Private 5G Networks: No One Size Fits All

Learn about the top four options to consider when deploying your private 5G network.

Green gradient with a bright green 5G connectivity icon in circles
Steve Craycraft

The drivers for private 5G networks are like the drivers for 4G networks: realize higher throughput, achieve lower latency, increase reliability, serve specific application requirements, and protect data. Here is the difference, however: The 5G standard was created with enterprises in mind.

Private 5G networks will increase the level of complexity in three main areas for enterprises: new cloud technologies for radio access network (RAN) and the core, multiple potential deployment scenarios with multivendor solutions, and the potential for partnerships with communications service providers (CSPs), system integrators, and cloud providers.

The Challenge

Unlike with private 4G networks, enterprises have a wider set of deployment options for 5G private networks, from on-premises 5G radio only to 5G RAN and partial core, to a full “5G in a box,” along with paired multi-access edge computing (MEC) options. Likewise, there are a range of options for the implementation and operation of private 5G networks using a combination of the following: in-house technical expertise (if it exists), a network equipment manufacturer (NEM), the CSP, a cloud provider, and a systems integrator.

Exploring Deployment Options

With so many potential deployment scenarios for enterprise private 5G, falling into either a private or public category, enterprises can review their objectives for quality of service, data privacy, and security and decide on a completely private on-site design, or they can investigate the following elements to determine further deployment options:

Spectrum: Enterprises can opt to use unlicensed or licensed spectrum leased from a mobile operator. In this case, the 5G small cells, 5G core, and the mobile edge can all be on-site.

Self-managed or partnership: Enterprises can choose to build and manage the private 5G network themselves if they have the in-house knowledge and expertise, or they can partner with a systems integrator, network equipment provider, or mobile operator.

Hybrid approach: If enterprises need a lower-cost approach, where private 5G solutions can be operational quickly and still deliver low latency and good security, they may opt for a hybrid approach, leveraging the mobile operator’s RAN or the entire mobile operator network via 5G network slicing. Enterprises can still leverage small cells on premises for coverage, and the mobile edge could be on-premises, hosted, or in the cloud.

The figures below illustrate four private 5G network deployment scenarios: isolated stand-alone, shared RAN spectrum, shared RAN and control plane network, and non-public network (NPA) in the public network. 

Isolated Stand-Alone Network

Enterprises/managed service providers/system integrators are responsible for the network, either on premises or in the public cloud.

Isolated Stand-Alone Network Diagram

Shared RAN/Spectrum Network

Enterprises/managed service providers/system integrators are responsible for the core network, either on premises or in the public cloud, and share the carrier RAN.

Shared RAN/Spectrum Network Diagram

Shared RAN and Control Plane Network

Enterprises/managed service providers/system integrators are responsible for the UPF, either on premises or in the public cloud, and share the carrier control plane and RAN.

Shared RAN and Control Plane Network Diagram

NPN in Public Network

Carrier is responsible for the enterprise network, using either network slicing or fixed wireless access (FWA).

NPN in Public Network Diagram

Whatever path enterprises choose, having independent, holistic, end-through-end visibility is critical for assuring service levels and real-time analytics while feeding the orchestration layer for automation, as well as for realizing critical business outcomes. The speed and complexity of 5G will demand the continuous tracking of latency and throughput to immediately understand the “what, where, and why” of network issues.

NETSCOUT’s visibility solutions are vendor-agnostic, and NETSCOUT Smart Data provides actionable intelligence to IT, DevOps, SecOps, engineering, marketing, and other functional teams. Partnering with NETSCOUT to ensure end-through-end visibility for mission- and business-critical services will allow enterprises and service providers to embrace 5G everywhere and provide the leverage needed to achieve observability from anywhere.

Learn more about assuring critical business services with 5G networks.