It’s practically impossible to be in any technology industry and be unfamiliar with the name Intel. My first professional interactions with Intel go back to the SE440BX Pentium II generation of technology in the late 90s. Even then, it was apparent that Intel was more than “just a CPU manufacturer”. They have a strong track record of driving industries and technical solutions adoption that go well beyond a logo on the outside of a box, but what’s surprising to me is that they can pop up in some unexpected places.
Private Networking Redefined
When the networking industry discusses Private Networking, it’s easy to conjure images of VPN clients, concentrators, and IPsec tunnels. Intel and the CBRS alliance are working to redefine what Private Networking means to enterprise networking and it’s easy to see why. In today’s world we expect to connect seamlessly and securely to our resources regardless of where we’re at. The networking industry has been generally bifurcated between Wi-Fi technologies on one side of the equation and more expensive metered and licensed technologies such as LTE and 4G/5G solutions on the other.
CBRS aims to bring a middle ground to this conversation, blending the private ownership and enterprise deployment/ownership capabilities of networks to robust technologies like LTE – but without the pesky Telco hanging out in the middle collecting their monthly dues. CBRS promises the best of 4G/5G performance, coverage, and reliability – all while keeping the capability for ownership, architecture, and operation of the network squarely where the enterprise wants it – in the hands of IT. Leveraging CBRS as an additional access method expands the traditional enterprise edge model of today that squarely belongs to Wi-Fi, ethernet, and client-based VPN technologies.
Focusing on Solutions Building and Adoption
Enter, the OnGo Alliance (https://ongoalliance.org/why-ongo/). The OnGo Alliance is a consortium of CBRS technology partners, implementers, and operators that have all thrown their weight behind ensuring that CBRS is accessible, standard, and compatible with the devices that you’re using in your enterprise today. They aim to bring some sanity to the potential confusion that enterprises are going to invariably face when adapting a traditionally Telco-centric solution into the world of VLANs, switches, and ethernet. Intel, a member of the OnGo Alliance, is once again at the forefront of solutions building and adoption – and maybe not in the way you think. Even though Intel does make wireless solutions (Wi-Fi adapters, etc), they are not in the business of making the radios that go in the eNodeB (think CBRS Access Point) that is hanging on your ceiling. Rather, Intel is focused on driving the solution ecosystem that supports the variety of services that are ultimately required to operate a CBRS network. A traditional IT organization may have to deal with email, DNS, webhosting, networking, applications, and endpoints (among others)– but concepts like Radio Access Networks, Packet Cores, and Multi-Access Edges are generally foreign to these teams.
CBRS – Here to Stay
Regardless of your vertical, it’s clear that CBRS is targeting bringing secure connectivity to ever increasing environments – whether that be carpeted office indoor, dock side connectivity, campus wide, or even district wide use cases – CBRS, leveraging lightly licensed frequencies, can ensure that there is sufficient bandwidth and coverage for everyone. Coupled with an influx of devices coming onto the market, all the pieces from the FlexRAN-based RAN, the Intel Smart Edge solution and OpenVINOTM, are clearly being driven by Intel’s commitment to the OnGo Alliance to drive a more consistent and pervasive adoption of CBRS. Yes, this drives compute from Intel, but when IT organizations start to peel back the onion of adopting CBRS, you should expect to see much more than x86 compute being driven by Intel. They are a shining example of what it means to build an ecosystem around a solution, and CBRS with the OnGo Alliance promises to be here for a good long while.
Learn more about CBRS and how Intel addresses private networks by watching this video.