Not all Private 5G’s are equal

ASOCS reached a major breakthrough in May 2022 CYRUS® release – Network Slicing, its private network 5G offering can now offer both eMMB (Mobile Broadband) and URLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication), as a standard on a single system, based on application, device, and customer needs.

Some are not even P5G…

By Gilad Garon, CEO

What is Private 5G?

In a nutshell, Private 5G / P5G (also referred to as Local 5G/L5G in Japan or Industrial 5G or enterprise, etc.) is a network based on 5G cellular technology whereby the network is at the exclusive disposal of the Enterprise. The enterprise would typically own the network and have total freedom of choice in its various aspects.

Real Private 5G comes in two main guises:

  • Single vendor, closed doors, solutions – Typically Small cell and traditional telco-based solutions where the Radio Access Network (RAN) is tied to a specific Radio Unit (RU). Generally, the capacity is scaled by adding more boxes and/or radios.
  • Open RAN solutions – where the RAN has open integration with numerous vendors both on the Radio Unit, Packet Core, and even life cycle and management systems. Ideally, these solutions also run as a software, and scale is achieved by increasing processing capacity.

The strength of Private 5G is reliability, performance, and security. Being based on 5G technology, configurability leads to flexibility as seen, for example, with network slicing offering eMBB and URLLC on the same network.

What is Private 5G in disguise?

Oddly there are more than a few systems marketed as Private 5G that are not truly Private and, in some cases, not even 5G. In terms of the latter, there is often confusion especially in the United States over 5G and LTE (4G). While 4G is a mature technology it does not match the configurability or performance of 5G.

Some cellular operators offer so-called “slices” of their networks for private/enterprise use. While based on 5G there is no true control by the enterprise and feedback from users confirms the performance is disappointing

Failing to deliver

At ASOCS, we are often confronted with enterprises that have been left disappointed at the least by tests on a network to the point of disillusionment from other solutions Whereas the reasons are obvious, it is difficult to explain that not all “Private 5G Networks” are the same. So, which networks fail to deliver and why?

  • Small Cell – These are “all in one” Radio units with embedded 5G are relatively inexpensive and may show passable laboratory results on a single cell and Radio. They may even be easy to deploy in a lab setting causing a bias towards them. Yet, once required to be deployed in a true network setting, they suffer from very limited scalability and poor results in real-world use cases such as high bandwidth mobility which requires handoffs.
  • Telco systems on premises – While the vendors for such solutions are often the incumbents for macro networks with great scale performance in those environments, they really fall short when offered in a private network setting. Needless to say, these systems are still locked into a single vendor. They are expensive, with scalability difficult and costly. In a campus environment, there are generally separate networks for indoor and outdoor use. Above all, such systems are stand-alone and were designed to interact with operators, not enterprises, making any integration with enterprise IT applications pointless.
  • Public slice – As the network ownership is held by the operator and not the enterprise there is limited ability to configure the network to the enterprise’s needs. In many cases all the enterprise can do is complain about lack of service. Moreover, data is passed through the public domain leaving security and privacy concerns.

The fear of using ORAN

Whereas Open RAN and ORAN-based solutions answer the issues of other 5G systems, the general fears fall into three main areas:

  • Perceived complexity
  • Multi-layer SLA Management
  • Poor prior experience

Validated Solution for Invalidated Fears

ASOCS works on not only pre-integrating multiple vendors within the ecosystem but also on validated end-to-end network solutions. A truly validated solution comprises of a fully tested and proven integration between the 5G stack, the multi-vendor Open – Radio Units, the server/edge platforms, and even enterprise management systems and applications. Using a large selection of pre-integrated Radio Units, NGCs (5G cores), end devices, and CPEs all tested, and even basic edge applications such as image recognition, video analysis, etc. Making sure they work together means an array of permutations leveraging both local suppliers and multiple vendors and in turn better support, faster delivery times, and better cost-effectiveness; truly leveraging the openness of Open RAN.

For System Integrators (SIs) validated solutions also alleviate the concerns over managing multiple SLAs for multiple vendors across the chain. The collaboration of vendors means much faster problem-solving together with proven KPIs for performance.

The Sour Taste of Poor Experience

True Private 5G is the only solution to meet the demands of modern enterprise. Above the performance, anywhere that requires mobility, centralized orchestration, and AI capabilities – combined with reliable performance tailored for mission-critical use cases can only be met by Private 5G. The additional benefit of being cost-effective and scalability comes with inherent security. Examples include Industry 4.0, Hospitals, and Logistics.

And if I may direct, too often, at ASOCS, we are confronted with SIs and enterprises left disappointed and disillusioned by solutions that they believed were Private 5G and just were not. Truth be told, it has even hampered the proliferation of Private 5G globally. But, as the market has matured and awareness is growing with experience, lessor solutions are being found out and rejected.

If you are looking into 5G as a solution or have tried and been left disappointed, the time has come to ask your vendor or your contemplated vendor if they are offering Open RAN and what validated solution options are available. The need to have reliable wireless connectivity for equipment, machines, robots, etc., is more important than ever – Private 5G is the foundation for advancement.

To find out more about Private 5G and ASOCS, either contact us or download one of our free guides.

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