5G Factor: AfO Woes, Cloud RAN Rising, & P5G for Airports

5G Factor: AfO Woes, Cloud RAN Rising, & P5G for Airports

In this episode of The 5G Factor, our series that focuses on all things across the 5G ecosystem, we review key 5G ecosystem developments including Microsoft’s dramatic scale back of Azure for Operators (AfO) unit, Nokia and Dell strengthening their alliance to help accelerate Cloud RAN deployments, and Ericsson spotlight on how private 5G (P5G) can play integral role in streamlining airport operations.

Our analytical review drilled down on:

Microsoft Conducts Azure for Operators Purge. Microsoft reportedly cut as many as 1,500 jobs at its Azure for Operators and Mission Engineering units, as the move appears to have hit hard the teams responsible for developing network functions, moving on from its 2020 acquisitions of Metaswitch and Affirmed Networks. The move indicates that Microsoft will ultimately look to sell or phase out its Metaswitch and Affirmed-originated application portfolio assets. We explore the ramifications for Microsoft’s key telecom rivals such as AWS and Alianza as well as how moving Microsoft’s focus on the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) side of the business boosts the likelihood that future engagements will look to combine applications from telco specialists such as Ericsson and Nokia with the Microsoft cloud.

Nokia Dell Show AnyRAN Alliance Progress. Nokia’s AnyRAN partnership with Dell is now over a year in the making. Nokia’s anyRAN proposition is built to allow operators to flexibly deploy RAN functions using cloud-native containerized software on any cloud infrastructure including public, private or hybrid clouds. Nokia’s software-centric approach aligns with Dell’s strengths in cloud data center solutions. Nokia and Dell have successfully completed an Open RAN trial with Vodafone Italy, alongside testing of the Cloud RAN management system. We assess why we see the alliance is ready to make tangible breakthroughs as the Nokia Cloud RAN solution is now ready for commercial deployments in H2 2024.

Ericsson Views P5G as Antidote to Legacy Airline Ops. For many years now, airport communications have relied heavily on legacy systems, such as Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA), Project 25 (P25), and Digital Mobile Radio (DMR). While these systems provide basic voice communication, their limited bandwidth renders them unsatisfactory for meeting the burgeoning demand for data and video communications across airport environments – not good. Deploying and maintaining multiple parallel networks, including Wi-Fi networks, is a costly affair. Workers carrying multiple devices for various purposes face cumbersome workflows, and siloed systems and applications lead to operational inefficiencies. We review how firms like Streamwide and Airbus are providing solutions that support the co-existence of TETRA and cellular networks in airport settings, aiding the transition to modernized communication systems. This includes private 5G networks (P5G) that can provide a unified connectivity that works across applications and with existing connectivity like Wi-Fi, promising a future where airports can operate with enhanced efficiency and flexible connectivity for a streamlined travel experience.

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.


Ron Westfall: Hello and welcome everybody to The 5G Factor. I’m Ron Westfall, Research Director here at The Futurum Group. And I’m joined here today by my distinguished colleague, Tom Hollingsworth, the networking nerd and event lead at Tech Field Day here at The Futurum Group. In fact, I believe we’re coming off a very successful set of Tech Field days, for example, Cloud Field Day and Cisco Live US Tech Field Day, just within the last couple of weeks. And looking forward, we’re going to be focusing now on the major 5G ecosystem developments that have caught our eye. And this is including Microsoft dialing back its Azure for Operators commitment, Nokia and Dell aiming to smooth the path to cloud RAN, and also, Ericsson providing perspective on how private 5G can make a difference in airport operations, something I think all of us would certainly welcome. And so, with that, Tom, welcome to The 5G Factor and many thanks for joining today. Are there any other Tech Field Day announcements that you care to share?

Tom Hollingsworth: We’re actually going to be at HPE Discover doing some exciting Tech Field Day discussions with the folks at HPE Aruba networking. That’ll be taking place on Tuesday the 18th. So, you’re probably going to be watching this after that’s out, but we’ll be posting the videos and there’s actually going to be some private 5G discussion there. So, we’re really excited to see what kind of plans HPE has for that. But looking forward, Ron, you’ll be joining us at Networking Field Day in July and we’re ramping up for that right now. It’s always the planning process for the next event and you get to find out some of the cool stuff that people are working on.

Ron Westfall: Yeah. No, it’s all excellent. And in fact, as we know, it’s also available on demand, so I think this is something that everybody will certainly be interested in looking at, at least everybody in our industry. So, with that, that’s, I think, a great awareness about the upcoming Tech Field Days. And yeah, let’s go look at what happened recently at Microsoft. And as we saw, they basically are preparing to wash their hands of its Metaswitch and Affirmed Networks acquisitions. And what is going on is that Microsoft is reportedly cutting as many as 1,500 jobs at its Azure for Operators, as well as its mission engineering units. And the move appears to have hit hard the teams responsible for developing network functions. Specifically, a key focus for a Metaswitch has been on voice-based communications, and that includes private branch exchange technology, as well as related technology such as SBC and IMS, and also delving more into private 5G, which we’ll touch on more.

Now, the other acquisition, Affirmed Networks, was producing what can be characterized as core software for 5G networks or core 5G technology. And as a bit of a background, Affirmed Networks in parallel with Metaswitch were acquired at the same time. And Affirmed was reportedly for about a billion dollars, a bit north of that, and Metaswitch was reportedly for around $270 million. And what the move is suggesting is that the Metaswitch and Affirmed assets will ultimately be phased out or be sold off. Now this has ramifications clearly for Microsoft’s telecom rivals, many of which have been keen about finding out why Microsoft made this move back in 2020, which is almost about four years ago now. And as we’ve seen in the 5G market, Microsoft has been making some inroads. That is by selling both the Azure for Operators infrastructure platform along with the applications through Affirmed for the most part. What we’re going to see now is that Microsoft will probably now be working with companies like Ericsson Nokia to fulfill the application part. The parts that Affirmed and Metaswitch have been providing as part of the Azure for Operators portfolio.

And with the wind down of Azure for Operators I believe it’s not good news for telcos, at least the ones that are non top tier telcos, because Metaswitch certainly carved out a niche in terms of meeting their specific demands. However, on the other hand, it’s probably good news for competitors such as Alianza and AWS because as we’ve seen, Alianza and AWS have been working together to build and scale cloud communication experiences for basically telcos of any size. Now, that they have combined together is available in North America and has already been deployed by more than 100 CSPs, including nationwide operators here in the US such as Lumen, Brightspeed, Bluepeak, Explore, and Viasat. So, Alianza and AWS will clearly be looking to target the customer base of Metaswitch and Affirmed that have been part of the overall Azure for Operators organization. Now, I see the partnership directly expanding into the telco demand for next-generation voice communication platforms.

And that is something I think that they’re well-positioned to deliver because not only is it going to be required to meet the demands of cloud capabilities, but also, the bottom line, delivering a better customer experience for or their combined customer base. And to put the spotlight on the Alianza cloud communications platform, it really has proven that. And basically it has replaced a lot of soft switch based VOIP networks, TDM legacy networks out there with new UCaaS and cloud communication capabilities. And this is in accord with AWS’s commitment to support telco modernization for migrating workloads to a trusted cloud environment. Plus, I anticipate CSPs will deploy retail services based on Alianza and AWS solutions because what they can do is allow them to retain control over their customer’s customer experience, as well as brand identity, pricing, market positioning and so forth. And so, this is true to the heart of the small telcos out there.

They don’t want to give up, basically, their competitive foundation by adopting cloud platforms or a hybrid cloud implementation. So, I think they’ve done their homework and they understand that fundamentally. So, what are a couple of key takeaways from my view? Well, first of all, I’m still vexed that Microsoft wasn’t able to find a buyer for these assets before basically pulling the plug on the major portions of it, that is the Metaswitch and the Affirmed teams. And also, I’m wondering why Microsoft, with its deep pockets, didn’t decide to wait out what’s going on in the telco space. As we know, at least in the US, the CapEx spending is now back down to 2017 levels, but we’re anticipating that those levels will go up after the dialing back of the last couple of years, beginning in 2025 and so forth. But with that, Tom, what’s your view? What’s going on here with Azure for Operators and the implications for the 5G ecosystem?

Tom Hollingsworth: I have to stop and think because a lot of the coverage that I’ve seen on this is people are saying, “Well, I don’t understand what Microsoft was doing.” It was 2020, nobody knew what we were doing. We were racing to try to figure out what was going on in this brand new world and we didn’t know what the future was going to hold, whether or not we were even going to be able to leave our houses again. And making a bet on a telco platform made a whole lot of sense for a company that quite honestly was, what, a third place runner in the application space at that point in time. I mean Zoom clearly won that battle. Cisco WebEx was the incumbent that kind of got displaced, and then you had Microsoft Teams and Teams needed something to change. And I think what Microsoft was planning on was this telco integration. They were hoping to try to create a one-stop shop, and then everything kind of went back to normal-ish I guess would be a best way to put it. And then, that revenue never materialized.

They were never able to capitalize on that and vault into second place or even challenge for first. And so, like you said, they probably shopped around quietly and said, “Hey, we got this thing over here, you should totally take a look at it, because I’m sure they were getting pressure from their large telco partners like Ericsson saying, “You’re not going to compete with us, Right? We won’t do any business with you if we think you’re going to compete with us.” And so, they have taken a step back and said officially, “Hey, we’re neutral in this fight. We are going to be a carrier only for all of these things. You can host your stuff on Azure, that’s great.” Obviously, Teams still exists, but Teams is in a completely different realm than the rest of this. So, I think this is Microsoft making a signal to their bigger partners, “We’re not going to fight you anymore. We are going to provide hosting for you.”

Now, I think they’re trying to jump in ahead of that just so that they can maybe steal a little bit of share from AWS because that gives people that preferential thing. If you want to run a virtualized or an Oracle database in the cloud, you do it on Oracle Cloud, but there’s not really a home if you want to say that for these telco platforms. And I think that they’re trying to offer that by saying, “Obviously, we’ve worked with the telco platform before like Metaswitch, we know how to build for that. We don’t use Metaswitch anymore. We’re letting it kind go fallow. So, why don’t you come take care of what you need to take care of with us?” And maybe what they’re hoping is that the value they were hoping to unlock from buying into the telco market will come their way instead by being kind of the Switzerland of cloud providers when it comes to telco hosting.

Ron Westfall: Yeah, excellent points. And I think that was very helpful providing the context, what was Microsoft’s incentive for buying Affirmed and Metaswitch in 2020? And I think you put it very well. It was really the context at the time and also CapEx amongst the telcos was rising at that time and would peak at about 2022. And yes, as we know, there’s been a substantial dial back and it’s hit everybody. And so, Microsoft was not unique in this regard, but the outcome for the Metaswitch and the Affirmed teams was not a positive one. And I’m still wondering, okay, I bet there would’ve been a buyer out there had they done a little more homework, tried a little harder, but that’s my opinion. But I also think it’s a key takeaway about when the acquisition was made, even with that context, it still seemed like strange bedfellows. That was my initial perception. Like, okay, Microsoft is buying Metaswitch, but how far they’re going to go supporting SBC for an independent LEC or CLEC as you can still characterize them and so forth. And it was really not meant to be. But yes, there’ll be the obligatory continued support and so forth for the legacy customers and so forth.

But we already know they’re out there shopping around knocking on doors, and thus, Alianza and AWS is one example that comes to mind, but certainly other competitors like Ribbon and others, Google Cloud and so forth will be interested and finding out what these customers will be looking at moving forward. And that I think ties into our next topic. What about the Nokia and Erickson angle in terms of working with an Azure? Well, I think what we’re seeing is that Nokia is now partnered with Dell for specifically the anyRAN proposition or they have been partnered, but I think they’re spotlighting it now with good timing. And what is going on here is that they’ve been working together for over a year and they’re actually saying that they’re going to be ready for actual commercial deployments in the second half of this year. So, anyRAN, which is I think smart marketing, indicates that, yes, the partnership can meet the demands of the operators regardless of their RAN preferences.

And for a bit of background, Nokia’s anyRAN allows operators to deploy ran functions using again, this cloud native containerized software on any cloud’s infrastructure. What I mean is public, private or hybrid clouds. Now, Nokia’s software-centric approach aligns very well with Dell’s strengths in cloud data center solutions, so this is a very logical alliance. And so, that I think is going to bear fruit for the, not just in the second half of this year, but further out as telco space starts rebounding a bit more. Now, together Nokia and Dell can provide CSP and enterprise customers with that cloud RAN solution that is designed to support them at each stage of their cloud journey. And I think that’s important because as we know, all the customers out there want choice, and they’re basically taking a stepwise approach when it comes to how are we going to best use the cloud? And I think what is interesting here is that it’s about offering both a centralized or distributed RAN to the customers out there, and that is what they’re betting on.

They’re not going to be only offering a centralized RAN solution or a distributed RAN solution, whichever one you want, Dell and Nokia can support it. And that includes across the core, the edge as well as edge site solutions. Now, what’s also important here is that they’re very focused on delivering energy efficiency across the workloads. And so, what we’re seeing is that the Dell servers meet network equipment building system requirements for NEVs. That fond to my heart because I remember when the first routers were coming out, NEV certification was a big deal. And here we are in 2024, and it’s still a big deal, certainly when it comes to servers that can support cloud RAN capabilities. Also, Dell is supporting multi-tenancy along with the new workloads, i.e. AI comes to mind, but also that Nokia’s cloud RAN customers can run other applications along with the connectivity solution on the same infrastructure. So, we’re avoiding silos here, that’s the bottom line.

Now, Nokia is providing pre-integrated hardware from its partners. And as such, the anyRAN solutions can provide a diverse choice of CPU, containers-as-a-service or CaaS software, and application options. Also, Nokia’s MantaRay network management solution, as I see, can manage the whole deployment if preferred. And that includes different flavors of RAN, but also the mobile packet core network. And again, it’s aligned with Dell infrastructure. So, why am I emphasizing this? Because both of them are in a completed openRAN trial with Vodafone Italy, where the cloud RAN management system has proven itself. And I guess we can anticipate this would be a logical customer in the second half of 2024, and that would be a feather in their cap because Vodafone is certainly a top-tier operator and we all understand the brand boost that can come with that. So, with that, Tom, what are your views here on what Nokia and Dell are up to in terms of advancing cloud RAN capabilities?

Tom Hollingsworth: Well Ron, the first name that I think of when I think of RAN is Dell, said no one ever, because the thing is that Dell is really well-known for their server architectures. If you need a server, you can go buy a Dell. I mean it was their tagline forever. But Nokia realizes now that they want to get out of that hardware market. They have their solutions, right? But remember, 5G was all about making this easy to consume, making it operational, where you’re not consuming bespoke custom proprietary hardware that requires expensive service calls. And that goes double for companies like Nokia. They don’t want to have to develop these things. They don’t have to skill up and staff people to work on them. They would prefer to run a software stack on top of commodity hardware and not have to deal with that anymore. Dell wants new markets, Dell needs to feed the monster in order to be able to sell these things.

And what better place to do that in a greenfield effectively for them in markets where they are trying to buy in and kind of increase that footprint, while at the same time these other operators are looking to reduce the amount of legacy hardware that they’ve got. Win-win for everybody. So, just like Microsoft in the previous story was saying, “We want to be a neutral provider for everybody out there that wants to run telco applications on top of our cloud.” I think Dell is trying to position themselves as the go-to hardware vendor for companies, like Nokia to go-to and say, “Hey, we can run this.” Now the question’s going to be are they going to stay with Nokia? Are they going to be kind of the partner going forward? Or are they going to open this up after a while and say, “Hey, we’ve already proven our chops with the ability to run this. We’re going to let other people run on it”? Or are they basically going to do some rent extraction from Nokia and say…

Kind of like the Google being the default search on the Apple iPhone. It’s like, “If you don’t want us to switch, you should pay us a little bit more in this partnership if you want to keep this exclusive.” And so, I’m curious to kind of see how that breaks down. I think ultimately, this will be a successful partnership for both companies though, because like I said, when you have a Dell server kind of running in your edge, when the problem occurs, you don’t have to call Nokia and wait for the grizzled old veteran that knows that system to be awoken from hibernation and then put in front of a keyboard terminal. No, you can just call Dell support. “Oh yeah, you threw a hard drive. We’ll go get that fixed,” or, “Yeah, there’s a weird power supply problem. We’ll take care of that.” And then, if there’s a software issue, they troubleshoot to the point of going, “No, no, no, no, this isn’t our hardware. You need to call Nokia.”

Then Nokia can at least jump in with better technicians to say, “Okay, we know it has to be software. We know it’s traced down to this area,” and that is going to allow them at the very minimum to maintain their current skill positions for support or possibly reduce them as more AI-enabled functionality comes on board and makes it a lot easier to search through documentation and surface those odd results or so on and so forth. So, this should lead to better total cost of ownership across the board for any operator and for the companies that are providing these things.

Ron Westfall: Yes, I think these are very salient points and I think it also triggers the revisiting of openRAN, if you will, that is it was heavily hyped, but it wasn’t unique to openRAN. It was also 5G in general. I can remember having conversations about four years ago, like with 5G, you’ll be able to order a drone-as-a-service and have your lunch served for you according to your time preference and so forth. These were imaginative use cases, but we know the reality is that has not happened and openRAN ran into the same issues. That is okay, the telcos are thirsting to get out of proprietary RAN implementations. They just want to open it up and take advantage of being able to mix and match the best-of-breed suppliers across the entire RAN implementation, let alone the end-to-end 5G network. And as we know, it’s easier said than done. And when it comes down to say the AT&T implementation of openRAN, it’s very much in the eye of the beholder. But I think the bottom line is really two takeaways here.

One is that major telcos and telcos in general are going to work with a trusted partner in this transition. They’re not necessarily going to take a leap of faith and just do it yourself, integrate 12 different vendors and be done with it. They’re going to rely on something they already know with. And so, yes, that is the advantage of incumbency in many scenarios. And we saw that with AT&T. But this is good news for Nokia. Also, Vodafone will be doing the same kind of thing when it comes to working with Dell and Nokia. And also, it’s pointing to now that we’ve had some lessons learned, openRAN can be implemented more on a pragmatic basis, that is where is it going to really thrive, if you will? And I think we’re seeing that when it comes to Vodafone Italy, this is something that is going to have real positive outcomes for the openRAN cause, but also, how can it really be best implemented? And with that, there’s also another market segment that has also had a bit of a hype cycle that we’ve already gone through and that is private 5G. And I think we’re seeing some real viable use cases, at least some high-profile customers stepping up and saying, “Hey…” Or high profile testers or private 5G saying, “This is something that will, I think, make a difference,” for their specific needs.

And with that, I think airports certainly come to mind. And Ericsson actually shone the light on this in terms of what is going on with airport communications that aren’t so ideal? And that is legacy systems such as Terrestrial Trunked Radio or TETRA, plus Project 25 and digital mobile radios have been really the backbone of airport communications for many years now. Well, for better or for worse have continued to be so. And while these systems are able to support basic voice communications, they have limited bandwidth and other legacy issues that makes it inadequate for them to meet the growing demand for data and video. And well, that’s not good when it comes to things like airport security and so forth. And so, what we’re looking at is, okay, how are they going to evolve their networks, what’s going to happen? And basically, they need to get away, the airports that is, the operations team, from having to support and maintain parallel networks, including the Wi-Fi networks that many people will have to use when they’re visiting the airport. And that is quite simply a costly affair, let alone a complex one.

So, as we are seeing is that it’s not unusual for these environments to be managing over 120 steps just to ensure things, like timely aircraft servicing, and workers having to carry multiple devices for various purposes. And that of course, is entailing cumbersome workflows, and again, the dreaded silo systems and applications that quite simply are leading to operational inefficiencies when it comes to what’s going on at the ground at the airports themselves. Now, thankfully, that’s not the case anymore for airplane cockpits. And so, what we’re looking at is how can we emulate the efficiencies that have been gained in airplane cockpits to support better airport operations? Well, what we’re seeing is that companies like Airbus and Streamwide are basically taking it to the test, that is they’re looking at solutions that support not only the coexistence of TETRA, but also, with cellular networks across all these multitude of airport environment settings, whether it’s the hangar, whether it’s the airport terminal and so forth.

Now, these solutions which are looking to be hosted both on premises and on cloud app servers, can allow airport pros to access better communications using really consumer-grade mobile devices that is not only say a smartphone but say an iPad or whatever else makes the most sense. Now, adopting modern communication solutions will be key to improving airport operations. And that is, I believe by using cellular-based communications for these mission-critical communications, it’s simply the way to go. It’s the wave of the future. And that also means using private 5G, Y or the security that’s built into it. Wi-Fi is not necessarily going to be best suited for this, especially when we’re talking about the wide area networks that airport environments that it can entail, especially when you get beyond the terminal when you’re talking about the hangers and so forth.

And so, I think this is important to see this because it’s also acknowledging that, okay, they’re not going to rip out their legacy networks. How many times have we seen this? There has to be a solid approach that allows them to do this. And private 5G, it can be accommodating in terms of supporting something like TETRA as well as coexisting with Wi-Fi, but meeting these demands for better secure streamlined communications and so forth. So, Tom, with that, what are your views on what’s going on at airports and why private 5G can make a difference, ultimately, in terms of improving airport communications and operations?

Tom Hollingsworth: So, there’s an industry that airports actually have a lot in common with, and that’s a hospital. When you about it, the people who use your service are not exactly the people you want running around on your network. I’m actually friends with the guy who used to be the wireless administrator for the Denver Airport, and he said it was one of the most hostile environments that he’d ever been in. And some of the stuff that turned up there on a regular basis would scare you. And a hospital and a airport both have one thing in common. When they have problems, it causes massive issues. And in some cases, it can cause massive loss issues. So, you want to make sure that everything is effectively resilient to as high a degree as you can get. But more importantly, that the operational aspect of things don’t interfere. Now, if you’re thinking about this from the perspective of someone who’s looking to, I don’t know, upgrade their wireless equipment, having a very important SLA for your customers is a key. Having it isolated would be great because then I don’t have to worry about crosstalk or any kind of co-channel interference causing issues.

And you talked about covering things outside of the terminal itself. Well, yeah, it’s really easy to hang access points in a terminal, but when you get to the ground crew areas and the hangers, those are really wide spaces that are really hard to cover with traditional Wi-Fi deployments. And it’s almost like I wrote some kind of a description for a private 5G, CBRS type deployment. It doesn’t interfere with Wi-Fi. It covers way better areas. And because when you think about it, how many people do you see running around down on the ground with a laptop open typing on things, or do they have some kind of a mobile device like a scanner or some kind of a tablet where they can basically check in the telemetry from the plane or baggage or whatever? That’s custom-built for private 5G. You have coverage, you know the device works, but you can also ensure end-to-end security because it’s not something where people can, quote, unquote, hack your Wi-Fi because they have to have the ability to connect to the system. They have to be able to get authenticated to it. There’s a lot more protections.

I just got done talking to a couple of experts in the CBRS private 5G space and they said, “When you’re dealing with highly-regulated organizations, like the US federal government, they are going to demand that you use this.” Well, most airports are operated in part by the FAA because they have to meet certain kind of regulations. And you’ve seen a lot of bruhaha around things recently where lighting up the 5G spectrum band, people are worried that it could possibly interfere with airplanes and stuff like that. CBRS isn’t affecting it. That’s in a different band. So, I think that this is a win for airports because it allows them to move operations traffic into a completely separate network that’s still easy to manage.

We’re not running this on some kind of hope and a prayer over here in the corner. Easy to manage, easy to deploy, and provides the coverage that they need for the devices that they need to make sure to stay online, while at the same time providing those security assurances and effectively allowing people who are going to be using more traditional laptop-style devices in the terminal to still access Wi-Fi, but maybe do it in a way that won’t cause operational concerns with the airport. Because once you start having operational concerns, like if someone launches a DDoS attack against your infrastructure or something like that, that can cause huge transportation delays, which could cost the airlines thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, for every hour that they’re delayed.

Ron Westfall: Yes, and I think those are outstanding points. And yeah, I think that was an appropriate way to describe what happened with the airline industry basically resisting the ability of operators to use 5G spectrum around airport environments. I think part of it, it’s political and financial that is they were hoping to upgrade their facilities by having the operators pitching money from the government’s funding that occurred during the COVID pandemic timeframe. And we know that communications industry benefited from that in various ways. Everything from BEAD funding to funding directed at enabling broader communication and so forth. And well, the gamut didn’t really work. And I think, yeah, the ghost was given up when it was proven repeatedly that no, 5G communications, let alone CBRS and other spectrum will not interfere in any undue, unsafe way with existing airport communication. So, that I think is something that we’ve moved past. But I think it’s also important to note that yes, when it comes to airport environments, I think there’s also, in addition to private 5G, can add to the use case for 5G-connected devices.

Quite simply, if you’re working for a government agency or a contractor and you have to go to the airport, they don’t want you on the public Wi-Fi, and let’s say the employee is just going to be lazy or the VPN isn’t working properly, whatever, the temptation’s too strong to hop on there and boom, the liability or the possibility of a security breach just goes up very significantly. However, if you have a 5G-connected device that is not so much the case, it will be much harder for there to be a security issue if you’re at an airport, or at a hospital, or at a coffee shop or whatever else might come up. And hey, we’ll be covering some of this, i.e. network security, at our upcoming Networking Field Day event in FD35, that will be a July 10th and 11th. So, mark that on your calendar. So, it’ll be coming from Silicon Valley. I know Tom and I are going to be very excited about being there at the event, but also people come and watch it. I think you’ll get a lot of valuable information takeaways about what the latest, greatest, what’s going on there. And Tom, do you have anything to add about upcoming Tech Field Days and so forth?

Tom Hollingsworth: Just make sure you head over to to catch out the schedule that we’ve got coming because we do have some other exciting things after Networking Field Day, we’re going to have Tech Field Day Extra at SHARE in Kansas City. We’ve also got some more great stuff happening around AI and mobility and security. So, you’re definitely going to want to set your calendars based on our presentation schedule, so you don’t miss a minute of it.

Ron Westfall: Absolutely, and I think that’s an excellent reminder. And with that, likewise with The 5G Factor. Thank you everyone for joining us. Don’t forget to bookmark us. It’s pretty straightforward, it’s The Futurum Group 5G Factor. And with that, thank you everyone again and have a great 5G, let alone private 5G day, everyone.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

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DTW24: Dell and Ericsson Boost Joint Goal to Spur Telco Cloud Journeys

5G Factor: 5G Ecosystem Adjusting

Author Information

Ron is an experienced, customer-focused research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets, working with businesses to drive consistent revenue and sales growth.

He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including a wide range of topics across software and services, infrastructure, 5G communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Ron worked with GlobalData Technology creating syndicated and custom research across a wide variety of technical fields. His work with Current Analysis focused on the broadband and service provider infrastructure markets.

Ron holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of Nevada — Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in political science/government from William and Mary.


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Alastair Cooke, CTO Advisor at The Futurum Group, shares his insights on Morpheus Data’s Cloud Field Day 20 presentation. Morpheus enables multi-cloud platform choice for large enterprises.
Steve Dickens and Camberley Bates of The Futurum Group examine the lessons to be learned from Japan’s long history with floppy disks and digital transformation.
An Overview of Significant Advancements and Announcements in the Communications Networks Industry in June 2024.
Ron Westfall, Research Director of The Futurum Group, examines the top communications networks market and technology moves announced in June 2024.