The 5th Generation mobile network, popularly known as 5G, is the new global wireless standard that succeeds the 4G technology. The 5G technology offers high-speed network connectivity with low latency and accommodates a wide range of devices in the network. Today, businesses are aggressively embracing the 5G revolution. However, the majority of businesses are challenged to apply the 5G benefits to operations owing to the exponential growth of digital innovation that is augmented with data-heavy emerging technologies in the form of AI/ML platforms, AR/VR solutions and real-time analytics. The Covid-19 pandemic was a key driver of this digital innovation. This is where private 5G networks make a strong case.
An Overview of Private 5G Network
A private 5G network enables organizations to customize 5G technology to suit business-specific requirements, security and priority access to its wireless spectrum. It replaces the 4G LTE network technology. However, businesses can still use private 5G along with 4G LTE networks as both networks use different frequency bands.
Private 5G networks can be classified into two categories:
Full Private 5G Network: When the network spectrum and network base stations are owned by the organization, that network is called a full private 5G network.
Hybrid Private 5G Network: In this model, the organization share the network infrastructure wherein the network is sliced with different control plane and user plane functionalities.
While both public and private 5G networks replace 4G LTE networks and are similar in most ways, isolation and priority access are two important aspects that differentiate them. Using private 5G networks, operators can partially or fully isolate certain user devices from the mobile network operator’s public networks as a security policy to reduce exposure to public interfaces when sensitive data is involved. When security is not a concern, devices can seamlessly switch between public and private 5G networks. Similarly, operators can configure the private 5G network to categorize activities on the network into different priority levels such that business-critical tasks are served first. Other non-critical tasks can be offloaded from the network or moved to a different network.
Hybrid multi-access edge computing environments are gaining popularity in recent times. MEC environments comprise cloud, mobile and edge computing technologies installed closer to the usage environment allowing applications and their data to operate in close proximity to end-user locations. Private 5G networks support hybrid multi-access edge computing networks and public networks.
Why Private 5G Networks are gaining momentum?
As 5G networks are evolving, organizations have multiple options to leverage private 5G technology. They can acquire spectrum from the following sources:
Licensed wireless providers (Midband or Highband Spectrum)
C-band Auction (Licensed Midband Spectrum)
Citizen Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) Priority Access License (PAL) from 2020 FCC Auction (Licensed Spectrum)
Citizen Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) General Authorized Access (GAA) Tier (Unlicensed Spectrum)
Another driver of private 5G adoption is the software-defined implementation in the form of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) that allows organizations to operate on commodity components instead of expensive and specialized hardware. For instance, Radio Access Network (RAN) functions can run on a commodity server managed by software running on top of it.
Managed Private 5G Networks
With the ability to connect multiple devices and machines with any network across the globe, private 5G networks are creating enormous opportunities for businesses. Today, managed private 5G networks are available as turnkey telecom solutions to businesses of all sizes. For instance, ‘On Site 5G’ is a managed private 5G network combined with AWS Outposts that enables organizations to deliver AWS infrastructure, tools and APIs to any environment. Similarly, AWS Private 5G, Azure Private 5G Core and Cisco Private 5G are a few other examples of fully-managed services for private cellular networks.
Be it warehouse logistics, manufacturing, education or Energy & Utilities, private 5G networks are already in operation, providing organizations with the required customization and control of their connectivity. Now is the right time to tap into this trend and create new business opportunities.
Don’t worry about the complexities involved in the private 5G networks. CloudTern is here to help. As an experienced telecom solutions company, we help you quickly provision and manage your private 5G network cost-effectively.
Call us right now to join the private 5G network revolution!
The wait for 5G has finally ended as the new technology is already making waves in the communication segment in recent times. Three important advantages of 5G networks are high-speed internet connections, lower latencies and accommodation of a wide variety of devices in the form of IoT, sensors, smart devices into the network. Though it was launched in 2019 in a few states in the US, it took a while to spread out to other regions. While the Covid-19 virus delayed 5G adoption to some extent, the complexity in migrating workloads to the new network is another reason for this slow start. Right from autonomous vehicles and cloud gaming to smart cities and AR/VR apps, the year 2022 is going to see 5G networks transforming the technology landscape across all industries.
DevOps and 5G Networks
5G technology is powered by software-defined networks running on standard commodity hardware that is inexpensive, disposable and widely available. As such, it can be virtualized and deployed from a central location. Using Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) technology, you can virtualize network functions and package them in containers, eliminating the need for special hardware. As such, you can easily build and deploy Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) using cost-effective commodity hardware. Each function can be developed as a service using the microservices architecture. As such, these services can be deployed using containers and managed with container orchestration tools.
With SDNs, NVFs and VNFs, you don’t have to worry about traditional CapEx costs for the expensive hardware. Instead, you can subscribe to a cloud service and host central servers in the cloud. You can install edge computing at the work location and connect the local systems with the cloud servers. With a high-speed network and low latency, 5G technology allows you to deliver an on-premise experience to users. To further optimize costs, you can implement serverless computing wherein the infrastructure is automatically provisioned when a function is in operation. Once the function is executed, the cloud resources are terminated. That way, you only pay when your application is running. AWS Lambda is a popular serverless computing solution offered by AWS.
DevOps enables you to build, deploy and manage code and configurations with increasing efficiency. Using DevOps CI/CD pipelines, developers can build and deploy code in small batches with automation incorporated across the pipeline. The code is automatically tested, secured and deployed with continuous feedback loops. The same principle can be applied to infrastructure management. By implementing the Infrastructure as Code (IaC) method, you can deploy and manage infrastructure provisioning using config files. With configuration code going through the CI/CD pipeline, it will be versioned and deployed with ease. It means you can revert to an earlier working version in case of a crash. Terraform and AWS CloudFormation are two popular IaC tools that help you efficiently manage infrastructure automation.
The communication segment involves strict SLAs. Moreover, the presence of heterogeneous networks often poses a challenge to move network components between different CSP environments. With DevOps automation and continuous delivery, CSPs can efficiently manage SLAs. With Docker containers, network components can be easily deployed and moved across a wide variety of environments. It also brings seamless coordination and communication between vendors and the operators. With 5G networks accommodating more than a million devices per square kilometre that can seamlessly communicate with each other, businesses have endless options to innovate operations and stay ahead of the competition. Combined with DevOps, 5G is poised to disrupt the business network landscape.