AWS Private 5G has Arrived! Considerations for Enterprises Complementing AWS 5G Networks
If you’ve been following the news from re:Invent, you’ll already know that Amazon has announced AWS Private 5G, its new managed service for creating and scaling private 5G mobile networks, automating a lot of the setup and deployment of enterprise networking requirements.
Like with so many cloud-based services, Amazon is looking to add simplicity and flexibility to a previously complex process, supporting enterprises with private cellular network journeys for new 5G use cases that need better coverage, latency, availability and security than you can get by relying on public infrastructure alone.
I’ve been following the news around the announcement with interest, as at floLIVE, we love this approach, and have been focusing on providing the same values to our own customers since day one. Having our own, fully cloud-native network stack allows us to support and integrate with AWS and other cloud providers to expand their mobile private network offering as well as other connectivity services around the world with the ultimate simplicity and speed. Running our platform on AWS using EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) puts us in the perfect spot for supporting AWS in their broader mobile private network journey!.
What else should enterprises look for in a Private 5G Network?
This announcement from AWS is very exciting, and certainly validates what we have been seeing in the market. That’s why I wanted to take some time to provide some insight to enterprises who are looking to leverage private 5G networks, offering a sort of checklist that can help your private 5G solution really take off.
Here are what I see as four important items to consider:
A Combination of Private and Public RAN
Private infrastructure is a good first step. It certainly addresses a good number of use cases where high-speed, secure connectivity is required for a limited area like campus connectivity, and where cellular-based connectivity can offer advantages over WiFi-based solutions. Yet in other cases you’ll really want to be able to use the same cellular technology in a variety of ways.
When cellular coverage is required beyond a limited area, you might want to use a hybrid solution and combine public Radio Access Networks (RAN) from the local operators for certain use cases, use VPNs for specific traffic prioritization, and then have a private RAN for extra security or lower latency when it’s critical to do so.
When it comes to your public coverage, you want this to be as wide as possible to support the greatest number of users. Traditionally, mobile private networks have been associated with a private campus, but this kind of local coverage is insufficient. Think about users who connect from home, or who are on the move as part of the work that they do. It’s important for connectivity providers to take the idea of an MPN beyond the campus, and think about it on a national and even global scale. This requires flexible solutions that include complementary public access, and a consideration of how to allow other operators to pick up the slack where possible– all without business interruption or compromising security.
In such cases, for command and control reasons and also for reasons of security, you would need to have the Public and Private RAN utilizing the same private Core Network instance. Such a hybrid solution allows greater flexibility, higher coverage and cost savings without compromising on performance, security and control.
At floLIVE this is handled automatically through a converged MPN that covers both the enterprise’s campuses and their remote employees who utilize the global public network to access corporate resources.
Our SIM-based autonomous switching capabilities further extend the flexibility and agility of our solution to cater for the stringent enterprise demands, ensuring efficient operation and business continuity.
Multi-site and Country-wide Connectivity
Of course, many use cases are not static. Whether it’s for new IoT use cases or for more traditional connectivity for mobile, tablets, wearables and other devices, managed connectivity cannot be for a single location. It also needs to support global deployments, such as supply chains that traverse more than one country, or a manufacturing business with connected devices in multi-site operations. Corporations will need to be able to control, manage and enforce policies across all of the “local” networks that are deployed across different sites, and consider how connectivity will bridge the gap between each single private network. In the consumer model, defined by GSMA Remote SIM Provisioning (RSP) specification (SM-DP+), it is the operator’s eSIM subscription management which will be responsible for this management, including preparing and downloading the relevant operator profiles to the eUICC of consumer devices.
Smart organizations will also have another option for future-focused use cases that need connectivity across a whole geography. In IoT, think about the Utilities use case of connected meters in millions of homes around a country, or the Automotive example of fleet management for a delivery service. Dedicated core networks can support these needs without impacting compliance, data security or availability.
Flexible Deployment Options
When you consider your topologies, you want to be able to remain as flexible as possible. Cloud-native is important, but you don’t want to shut down the option for on-premises architecture if costs and management are more complex than you first assumed. You also need to be able to start small, with as few as 500 devices, and then scale your infrastructure as you grow, up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of devices operating globally, without adding exponentially to your costs as you move onwards and upwards. At the same time, cloud can help you deploy in days instead of months, and support additional devices with a lot more elasticity and scale. It’s a balancing act, so it’s important to keep your options open.
Command and Control
The last point I want to consider here is your integration – how nicely your private network plays with the rest of your IT stack and your management systems. Compliance and data security are going to be important here, so you want a solution where you can dictate items such as exactly which users can connect to the mobile network and who can connect remotely– all with a lot of granularity over which policies you want to enforce, plus when and how.
Ready to discuss the flexibility you’re looking for in your 5G private network? Talk to us about network slicing, multi-operator coverage, cloud-native deployment, and laser-focused management and control over your IoT devices.