HPE makes private 5G more accessible and easier to use

HPE makes private 5G more accessible and easier to use

New HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G should greatly simplify the deployment and use of private 5G and thus make it interesting for more organizations.

HPE has had quite a busy six months when it comes to its networking division, also known as HPE Aruba Networking. Of course, this year all started with HPE’s proposed acquisition of Juniper Networks, after which the Aruba arm and new Juniper arm will combine to form HPE Networking. An acquisition that can and will have a huge impact on HPE’s networking offerings, provided it goes through, of course. Be sure to read back our analyses on this acquisition below.

HPE acquires Juniper: surprising, but makes quite a bit of sense
HPE and Juniper take aim at Cisco with network fabric

The proposed acquisition was far from all, however. HPE also added a lot of new functionality to the Aruba portfolio. In the last quarter alone, there were three major announcements. First was the news that HPE has developed some LLMs and added them to HPE Aruba Networking Central. This is to give AIOps a boost.

Then we heard about the new HPE Aruba 700 Series access points. These are not just access points with support for Wi-Fi 7. They are also designed to better run AI and IoT applications in edge environments. Among other things, doubling SDRAM and flash memory allows (small) applications to run in containers on the access points.

Finally, at the recent RSA Conference, we wrote about the security updates made by HPE Aruba Networking . Specifically, these include using AI to detect threats and anomalous behavior to and from IoT devices. This new AI offering is an addition to the existing AIOps offering within HPE Aruba Networking Central.

HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G: integrating Athonet

With today’s announcement, just weeks before HPE Discover, which will include HPE Aruba’s Atmosphere conference for the first time this year, we have another big announcement coming in today. HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G means that HPE has integrated Athonet into its own networking offerings, just under 1.5 years after its acquisition.

We must honestly admit that we did not know Athonet very well before the acquisition. That turned out to be a shortcoming on our side, because it was (and presumably still is) one of the key players in the market. We were not alone in this, by the way; employees of HPE Aruba Networking we spoke to said they were completely surprised by the maturity of Athonet’s offering.

The integration of Athonet and the launch of HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G is pretty big news as far as we are concerned. Indeed, Private 5G has a reputation for being complex and often consists of equipment from different vendors. This not only poses challenges when building such a network. It also causes headaches in terms of management. With the new offering, HPE solves these things all at once, at least on paper. After all, customers purchase everything from the same vendor. So the integration benefits seem to be clear-cut.

What does HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G consist of?

HPE promises to offer an end-to-end solution with HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G. It consists of a 4G/5G core, HPE ProLiant Gen11 servers, sim cards and esim cards, 4G/5G small cells and a dashboard. The small cells provided combine indoor and outdoor coverage, according to HPE. So organizations don’t have to use separate solutions for that, with all the additional challenges that come with it.

All in all, that sounds like a pretty complete offering. However, it also means that customers must make a conscious decision to purchase everything from the same vendor. That limits customers in their choices. On the other hand, with HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G, they are buying a complete stack that is fully integrated and tested. That’s also worth something, of course. HPE promises a deployment within thirty minutes. This is possible thanks to zero touch provisioning and the necessary configuration wizards.

At this point, it is worth noting that HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G is not yet manageable from HPE Aruba Networking Central. However, that is on the roadmap. In itself, this is not a crazy approach by the way; it fits into the pattern that HPE often applies. First build and market the complete solution, then integrate it into an overall management platform. That is ultimately also the case for this new offering. That will get an integration with HPE Aruba Networking Central and, by extension, also HPE GreenLake, but not just yet.

With HPE Aruba Networking Enterprise Private 5G, HPE is definitely making the deployment and management of private 4G/5G networks much easier. Whether it actually expands the market with it, of course, remains to be seen. After all, that market is pretty clearly delineated. Private 4G/5G is interesting for a limited number of industries, such as the manufacturing industry, ports and other sectors where there are many large open spaces that are difficult to provide wireless connections with Wi-Fi or only at enormously high cost. That will not change with this announcement either. What does change is that it is now a lot easier to take the step. Therein lies the main benefit for HPE (and the market) as far as we are concerned.