Now Is the time for 5G Private Networks



The future of enterprise connectivity is here! The advent of shared-spectrum LTE and 5G Private Networks allows companies and governmental organizations to deploy their own, private cellular networks to achieve the flexibility, performance, and security they need. No longer do organizations have to rely on the infrastructure deployment schedules of large telecommunications companies. This allows organizations in rural areas, like military bases and manufacturing facilities, to build state-of-the-art, 5G cellular networks for their specific purposes, and according to their own schedules. Enterprises located in high population-density urban areas, where congested spectrum degrades performance, can now access previously unavailable spectrum, enabling them to construct reliable, high-speed Private Networks. These recent technological advances and changes to the regulatory environment are a game changer for enterprise connectivity, and GigSky is positioned to help your organization deploy a cellular network that meets your specific security, performance, reliability, and budgetary needs.


What are Private 5G Networks?


Private 5G Networks are cellular networks, using 5G architecture and protocols,

operating in either shared spectrum (3.55-3.7 GHz in the USA) or unlicensed spectrum (5 GHz), owned by the operating Enterprise. These factors distinguish Private 5G networks from public cellular networks, which are operated by telecommunications companies (MNOs) in licensed spectrum and are available for paid public use. Private 5G is a recent innovation and offers enormous cost and practical advantages over traditional macro-cell public cellular deployments, and enterprises can design their networks to meet their own unique requirements. GigSky’s Private 5G networks use Small Cells/Micro Cells, which are small

boxes–about 6 to 18-inch across–that can be installed either indoor or outdoor on building roofs and walls with non-penetrative sleds, on light poles, or on other small stands. The coverage area from these small cells is dependent on a variety of physical and environmental factors, but generally, each cell can cover an area with a radius of around ¼ mile – 1½ miles. Multiple cells can be deployed together to cover larger areas. As a result of the reduced infrastructure capital expense, Private 5G networks can meet your coverage needs at a fraction the cost of traditional public networks and at a lower cost per square foot of coverage than WiFi.


More about Private 5G Networks


In essence, cellular phones are radios that communicate with cell towers on assigned frequencies. As with all radios, multiple users broadcasting on the same frequency, in the same geographic area, and at the same time, can cause interference. Engineering advancements through each generation of cellular technology have enabled more efficient use of this electromagnetic spectrum, but there remain limits to the number of users or the amount of data that can be transferred. In this way, electromagnetic spectrum can be compared to real estate, where growing demand for a finite resource ever increases the value. In the United States, the FCC and the NTIA regulates radio broadcasts and allocates spectrum to different governmental users or auctions off exclusive-access licenses to telecommunications companies. Due to increasing user density and demand for available spectrum, the FCC recently announced the re-allocation of 150 MHz of underutilized, Department of Defense-owned spectrum for commercial use (3.55-3.7 GHz). Instead of auctioning this newly available spectrum, as it did in previous commercialization of frequency bands, the FCC opened it up to shared, public use. Users are deconflicted real-time through a neutral third party (Spectrum Access System, or SAS), and the band has been labeled the Citizens Broadband Radio System, or CBRS.


Similar efforts are in play throughout the world, resulting in various sprectra either made available for local auction or open for general usage. In general, 5G spectrum is available from mid-range frequencies allowing for easier signal penetration and wider coverage to high frequencies (millimeter wave) creating ultra fast speeds in smaller areas.

This shared-spectrum model is revolutionary. Now, companies and enterprises can establish their own private cellular networks and achieve the flexibility, reliability, security, and performance they need. Because they can own the network, enterprises, including military bases and organizations, they can connect a virtually unlimited number of devices without additional per-line costs or any charges for data use. CBRS was approved for full commercial deployment in early 2020, and in recent months there have been rapid advancements in technology and implementation processes, including the advent of Private 5G networks with advanced network capabilities such as edge computing, network slicing, device Quality of Service (QoS), and more.


GigSky Private 5G

5G, in its essence, is a Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)-specified cellular telecommunications architecture and protocol standard that enables high-performance cellular networking. 5G standards require specific minimum peak data rates, latency, and performance criteria that, in addition to improved network design, deliver superior capabilities. GigSky is at the cutting edge of implementing the latest technological advances to bring new capabilities to your organization:

  • Virtualization of network functions, reducing cost and easing upgradability.

  • Separation of control and user planes, reducing latency for user plane traffic flow and increasing flexibility.

  • Network slicing, enabling multiple logical networks to be supported over a single network platform.

  • Movement of cloud infrastructure closer to users, enabling edge computing, reduced latency, reduced data transfer demand, and superior security.

  • Consolidation of user plane functions for mobile, fixed wireless and fixed access, creating a more stable and comprehensive network.

Together, these improvements make GigSky Private 5G Networks a compelling choice for enterprises that require high performance and security. These features are a necessity for the type of performance required by Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Extended Reality, autonomous vehicles, efficient manufacturing, "smart" cities/bases/flight lines, and many more use cases.


Our unique approach to 5G Private Networks:

  • We can design a network specifically for your organization’s requirements by integrating the most advanced hardware available on the market.

  • The network will be yours —we are not simply installing our network on or near your premises and charging you for access. We are helping your organization deploy your own network, giving you the control, flexibility, and experience you need. Since it is your own network, there are no per-user, monthly, or data charges. We can provide the level of support and maintenance your organization needs. Your network, your infrastructure, your data.

  • We will integrate your private network with our own global cellular network—giving your devices unmatched connectivity, even from outside your Private Network. Thus, your organization will gain the best advantages of both private and public networks.


Advantages of Private 5G over Public 5G:

  • Timeline. Your enterprise can have top quality, 5G coverage within your facilities, independent of national carriers’ 5G deployment timelines.

  • Guaranteed Coverage and Capacity. Private Networks can guarantee coverage and capacity within the target coverage area. The Radio Access Network (RAN) can be designed, integrated, implemented, and updated to meet specific demands, including usage policies, authentication, traffic prioritization, coverage, and uplink/downlink speed.

  • Security. Private 5G can deliver substantial data security over alternatives. 5G architecture allows data to be kept on premises, giving you complete control over your critical data. Keeping data local can also eliminate the risk of service disruption due to a WAN link outage.

  • Unique Design. If your company has coverage demands in unique physical environments, such as industrial facilities with lots of metal and military air base flight lines, GigSky can optimize the Radio Access Network (RAN) parameters to deliver reliable service. In public networks, such parameters are under control of the network operator, and enterprise customers cannot directly affect them.

  • Reduced Latency. Private 5G allows you to customize coverage and performance according to your specific needs. By designing the network architecture to move computing power and data center operations to your premises, Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) use cases, such as autonomous vehicles and Virtual Reality become possible.

  • Advanced Network Features. 5G Private Networks allow the network owner to apply advanced network features, such as slicing, and allow for a high-performance network layer for mission-critical tasks and the ability to guarantee Quality of Service where it matters, while still allowing for public, personal, or non-mission essential connectivity through the same infrastructure.


Advantages of Private 5G over WiFi deployments:

  • Reliability. Private cellular networks are substantially more reliable than WiFi, with fewer dropped connections.

  • Seamless Roaming/Mobility Management. In cellular networks, the network operator, rather than the end-device, determines when to roam from one access point to the next. This results in a far more stable platform, with better Quality of Service and greater mobility (successful handoff even from a moving vehicle, for example).

  • Security. GigSky SIM cards provide hardware-backed security and cellular encryption offers advantages over WiFi.

  • Bandwidth. GigSky Private 5G Networks can operate in unlicensed spectrum (5GHz range, the same as WiFi), and both private LTE and 5G networks also operate in Shared Spectrum (3.55-3.7 GHz). This additional bandwidth substantially improves performance.

  • Convenience. Private LTE/5G networks have longer range and therefore do not require wired routers and can cover large areas without the need for daisy-chaining multiple edge devices. Private Cellular networks also have substantially improved ability to penetrate buildings and operate beyond LoS, while demanding less from the client device, leading to advantages such as longer battery life.


5G Private Network Designs

There are numerous potential network design options that could meet your needs, and we can work with you to determine your specific requirements and the best ways to meet them at each of your installations, according to their size, user demand, and mission set.


Design 1: Isolated Private 5G Network

In this diagram, the Enterprise Private Network is physically isolated from other networks and GigSky’s Core. Here, all RAN, Core, and Server functions are on premise at your installation. An optional internet backhaul is depicted.


Pros:

  • Security. With complete physical separation from outside networks, all data and subscription information are kept physically on site. This can be especially valuable for highly sensitive use cases.

  • Ultra-Low Latency. On-site Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) means that signals do not have to travel far, delivering latency in the low millisecond range. This architecture allows for Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC), which is ideal for autonomous vehicles, sensitive manufacturing processes, and Extended Reality.

  • No Backhaul Required. The diagram depicts an optional internet backhaul. This is not required, and entirely closed 5G Private Networks can be installed in extremely remote or sensitive locations, such as in forward operating bases in combat zone.

Cons:

  • Isolation. An isolated network cannot take advantage of the network capabilities of interconnection with GigSky’s global network. It is difficult to authenticate devices roaming in and out of network.

  • Cost. This design requires the construction of a complete, end-to-end 5G network on premises.


Design 2: Interconnected network with RAN Sharing between Enterprise Mission Critical Data slice and public slice


This diagram depicts a network where the Enterprise’s network is sliced between Mission Critical data, which is stored locally on an on-premises MEC server, and non-mission critical traffic, such as personal device use. This network is tied in with GigSky’s global network and takes advantage of core/control-plane functions such as authentication, mobility, and network management at GigSky’s Dallas-based data center.


Pros:

  • Security. As with an isolated network, sensitive data is maintained on premises

  • Ultra-Low Latency. On-site MEC means that signals do not have to travel far, delivering latency in the low millisecond range. This architecture allows for Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC). The control plane functions performed on GigSky’s remote 5G Core do not require geographical proximity and do not lead to degradation of the user experience.

  • Expense. This architecture does not require the local installation of a 5GCP, reducing cost.

  • Network Integration. This architecture allows global authentication of users through GigSky’s Core, allowing devices owned by this Private Network to seamlessly integrate with other Private Networks worldwide (according to network owner access rules). This solution allows, for example, for USAF Aircrew to connect to Private Networks on multiple USAF bases, as well as the convenience of personal device connectivity or other less sensitive work-related traffic.

Cons:

  • Subscription data is hosted remotely. While this is likely not a serious security concern, it is more exposed than in a fully isolated design.

  • Connection to GigSky’s data center is required. Therefore, this design my not be possible in extremely remote locations.

Design 3: RAN and Core sharing with End-to-End Slice

This diagram depicts the network architecture that is the simplest to deploy. Here, only the gNodeB(s) are installed on site, and all User Plane Functions and the MEC are in GigSky’s edge cloud. Public and private slices share a logically separated RAN and Core.


In this design, there is no local path for network data to enter a Local Area Network, and thus the site LAN must also connect through the UPF in GigSky’s core.


Pros:

  • Least expensive and simplest to deploy. Minimal hardware is required to be installed on premises.

  • Simple to manage. All aspects of the network can be remotely managed by GigSky.

Cons:

  • Security. Locally generated data must leave its owner’s facilities. While this scenario is less secure than the other designs discussed here, this is common to fourth generation (LTE) networks. Strong, hardware-backed encryption delivers robust data security.

  • Cost of backhaul. Many 5G use cases demand the transfer of enormous amounts of data. In this design, such data must be transferred to the data center and processed there. Depending on the amount of data, this may be impractical.

  • Latency. Depending on the physical distance between the Private Network and GigSky’s edge cloud, there could be performance degradation.


These three designs are generic and are intended to illustrate some of the network options available. GigSky engineers and network architects are available to discuss your specific circumstances and intended use case, and can design a network specifically for your organization that meets your needs. Contact us today.