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Private LTE Network Current Dilemmas and Problem Solving Steps

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Kimberly McKenzie-Klemm's picture
Industry Technical Writing and Editing, TPGR Solutions, LLC

After writing for since 2013, I hope to still bring education, interest, and current news/inquires to articles with the focus of keeping the energy communities best practices...

  • Member since 2013
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  • Oct 10, 2022

Private Long-Term Evolution (LTE) Networks support voice, video, and data transmissions in virtual wireless “networks” supporting various industry use such as automotive features, manufacturing, energy utilities, and healthcare facilities. A private LTE network uses 4G or 5G spectrum wavelength manipulation on a cellular technology base. The term “private” does not designate a non-public customer of an LTE Network. It refers to the licensing or non-licensed agreements required to operate the wireless bandwidths creating a closed and secure LTE Network internal system decision. The protection and security of controlling the entire data transmission virtual connections have found appeal in the Energy sector and the Energy Community has implemented Private LTE Network adoptions since the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) in industry.

Private LTE Networks face several dilemmas in today’s current technology marketplace. One of the issues still present for Private LTE Network users is the difficulty of incorporating roaming devices into a Private LTE Network communication variable. Mobile devices usually rely on Public LTE (free or random wireless wavelength access) and can be locked out of inclusion by a signal within the bounds of a Private LTE Network. “If your device requires location services provided by a third party, you’ll be sharing your device’s internal location data with that vendor, and you cannot guarantee how they will use it.”(1) Mobile gateways can be open while attempting to combat interference from roaming, but are protected by custom design for particular data communication needs requirements.

Private LTE Networks have a problem with wireless connectivity signal strengths dependent on distance, spectrum wavelength appropriation, and consistency of broadcast. The current transition occurring popularly from 4G LTE Networks to 5G LTE Networks is upsold as a choice eliminating some of the unreliable signals and wavelength integrations. Data loss is expected to decrease due to 5G communication breadth capacity. The Energy sector is under pressure to keep up with cutting-edge technology and switch to 5G LTE Network implementation. “Utilities could become 5G customers or even 5G network operators.”(2) Detractors are unsure of real-time evidence showing valid improvement from 5G adaptation. The 5G support from the sub-6 GHz wavelength bandwidth frequencies is toted as delivering more stability but has not shown any marked improvement over the 4G wireless integrations and is suspected to leave Private LTE Networks more exposed from a security point of view.

A third dilemma facing Private LTE Networks is the question of how to erect a defense system within the Private LTE Network to protect from Cyberattacks of hackers and automatic data code interference device communication incompatibilities’ complications causing Denial of Service (DoS) to in-network users. Upgrading and coding hardware or software services is a common response effort to build a custom Private LTE Network functional with all legitimate users. There are two ways to structure a Private LTE Network: 1.) Owned and operated by one group of users 2.) Owned by one entity and separately operated by a customer’s network of users. Energy utilities and co-ops have been at the forefront of embracing Private LTE Network use, usually with custom-built Private LTE Networks under option one above.

“With the maturation of private 5G/LTE network technology, opportunities to introduce a myriad of new use cases and benefits to organizations across verticals became clear to both businesses and service providers.”(3) When a licensing agreement from an LTE Network owner to a customer only allows for particular user designations or a number of users' restrictions become burdensome for growing companies with extended workforce members. Completely owned and operated custom Private LTE Networks face exposure of data and sensitive materials during DoS. There are benefits and drawbacks for Private LTE Network business owners/operators and those just offering Private LTE Networks as a service.

As seen by the examples of some of the existing Private LTE Network dilemmas, problem-solving LTE Network technicians face challenges in unraveling the communications barriers and diagnosing Private LTE Network issues to arrive at fully functioning LTE Network services. Problem-solving steps to ensure complete Private LTE Network dilemma recoveries include:

  1. Identify the surface problem. For example, is data communication spotty, infrequent, and of poor quality or is there actual DoS?
  2. Look for a root cause. A root cause might be poor bandwidth wavelength sustainability (mobile Private LTE Network use attempts or broadcast integration inconsistency?), too much traffic on available wireless wavelengths (Private LTE Network licensing numbers at capacity or interference from Public LTE in the area?), or data loss during communication (bandwidth support issue, Cyberattacks, or partial data DoS due to code interference incompatibility?).
  3. Develop an initiative for problem resolution. Initiatives for problem resolution are action items such as: eliminating all mobile devices for company communications not issued by company decision, re-writing and replacing old code applications for the entire suite of hardware performing Private LTE Network data transmissions functions when software or partial hardware updates are installed, or buying a complete custom Private LTE Network license instead of leasing partial licensing from another Private LTE Network provider in order to increase user availability and provide custom communications “fit” for clearer data transmissions.
  4. Implement the problem-resolution initiative. When dealing with a company such as an Energy utility several considerations are in place for problem resolution initiative implementation: budget, time frame development of solution effects (planning), resource allocation, further possible problem considerations oversight management (pros and cons), and in-house/outside company work delegation.

While problem-solving has some universal components, Private LTE Network dilemmas are unique in the fact that surface issues and root causes both have fine lines in pinpointed problems at times difficult to sort out. Each Energy utility relying on custom-made Private LTE Networks (in-house or vendor) has individual requirements for the actual work performed to resolve Private LTE Network inoperability. This is true in industry across the board. The appeal of the security in custom LTE Network builds has created a plethora of diverse responses needed to address similar surface dilemmas and issues. Technicians have been trained company by company. Looking at the Private LTE Network problem commonalities and using simple universal problem-solving steps to approach Private LTE Network issues begins a journey of similarity that could benefit the Energy Community and sister and brother industry partners. Private LTE Networks can be joined in virtual space together (umbrella style) or held separately in isolation. Bringing the seams of data transmission and transfer and communications of all types together in one cloth in a private holding of secure protection takes work to repair the wear and tear but, so far, keeps the functions, worries, and system responses’ information flowing. This is how Private LTE Networks are good for the Energy Community and this is how Private LTE Networks are virtual space entities here to stay.


  1. Wert, J., Telit. “How to Avoid Private LTE Pitfalls”. (May 05, 2020.)    
  2. Dano, M., Editorial Director 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading. “Power Brokers: Utilities Explore Their Role in 4G & 5G”. (August 02, 2019.)
  3. Ouziel, N., Security Boulevard. “Top 10 Cyber Threats to Private 5G/LTE Networks”. (September 28, 2022.)

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Kimberly McKenzie-Klemm's picture
Thank Kimberly for the Post!
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