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Upstart Celona Unveils Enterprise 5G Platform To Unite Wi-Fi, Cellular Connectivity

The one-year old startup unveils its private LTE/5G networking platform for enterprises, which is available immediately through the channel, Celona tells CRN.

Enterprise 5G startup Celona wants to make LTE and 5G a reliable, and viable wireless option for enterprise connectivity.

On Tuesday, the one-year-old newcomer on the networking scene revealed a private LTE/5G offering for the enterprise, a new channel program, and a strategic partnership with Aruba Networks for the reselling of Celona’s cellular products.

For years, Wi-Fi has been the only technology enterprises are comfortable relying on to address mobility, Rajeev Shah, Celona’s CEO and co-founder, told CRN.

“We think private cellular is going to be another tool in that toolkit at least, and an increasingly important one,” Shah said.

[Related: The 10 Biggest 5G News Stories Of 2020 (So Far)]  

The Cupertino, Calif.-based upstart was co-founded in 2019 by Shah, who spent more than a decade leading product management for Aruba Networks as one of the company’s first employees and later, more than two years running products and marketing for Federated Wireless.

“I saw the super-early days of Wi-Fi and got thrown out of a few conference rooms for suggesting that one day Wi-Fi could be the primary access inside the enterprise,” Shah said. ”But now, we could do more. We could deliver an even better experience.”

Alongside Shah, Celona’s founding team members have been part of companies like Qualcomm and Cisco and have experience building products, such as chipsets, cloud-based software as well as handling technologies like Wi-Fi and cellular.

Adding cellular to the connectivity equation will give enterprises more wireless options. And as automation and new applications such as IoT and edge increases, the level of connectivity is becoming increasingly critical, Shah added.

Celona’s private LTE/5G platform gives enterprises a software-based approach to building their own, private cellular networks. The platform uses the CBRS-based LTE wireless technology, a spectrum band that was opened up in the U.S. by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The first generation of Celona’s platform will enable the creation of 4G/LTE private networks, with 5G slated for later in 2021 as more 5G-capable devices hit the market, the company said.

The new partnership with Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, will help Celona’s products reach the broader market, Shah said.

“Our customers are demanding additional connectivity options and spectrum to support specific digital initiatives being deployed within their organizations,” said Jeff Lipton, vice president of strategy and corporate development for Aruba in a statement. “Our partnership with Celona is designed to directly address these demands and reflects a shared vision that enterprises need a viable 5G strategy that complements existing investments in enterprise wireless.”

Celona’s cellular wireless platform is now available through the company’s channel partners. Celona’s networking platform components are priced as a single software-as-a-service license, with three- and five-year subscription options, the company said.

Celona plans on launching its first formal channel partner program in Q1 2021 based on the interest it has received from the solution provider community, Shah said. The addition of cellular connectivity will help partners differentiate their solutions from others in the market, he added. “The appetite for this offering from the channel and their customers has been amazing to watch,” he said.

Celona’s goal will be to have all of its business go through the channel, Shah said. “These are early days in the market and partners are getting educated on the technology and we will be right there with the partner doing the heavy-lifting with them.”  

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