What is a Private LTE Network?
Private LTE networks are an outstanding alternative to the open internet for connecting devices that require secure, direct connections to each other and/or your cloud infrastructure. Specifically, private LTE networks offer an option for connecting several devices and applications across a private mobile telecoms network to communicate with a device in the field over a cellular connection without ever touching the public internet.
Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a wireless connectivity standard that enables broadband communications on mobile devices. Most 4G networks maintained by major Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are based on the LTE standard. Private LTE networks use the same LTE standard as public LTE networks, but are designed and built specifically to meet the security and configurability needs of organizations
Why are Private LTE Networks important?
Private LTE networks allow you to avoid issues with the public internet and enjoy direct access to the devices that are mapped to your private LTE infrastructure with increased security and control.
Every type of LTE network, public or private, relies on a Radio Access Network (RAN) to connect user equipment to a core network. While Telnyx private LTE networks leverage partner MNOs for RAN connectivity, the entire request flow is siloed from the public internet to maximize both ease of access and security. With a private LTE network, you can connect your Telnyx SIMs to a corporate network, which provides a few key advantages:
- Your devices can send and receive data to and from your corporate network without ever touching the public internet.
- You can directly access your devices via their private IP addresses. This is especially helpful for troubleshooting because you can directly push updated firmware to devices, minimizing the time to resolution.
- You can exert more control over SIM data connections, allowing for customer-configured traffic shaping.
How does a Private LTE Network work?
The diagram above shows the end-to-end flow of data for private LTE networks with Telnyx Private Wireless Gateways:
- First, a Telnyx SIM will request to connect to the visited MNO network. Telnyx SIMs have access to over 200 networks globally.
- Next, packets are routed to a Private Wireless Gateway. A Private Wireless Gateway is a dedicated P-Gateway (PGW) inside the Telnyx EPC.
- In the final hop between the customer's Private Wireless Gateway on the Telnyx network and the customer's Cloud Service Provider (CSP), traffic is sent through a VPN interface, separating it from the public internet.
Private Wireless Gateways are a special use case of Telnyx Cloud VPN. With Cloud VPN, you can connect any endpoints, applications or devices directly to the Telnyx network without using the public internet. Read more about Cloud VPN on our blog.
How the Public Internet is vulnerable
The public internet opens a world of communication opportunities. However, the public internet can pose security risks to your wireless applications.
To start, devices that are reachable on the public internet are prone to security breaches. Even the default-on encryption of traffic between cellular devices and providers can theoretically be broken: security researchers recently demonstrated remote code execution on recent flagship Samsung devices. When traffic travels on the public internet, anyone else on the internet can theoretically access that information.
Why Private LTE offers more security
The main trouble with cybersecurity is that it's designed to resist cyber attacks. Occasionally, security protocols fail, for one reason or another.
In the first half of 2021, IoT World Today reported that some 1.5 billion security breaches occurred on Internet of Things (IoT) devices like video doorbells, webcams, or baby monitors. These cyber attacks were intended to hijack the device's computing power for cryptocurrency mining, use devices as part of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, or steal and re-sell confidential personal data contained on the device. Many devices included in the report lacked adequate security protocols to protect against breaches.
A better solution would be to avoid cyber attacks altogether. If your connected devices never need to touch the public internet, there are fewer possible attack vectors, and therefore fewer cyber attacks to fend off.
A private network is more secure simply because it will be targeted less than a public internet connection.
Why Private LTE offers better access to IoT devices
Connecting devices directly to your private network or applications hosted on your CSP infrastructure enables you to communicate with those devices the same way you would communicate with devices that are on your corporate network - all without storing credentials on devices.
Terminating your devices on your own network makes testing and troubleshooting devices remotely easier and more efficient.
Packet Gateways (PGWs) are the interface between our roaming partners, the public internet, and customer cloud infrastructure. They serve as the anchor point for network mobility, act as the Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF), manage quality of service (QoS), and provide deep-packet inspection and lawful intercept. By siloing this piece of infrastructure, Telnyx can offer a huge amount of control to our customers. In setting up private LTE networks, Telnyx customers can create their own private PGW for maximum control and security.
Why Private LTE Networks Offer Better Control
Connecting devices directly to your private network or applications hosted on your CSP infrastructure enables you to communicate with those devices the same way you would communicate with devices that are on your local network.
This means that you have more control over your private network than you do over the internet.
You can set rules for the type of traffic that's allowed to originate from your SIM cards and traverse your LTE network. This further enhances security, since unauthorized traffic is easily detected. But it also reduces potential congestion issues caused by disorganized connections on a network. So your private LTE connections are more reliable and yield higher performance than connecting over the public internet.
How Private LTE Networks can be used
The security, control, and access you get from a private LTE network enables you to leverage private cellular networks in many unique use cases.
Let's say you have a smart doorbell and want to deploy it to over 1 million customers in 7 different geographies. If you were doing this through the public internet, you would need to connect to a public IP address, find a port, and authenticate your identity to access each device. In this case, all of your data would be exposed to the public internet and susceptible to security risks every step of the way.
Leveraging Telnyx Private Wireless Gateways empowers you to simplify this process while increasing security. Once you purchase your SIMs, you can connect them directly to your corporate network, see their IP address on your private network, and access them directly without advertising anything on the public internet.
Many more IoT projects across different industry verticals can benefit from the security and control of private LTE networks:
- Remote locking systems.
- Wide area scooter and bike sharing.
- Smart city IoT.
- Home security systems.
The list goes on, but private networks are also ideal for the early stages of IoT projects. It's much easier to set up, access, and troubleshoot developing IoT devices and projects when all the IoT devices are connected to a private network that you have complete control over.
What Makes Telnyx the top Private LTE Network Vendor?
Telnyx is the private LTE provider of choice for small to mid-sized companies. While big MNOs have a lengthy procurement process, our Private Wireless Gateways, available via self-service portal and API, make it easy to purchase and configure your SIMs and spin up a fully secure private LTE network. We have low barriers to entry, so it's possible to start with a low volume of SIMs and flexibly scale up your wireless applications as your business needs grow.
Plus, Telnyx Wireless comes with out-of-the-box features like:
- Full control over traffic routing and management.
- Secure, encrypted data - inaccessible from the public internet.
- Access to granular data including time-stamped sessions, device locations, and SIM groups for fleet management at scale.
- API reference, developer documentation, and an easy-to-use portal, to minimize the time for procurement and integration.
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