Verizon's SVP of enterprise talks NaaS, fixed wireless, private MEC

Massimo Peselli has been promoted to SVP of global enterprise for Verizon Business. He’ll report to Sampath Sowmyanarayan, who has been elevated to the newly created role of chief revenue officer of Verizon Business.

Peselli is a big proponent of network-as-a-service (NaaS). He said enterprises aren’t so concerned about all the different types of technologies that are hot in wireless right now, such as SD-WAN, SASE, fixed wireless access (FWA), private wireless or edge computing. They just want a flexible, scalable network that will be future-proof. 

For this reason, Verizon Business developed its own concept of NaaS, which is comprised of three layers: 

  • connectivity; 
  • technology; 
  • and application management.

Verizon, of course, can provide connectivity, whether wired or wireless.

The middle layer includes all the different types of technologies that enterprises don’t necessarily want to understand, but may need. Peselli said Verizon uses white-box hardware at the edge, “because you can really be flexible in the technology you use. You can just change software in the white box.”

And finally, Verizon can provide software for the application management layer. “The beauty of this third layer is that it can drive changes in the two layers down to improve the experience of the end user,” said Peselli.

He said Verizon’s NaaS isn’t a product with a specific Sku, but it’s a framework. Walgreens is an important early customer for it. More than 9,000 Walgreens and Duane Reed-branded retail stores across the country will be using Verizon’s NaaS.

RELATED: Verizon’s 5G fixed wireless in the cards for some Walgreens stores

Peselli said the conversation with Walgreens started at the highest levels of the company. The executives didn’t want to be limited in the future in terms of the types of digital services they might want to provide. And they wanted a flexible cost structure from Verizon, based on what technologies and services they were actually using at any given time.

The technologies

While enterprise customers aren’t hung up on the names of different technologies, the wireless ecosystem likes to get into the weeds. In Verizon’s case it offers FWA, SD-WAN and private mobile edge compute (MEC).

Verizon offers 5G fixed wireless for business customers in parts of 24 markets. And it also offers LTE fixed wireless for businesses across its entire footprint.

“The objective here is to bring an innovative broadband solution to the enterprise,” said Peselli. “We built our LTE network with such capacity we can bring the speeds that are needed to use the wireless connectivity for data broadband connectivity. 5G is the evolution that will bring more capacity.”

Verizon is planning to leverage its new C-band spectrum to help boost capacity of its FWA offerings.

RELATED: Verizon may densify its network for C-band in the mid-term, says Ronan Dunne

Peselli said fixed wireless would fall under the “connectivity” layer in its NaaS model.

The carrier also offers SD-WAN; and this would fall under the “technology” layer of its NaaS. SD-WAN provides a software overlay on top of various types of connectivity, whether they be wireless, internet broadband or MPLS. And then the software chooses the optimal connection at any given time.

Private wireless and MEC

Verizon tends to combine its conversations about private wireless and mobile edge compute (MEC). The company has MEC partnerships with Microsoft Azure and AWS.

RELATED: Verizon bolsters private 5G MEC with AWS

Peselli said edge compute is an important part of the promise of 5G because it can capture and process data at the edge with uber-low latency. Some of the value of low latency will be lost if you have to trombone data back and forth from a central cloud.

Unlike some private wireless installations that have to come up with spectrum, Verizon uses its existing spectrum for its private 5G MEC offering.

“The private network is covering a limited geographic area, like a port within the U.K. or a factory, but the private network is limited to that geography,” said Peselli. “It’s kind of like you reserve some spectrum for the customer. You still use the power of Verizon in the backend, but for that specific site you build a private solution that is serving that specific area.”

He said the traffic that the enterprise wants to stay on-premises can be processed there. And some traffic can go back to the core network. The enterprise can also still use the public Verizon network for certain traffic while also using the private 5G MEC network.