A startup from four telecom veterans is launching from stealth with $30 million in funding to make it easy for companies to use private 5G networks for more secure work or complex automation

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Big companies long anticipated the arrival of 5G private networks. While the promise of 5G networks is speedier connections, a private 5G network means more privacy and that a firm also wouldn’t have to deal with anyone else using the network and slowing things down. This opens up a wealth of possibilities, like factories automating high-risk procedures without worrying about lag or hospitals sending sensitive medical information to labs securely.

At the end of 2019, Deloitte analysts predicted that more than a hundred companies would experiment with private 5G networks by the end of this year. Companies like Ford and Honeywell are already testing them in their warehouses and factories to make processes more efficient.

Now, a fresh-from-stealth startup called Celona wants to take a bite out of the 5G enterprise market, which market research firm Polaris estimates is worth $1.32 billion. The startup has raised a $30 million Series B round of funding for a slew of products that aims to make private 5G networks more easily accessible to factories, security firms, warehouses, and other enterprises. While the firm declined to share its valuation, PitchBook lists it at $109 million.

All four of the firm’s founders have backgrounds in connectivity and telecommunications. Mehmet Yavuz — the former CTO of networking firm Ruckus Networks and, before that, former VP of engineering at Qualcomm specializing in private networks — conceptualized the idea with Rajeev Shah — who worked at wireless networking firm Aruba Networks for 12 years — while the duo was in Barcelona (hence its name). They cofounded the company in 2019 along with Aruba engineers Vinay Anneboina and Ravi Mulam.

“It is our somewhat geeky, nerdy belief that connectivity tends to be this invisible driver of innovation,” Celona CEO Shah said. “A lot of us spent a lot of time in WiFi and when we get among ourselves, we joke that the iPhone wouldn’t have happened but for us.” 

5G, by design, is faster, more secure, and more reliable than WiFi, which buffers, lags, and is prone to hacks – which could lead to disaster in an automated factory. 5G private networks are giving enterprises added security and “getting rid of all of the — for lack of a better word — compromises we’ve gotten used to with wireless,” Shah said. 

Celona touts itself as the first 5G platform company geared specifically for enterprises, not the general market. Consumers don’t require the level of customizability and security as enterprise companies do, Shah said: The stakes are much higher for enterprises if a network fails.

“Inside the enterprise, it is a lot more complex environment,” Shah said. “Just visualize a manufacturing plant and the network for them. That is not the same as us just running Netflix and YouTube on our LTE network.”

The Federal Communications Commission released a band of spectrum in January known as CBRS, which is considered the “innovation band” that carriers and companies can use for free to experiment with 5G networks. It’s a far cry from …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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