based service that administrators use to manage hardware products from the company’s Aruba networking unit. The service provides the ability to manage Wi-Fi access points, switches and other network devices through a centralized interface, which eases day-to-day maintenance tasks.

Image: HPE

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