Smart Buildings

Where Private Wireless Networks Work Best: 5 Use Cases

Steve Carroll

With the rise in connectivity and device usage comes the rise of private networks—and the industry is seeing this play out in real-time.


Private wireless networks come down to providing reliable connectivity. They can ensure network connections in spaces or places that are traditionally connectivity-challenged—whether it’s a sprawling outdoor campus, large factory or packed stadium. 


While public wireless networks are open systems that typically see millions of users, private wireless networks are closed, dedicated systems used by a sole organization or operator. Only authorized devices are allowed to connect to a private network. This improves latency and provides stronger security by allowing connectivity to be planned and managed for mission-critical applications. Private networks can often provide a fast, affordable and simpler way to deploy wireless. 


You’ve likely experienced a public network when you’ve stayed at a hotel, traveled through an airport or walked through a large downtown shopping area—and you’ve also likely experienced the problems that can occur when those networks are bogged down.


In some cases, public networks suffice. In other situations, however, where security, speed and reliability are critical, private wireless networks are a better answer.


We rounded up five examples that represent where private wireless networks have big potential.

Adding Capacity to Existing Networks

As the use of devices expands, and users intensify their expectations, connectivity performance is becoming a bigger focus for venue owners. Excellent wireless coverage is essential in almost every environment.

The OnGo Alliance revealed a new standardization (OnGo NHN) that enables neutral hosts to coexist alongside traditional carrier networks so that CBRS spectrum can be used to add capacity in an environment serviced by those carriers.

Owners can provide wireless services from multiple operators—or support their own network while also offering a traditional carrier network. OnGo NHN makes it simple to incorporate a private LTE network as capacity needs grow.



Helping an Organization Create a Private or Closed-Loop Network

Schools, university campuses and large healthcare facilities often see the benefits of creating a closed-loop network to share private information.

For example, a hospital Wi-Fi network supports thousands of devices—from the smartphones that guests, patients and staff bring through the doors every day to the healthcare systems and technologies used to provide safe care. HIPAA is also a critical connectivity factor to consider.

According to IT solutions provider CDW, moving devices to a private LTE network can reduce a healthcare organization’s connectivity costs by 30% to 40%. It can also help the organization achieve HIPAA compliance by keeping data safe. 

To overcome the digital divide that many schools face, private wireless networks ensure student and staff connectivity. They provide a secure, reliable network experience not only across a campus, but also to students and teachers at home. The front end of the network is Wi-Fi; it’s backhauled over a private LTE system connected to the school’s core network.

Take DigitalC, for example. This nonprofit deployed a private wireless network to bring affordable and dependable high-speed connectivity to households in Cleveland, where the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) revealed that nearly 31% of households didn’t have a broadband subscription plan.

Bringing Fixed Wireless Access to Rural Areas

While extensive investments in fiber networks are often needed for last-mile connectivity in rural or underserved areas to ensure network access, fixed wireless access makes connectivity possible with outdoor antennas and indoor Wi-Fi instead of underground infrastructure installation.

Many internet service providers that offer fixed wireless access to rural environments were using WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) standards, but the technology came with a time limit. As WiMAX sunsets, private wireless networks are being considered as an alternative to support fixed wireless access.

U.S. government funding for broadband investments is driving even more private wireless network growth.



Supporting Smart-City Infrastructure

From connected public transportation systems and video surveillance to smart lighting, environmental monitoring and waste management systems, a smart city runs on connectivity. The data captured by sensors, devices and systems is what’s used to improve efficiency and safety, reduce costs and deliver a higher standard of living.


Private wireless networks provide smart cities with ultra-high reliability and very low latency for mission-critical applications to prevent costly—and potentially dangerous—downtime.


Tampere, Finland, is one example of a smart city that’s deploying a private wireless network to support smart road infrastructure, cameras and lighting for monitoring and citizen engagement. The network will also be able to support applications like autonomous driving in the future.

Enabling Industrial IoT

Industry 4.0 is automating industrial business practices through connected technology. A private wireless network can support these efforts by making data and analytics readily available so improvements and efficiency gains can be made.


It also offers better indoor and outdoor connectivity coverage to support the roaming activity that takes place across a plant—from workers who walk the factory floor with tablets and scanners to AGVs and AMRs that move inside and outside to transport materials.


A good example of successful private wireless network implementation for industrial IoT purposes is Port of Long Beach, which uses cameras supported by the network to screen traffic flow, detect downtime, monitor for malicious attacks and track the millions of shipments it handles each year.

Explore Private Wireless Networks

Belden recently teamed up with Ranplan to lead a discussion on private wireless.

If you missed it, you can watch Private Wireless Networks Explained on demand. We explain basics of private wireless, its capabilities and benefits, deployment challenges and real use cases.

To learn more about in-building wireless networks, download our Navigating In-Building Wireless white paper.