Delivering High-Performance Applications with Private 5G Networks
Authored by Matthias D’Autremont and John English
Communications service providers (CSPs) have been working to deliver high-performance applications with private 4G (LTE), but they have not been as successful as they will be with 5G. As it turns out, delivering high-performance applications through the disaggregation of public cloud could give them the keys to success. The advent of software-defined network (SDN) virtualization combined with orchestrated container-based micro services provides the ultimate deployment flexibility, scalability, and redundancy for private 5G.
Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) decreases the distance—and therefore latency—between user equipment (UE) or IoT device and network application elements. For example, a normal 4G mobile communication signal will travel from the UE to the eNodeB and then on to the mobile core in about 100 ms. With 5G MEC, however, that communication is reduced to less than 10 ms.
MEC can be connected anywhere near the user or device as needed by the application, device, and service. Mobile devices are routed through the radio-access network (RAN) to the nearest edge compute location. Public cloud is being extended into the enterprise with cloud offerings such as AWS Wavelength, Outpost, and Azure Edge. Together, 5G and MEC are perfectly suited to deliver high-performance applications.
However, Private 5G as a new “edge” or network border means application tiers are spread across on-premises data centers, public cloud, and the MEC on physical and web-scale architectures, leading to an explosion in complexity. Lack of visibility for Operations and Engineering teams can lead to poor customer experience caused by slow or failing database queries, service-level agreement violations at the edge, or problems in the RAN, resulting in copious finger-pointing for mission-critical services. In a world of virtual or augmented reality, gaming, remote surgery, and other real-time services, a lag time of more than 50 ms is no longer acceptable. There’s also massive added complexity from the cloudification of the network and multi-tenancy options for network slicing.
To ensure successful deployments and business outcomes, enterprises must have visibility into critical private 5G service performance. Having a powerful and effective proactive monitoring and service triage solution is vital to delivering and maintaining the expected 5G service quality. This visibility gives IT Operations teams the confidence to launch new services with the ability to verify and monitor each enterprise site. Such smart data tools help IT easily and rapidly investigate service delivery issues with guided workflows and perform granular user session tracing and analysis for root cause.
Whether the private 5G network is located on-premises, off-premises, or a hybrid of those, having end-through-end service visibility is critical to assuring customer experience and monetizing subscriber behavior. This visibility continuously delivers timely and valuable insights across RAN, edge, and core, enabling users to explore real-time scenarios, create custom key performance indicators, and drive informed business decisions. Private 5G has the potential to transform the world as we know it. But the complexity multiplication truly requires Visibility Without Borders
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D’Autremont is a chief solutions architect at NETSCOUT.
English is a marketing director at NETSCOUT.