5G Private Network Explained

The Fifth Generation (5G) networks are being rolled out across the world. Private 5G is a mobile network which is actually the same as a public 5G network, but Private 5G network allows the owner to provide priority access or licensing for its wireless spectrum. 

Built on 5G technologies, Private 5G network is a local area network which is used for dedicated wireless connectivity within a particular area. 

Private 5G offers ultra low latency and incredibly high bandwidth connections that can support artificial intelligence – driven applications which serve as an exploding number of sensors and endpoints. 

Private 5G network can be independently managed by its owner, and the owner has the authority to control every aspect of the network, like priority schedule, resource allocation, security, etc.

Private 5G networks enjoy the advantages in both domains i.e. the Radio Domain and the System Architecture. In the radio domain, Private 5G networks provide spectrum flexibility, multi-Gbps high data rates, ultra-low latency, ultra-high reliability and massive connectivity. 

At the system level architecture, vertical network slicing, private edge computing, and improved security are required to realize a truly isolated private 5G network.

Private 5G network can be characterized as:

  1. Ultra-High Reliability: Reliability means the ability of the communication service to perform as required for a given time period, under given conditions. Ultra-high reliability is required for the wireless IoT and IIoT to successfully execute certain tasks.
  2. High Security: To protect critical assets, private 5G networks can use network isolation, device       authentication and data protection.
  3. Ultra-Low Latency: Ultra-low latency means the ability of a network to facilitate highly critical applications which demand less than a millisecond level E2E latency in their packet transmissions. This is of great importance for industrial automation.

Source: https://www.qualcomm.com/sites/ember/files/blog/managed-images/image_2_10.png

Why to Use 5G Private Network

The 5G Private network allows the owner to offer priority access or licensing for its wireless spectrum. Private 5G network is also a mobile network and technically it is the same as a public 5G network.

A Private 5G network is beneficial when deploying private wireless networks at facilities where speed, security and coverage capabilities are required rather than that offered by Wi-Fi and other network technologies.

Private 5G network offers low latency and high reliability which makes it more beneficial for industrial applications.

What is a Non-Public Network in 5G

A Non-Public Network (NPN) enables deployment of a 5G system for private use according to 3GPP. i.e. A private 5G network is called a non-public network (NPN) in 3GPP terminology. Private 5G network offers the use of 5G technologies which can create a dedicated network with unified connectivity, optimized services and a protected means of communication within a particular area.

A private 5G network can be run by a third party or by the company itself according to the same or different spectrum which is owned by mobile network operators. In the next coming year it is expected that there will be a growth in the private 5G network market.

The architecture of the 5G network is simplified due to the removal of CS core and also the advancements in silicon, storage, and computation, etc. which allows the creation of small equipment that simplify the private 5G network.

Private networks depend on isolated networks for selected devices which are allowed to collect on to the network, while non-public networks are having more breadth in scope, because among them there are certain devices which are capable of working on private as well as public networks or roaming between them.

A Private or Non-Public Network(NPN) can be deployed in different ways as mentioned below:

1. Stand-Alone Non-Public Network(SNDP)

Operated by an NPN operator and not relying on network functions offered by a Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN).

2. Public Network Integrated NPN (PNI-NPN)

A non-public network deployed with the support of a PLMN.

“SNPN RAN broadcasts PLMN ID and NID in the system broadcast which enables network selection, reselection, overload control, access control can be supported by using PLMN ID and NID,” according to 3GPP.

3GPP specified support for two NPN deployment options through which it can provide full support for industrial verticals. The first  deployment is known as public-network-integrated NPNs, which allows the public operators to support NPNs by linking them directly to their networks and the second deployment option is known as standalone NPN(SNPN).

How Does Private 5G Network Works  

Private 5G network can be implemented in two ways:

  • The first way is to deploy a physically-isolated private 5G network which does not depend on the mobile operator’s public 5G network. In this case, the private 5G network can be built by enterprises or mobile operators.
  • Second way is to build private 5G networks by sharing the resources of the mobile operator’s public 5G network. In this case the network carrier will build the private 5G  network for enterprises.

Private 5G Network Deployment Modes

Below are the multiple ways to deploy the Private 5G network:

1. Isolated 5G LAN built by the enterprise (Local 5G Frequency, Full Private, No-Sharing)

Enterprise deploys a 5G network full set within its building. The 5G frequency in the enterprise is not the mobile operators’ Licensed frequency but it is the local 5G frequency. Enterprises can generate their own 5G LAN by using local 5G frequency, which can free them from the wired LAN and the wireless LAN’s annoyance.

The ultra-low latency and ultra-connectivity ability of the 5G network enables the creation of new enterprise applications.

2. Isolated 5G LAN built by Mobile Operators (Licensed 5G Frequency, Full Private, No-Sharing)

Mobile operators build and operate 5G LAN in the enterprise with their own licensed 5G  frequency . 

3. RAN sharing between Private Network and Public Network

UPF, 5GC CP, UDM, and MEC are deployed in the enterprise and physically separated from the public network. The 5G base stations which are located within the enterprise are shared between private and public networks.

4. RAN and Control Plane Sharing between Private and Public Network

Private and dedicated UPF,MEC are built in enterprise. 5G base stations in enterprise and 5GC CPs, UDMs in mobile operator’s edge cloud are shared between private and public networks.

5. RAN and Core Sharing (End-to-End network slicing) b/w private and public network

In this case, only gNB is deployed inside the enterprise and UPF and MEC exist only in the mobile operator’s edge cloud. Private network and public network share “ logically separated 5G RAN and core”.

Advantages of Private 5G Network

There are so many advantages of Private 5G network which are stated below:

1. Privacy and Security

Private network provides complete data security as the private network is physically separated from the public network. It provides data security such as data traffic generated from private network devices, subscription information and operation information of private network devices.

2. Ultra-Low Latency

The network delay between the device and the application server is within several ms 

3. No Optical Fiber to the Building

To keep the local service running there is no need for a working backhaul. 5G service can be provided to enterprises that do not have optical backhaul links . 

4. Better Network Coverage And Capacity 

Organisations are getting dedicated capacity and guaranteed coverage by deploying their own private networks. 

5. High Density And Scalability

The Private 5G network ensures the connection of up to a million devices per square kilometre within a particular premises over a single network.

6. Flexibility

5G Private wireless connectivity enables organisations to setup/move their industry devices and equipment as needed without the planning and construction cost related to the cabled network. 

5G Private Network Examples

Better connectivity always  benefited to the enterprise said by Jefferson Wang, so there are following use cases in which private 5G proving valuable to the enterprise that are stated below:

1. Domain Specific Services

Private 5G enables new types of service providers that can offer more domain specific expertise as compared to a traditional telco,for eg- industrial companies like Siemens are investing in spectrum and infrastructure to increase connectivity for their industrial control equipment.

2. Smart Cities

Network operators are looking at what can be achieved with 5G technology, and one of such use cases is the Alba Iulia Smart City, which has been developed with parking sensors, and smart waste management introduced in Romanian cities. It will also provide car to car communication around hazards and incidents, as well as fully automated cars.

3. Improved Viewing Experience at Sporting Events

At sporting events the connectivity is most important, for example the average Bundesliga match attracting 43,000 spectators, who consume approx 500GB . Because of this some sporting organisations are scared that spectators will stay at home if they can’t stay connected.

4. Sports Broadcasting

The most developed use case of 5G network is sports broadcasting. 5G enabled cameras remove the need to use cables, which make it easier to cover sports that take place over a wide area. Fox sports has trialled 5G at golf’s US open.

5. 5G Drones

Skyward provides drone operators with detailed mapping while operating industrial drones plus there are also tools for overseeing multiple drones in action. Verizon’s plan is to provide as many drones as possible to be connected and to transmit video footage in real-time but also to relay back.

6. IP Broadcasting 

The broadcasting industry is currently looking at whether 5G private networks can deliver both linear and non linear broadcasts, whilst supporting them with Enhanced Media Services(EMS), that are a combination of both.