Private network for enterprises: AWS Private 5G

Telecommunications technologies have been transforming for a few decades, and so does infrastructure. With the aim of fifth-generation mobile networks (5G), there are a large number of edge devices that should be connected to the internet. For example, all electric vehicles (EV), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and massive manufacturing equipment will be integrated with the network itself. Thus, this network is expected to handle a wide range of smart devices seamlessly in order to provide lower latency, higher bandwidth, and higher speed. This is where the need for Private 5G comes in.

Private 5G is a mobile network, which is very similar to Public 5G but more specialized (e.g. restricted access, more secure etc.). Private 5G basically takes advantage of the benefits of 5G technologies mentioned in the previous paragraph and offers more capabilities and functionalities beyond what Wi-Fi or other network technologies provide. Therefore it is recommended to be in action in manufacturing plants, airports, ports, or corporate campuses.

In re:Invent 2021, the preview of AWS Private 5G was announced and created a big impact in the telco industry. Later it became generally available for commercial use in August 2022. Since then the study of Private 5G has been developing continuously, especially in the telco industry.

Introducing AWS Private 5G

AWS Private 5G is a managed service by AWS in order to set up and scale private networks at enterprise locations in a short period. It provides an isolated and secure network infrastructure with a distinct and controlled environment for edge data operations. Plus it ensures a reliable and high-performance 5G connection tailored for a specific business need. This dedicated connection prevents the business-critical operations from congestion and potential vulnerabilities. It is particularly advantageous for enterprises that prioritize data security, reliability, and bandwidth optimization. So by leveraging AWS Private 5G, these enterprises can establish a resilient and isolated network, safeguarding their data assets within AWS. Please note that AWS Private 5G is now available only in us-east-1 (N. Virginia), us-east-2 (Ohio), and us-west-2 (Oregon) regions.

Figure 1 – AWS Private 5G architecture

In this figure, there is a link to The Spectrum Access System (SAS) which is a cloud-based service managing spectrum grants in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. Radio units must request spectrum grants from SAS according to apply Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. For more information about this part, please check this resource.

Private 5G Components:

  • Mobile core network (CN) – a core network for a Private 5G network to be connected externally.
  • Radio access network (RAN) – small cell radio units that emit radio frequency (RF) signals for edge devices to connect to the Private 5G network.
  • Private 5G site and equipment – the physical site or location with the related physical hardware (SIM, radio unit, or other network appliances) to provide access to the Private 5G network.

Technical Features

As already mentioned above, AWS Private 5G offers what is offered with Public 5G networks, but it is more beyond of that. Because the privacy of a network is able to boost the security and reliability, and can limit the usage of edge points (e.g. users/subscribers or connected equipment). Let’s look at the technical aspects of this solution.

  • Connectivity with thousands of devices, including subscribers, manufacturing equipment, smart vehicles etc.
  • Low latency, high bandwidth, and high speed functionalities that can help to build a seamless network.
  • Scalability of the network capacity if there is a demand for new devices to be connected.
  • IAM-policy-dependent access controls for all connected units to provide a more secure data environment.
  • Fast planning, deployment, and operation managed by AWS. There is no long time period consumed on planning, integration and installation phases.
  • Pay per capacity and throughput for only used.

How it works

Since this is a managed service by AWS, there is an order for your demand. Firstly, you order what you need on AWS Management Console, and specify your capacity requirements and coverage. So AWS prepares your hardware, which comprises of small cell radio unit, the mobile network core and radio access network (RAN) software, and subscriber identity modules (SIM cards), then delivers them to your site. After the acknowledgement of the hardware delivery, there is an installation process by a Certified Professional Installer (CPI) to set up the system. CPI powers on the equipment, connects them to the internet, and configures them with the necessary information for your site. After that, you are expected to complete your setup on the management console and operate your private mobile network with the connectivity and scalability options for your business needs.

The creation and order processes are required to be on AWS Management Console, but you can use CLI and API integration with your own Private 5G network. The documentation of AWS Private 5G gives important hints and usage scenarios.

The below screenshot demonstrates the creation screen of your own Private 5G network.

Why AWS Private 5G

The scalability and flexibility of AWS Private 5G make it adaptable to the diverse needs of enterprises. Whether a large enterprise with complex networking requirements or a smaller entity looking to optimize bandwidth for specific applications, AWS Private 5G offers a tailored solution. In summary, the adoption of AWS Private 5G is motivated by the need for enhanced security, reliable connectivity, and adaptable networking solutions. It helps businesses to build a resilient, high-performance network infrastructure aligned with their specific operational requirements, positioning them for success in an interconnected landscape.

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