Definition of 5G Private Network
A private (cellular) network, or campus network, is an autonomous cellular network that provides coverage for factories or other enterprise sites. Technically it consists of radio base stations and a core network.
A private network is typically owned by the respective enterprise. To set up a private network, the enterprise can acquire a site restricted frequency spectrum. The spectrum might be used for 4G or 5G. It is possible to buy frequencies in some (but not all!) countries, including Germany, the U.K., the U.S., Sweden, France, Japan, and the Netherlands .
If dedicated frequencies are used, the IoT devices must support the respective frequency bands.
Note that the term “private network” is used by mobile operators to refer to virtual private networks. In virtual private networks an enterprise is provided with a network slice of the public network. This article deals only with “real” private networks.
Private (campus) networks can provide excellent mobile experience, offering:
- High performance: optimize the bandwidth, optimize the coverage
- Low latency: data travels in inside the site only, no round trip to network operator sites
- Full control: define the network upgrade schedules, no one else can use the purchased frequency band inside the site
- Data and network security: all components are controlled by the enterprise, the network can be 100% physically isolated
When comparing private networks with other alternatives, private networks offer many benefits. See the following table:
|WLAN||Network Slicing||Enterprise 5G
5G Private Network Comparison
Private networks require high capital and operational investment.
MARKET - CURRENT ADOPTION
Equipment prices for the core network and base stations have dropped because of open source, virtualization and IT/telco convergence. This makes building up a private network more attractive than in the past.
Frequency band support (Germany: band 43) by IoT devices and the embedded modems is unclear.
Current use cases include BASF, which is doing a trial for video surveillance of fuel tanker trucks (see ). Other proof of concepts include Mugler, Volkswagen, and Lufthansa.
Some startups have focused on this market and offer complete private networks for enterprises.
MARKET – OUTLOOK
Success depends on equipment and (currently high) operational costs, especially compared to network slicing by mobile operators.
5G private networks have the potential to ultimately replace traditional wired communication, both in factory shop floor (OT) and IT (office). See also improvements to support 5G Time Sensitive Networks.