ZARIOT & Able Device achieve seamless private-public network switching

Recently, the demand for private networks – standalone IT environments built and managed for organizations such as factories, warehouses, docks, or hospitals, has expanded rapidly, reaching a market capitalization of USD$4 billion in 2022.

This adoption is typically driven by the desire for tighter security and functional flexibility, or essentially, more control. It also promises more reliable and robust coverage, higher bandwidths, speeds, and security – the same benefits touted for 5G. Although LTE (4G) can provide similar results, it is access to 5G features such as autonomous systems, digital twinning and other functionality that are often the long-term ambitions.

Moreover, the technical barriers for private network adoption are decreasing. With necessary spectrum licensing, such as the US’ CBRS and other regional policies also playing a major role.


Concerns surrounding private networks

However, two problems tend to reoccur. An asset, be that person, thing, or product, often needs to leave the private ringfenced environment and connect to the wider cellular network, but also reestablish private coverage as soon as it is available.

How do you secure and facilitate these moves?

Your private network island exists in a sea of public cellular coverage. Thus, your asset needs to know how to swap and when to move or maintain connectivity for optimum coverage.

Swapping between cells in public networks is forgiving since coverage overlaps. However, private network coverage is more physically constrained and the edges more abrupt. Plus, the public network still overlaps and is likely visible across your whole estate.

All this makes seamless switching more challenging. Yet, it is still necessary to maximize private utilization and network performance.

How do you secure your assets once they are off the island?

The umbrella of security must be maintained faultlessly even when the device roams onto the public network.

In the third of our four-part series, we look at key challenges involved in switching and security before discussing how ZARIOT and Able Device’s joint solution helps you overcome these issues.

For more details on our joint solution and features, check out our other articles here.


Challenges with network switching

For private networks the public cellular coverage is both beneficial and problematic.

On the plus side, it helps to maintain connectivity of your assets when beyond private network coverage and provides a valuable backup if issues arise. Nevertheless, its powerful signal will also create noise that can confuse and delay the time devices take to attach to your environment.

In some circumstances you could have a mixed estate. Wi-Fi is excellent for high bandwidth solutions, while latency sensitive and mission-critical applications tend to be better served by cellular. However, relying on Wi-Fi for public-private handover has issues. Devices may not be equipped to effectively switch between the different access technologies, and scanning multiple signals also causes delays in establishing connections.

Other deep technical nuances can also cause challenges.

For example, open cellular data channels can lead to delays in switching to the private network. An employee on a video call on the public network may not automatically switch over to the private network.

Furthermore, a SIM can only recognize a private network as its ‘home’ in a single country. This will cause issues for a company with sites on the French-Belgium border that are only a few miles apart.

Finally, you have the security challenges. You must preserve the assets communication security and integrity whichever access network it is utilizing. Not only public or private cellular, but potentially Wi-Fi and wired as well.


Harmonizing private and public network access

ZARIOT’s advanced eUICC SIMs are certified secure and enable an array of in-house and partner solutions, including Able Device’s embedded SIMbae™ applet. Together, we offer a smooth and effective approach to overcome switching challenges.

To ensure SIMs fully utilize your private network, the SIMbae embedded solution accurately maps your borders to enable precise automated network switching. This gives you the best of both worlds, as your asset has access to ZARIOT’s expansive roaming agreements when needed, but connectivity to your private network whenever available.

The SIM locally retains knowledge of the network border, meaning it only looks to reconnect when in the local radius. Minimizing network searches on the device and prolonging battery life. In customer tests, network handover was between 800% to 2400% faster with SIMbae!  


Securing your private environment and more

The SIMbae applet provides a comprehensive solution enabling you to secure your asset, provide improved analytics and management, as well as harmonizing your private public network connectivity.

Able Device is also an integral member of ZARIOT’s larger ecosystem of partners, who work together to create market leading propositions.

One such collaboration can address the security of a private networks that use mixed connectivity (e.g., cellular, WiFi, wired etc.) and can expand that same umbrella of protection to wider public access.

By combining SIMbae with Atsign’s unique multi-patented encryption solution, protection can be enabled across your whole IoT estate, regardless of connectivity type or borders. Every asset from a PDA scanner to core server, mobile phone to logistics tracker, can be uniquely and cryptographically identified, with all communication secured truly end-to-end.

Essentially, by combining expertise and cooperating, our ecosystem of partners can combine to deliver solutions that enhance, secure, and accelerate your IoT deployment.


Parting thoughts

The potential for collaboration between ZARIOT, Able Device, the ecosystem, and most importantly you, are limitless.

Telecoms is only scratching the surface of what could be provided. By harnessing the full potential of the SIM, ZARIOT gives you additional computing power, technical flexibility, and features. Enhancing your IoT solution without increasing your operating costs.

Together, we can utilize our SIMs, network, portal, and tools, to create fully customized end-to-end solutions for your current and evolving needs, constantly adding tangible value to your IoT estate.

Reach out to us to discuss how we can create bespoke IoT solutions that maximize your investments in private networks and enable you to gain control over your public network consumption costs.

Stay tuned next week as we discuss how our solution allows you to control your own connectivity.

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