A private 5G network is a type of wireless telecommunications technology. It is the fifth generation of cellular communication technologies, succeeding 4G. As with previous generations, 5G uses radio to provide a wide area, high data rate and fast and reliable connection.
It can also support low-latency, multi-user MIMO multiple input and multiple outputs communication or fully connect mobile devices to the Internet or LANs. It enables a wider range of applications than cellular technologies, including larger crowds and vehicle-to-vehicle networking, as well as easier access to the Internet from more places.
MIMO means multiple-input and multiple outputs and refers to the number of antenna elements used to deliver wireless signals. It increases the capacity of wireless networks by increasing the amount of data that can be sent simultaneously over an area without increasing interference or reducing coverage.
Designing a 5G network is analogous to designing an electrical grid. It includes creating base stations, wide area gateways (routers), small cell nodes and sensors to allow communication between base stations and mobile devices such as smartphones. It also includes a power supply (e.g. battery charging) and data centres for storing and processing data.
The need for a Private 5G network is also a network design problem. Current networks cannot handle the higher speeds, greater capacity and new applications that 5G will enable. The industry must invest in more efficient base stations, wireless gateways and antennas to support the new service requirements at higher speeds. The industry will require a large amount of hardware investment during the 2020s.
Initially, there were two competing proposals for 5G: Long Term Evolution and Mobile WiMAX. Both technologies developed from 4G to offer the mobility of voice, video and data on LTE-Advanced or LTE-Plus networks.
LTE-Advanced uses synchronized carrier frequencies to support different services, such as voice, video and data, in one location. LTE-A is a standard defined by 3GPP.
Mobile WiMAX was an extension to the WiMAX broadband wireless access technology designed by Qualcomm. MWimax used multiple network carriers on the same band plan but achieved gains using unlicensed spectrum and small cells. Both LTE and MWimax offered the advantages of large coverage areas, high downstream data rates and low latency for Internet access with mobile devices.
LTE-Advanced and MWimax were both designed specifically for the mobile environment. They did not consider the requirements of fixed wireless access, which provides broadband to businesses and other locations without a fixed connection to a wireless network. Typically, FWA is provided by fibre optics or cable, but some satellites provide FWA over the geostationary orbit.
The FCC targeted Private 5G as one of its initiatives to ensure UMTS/LTE (the network protocol used in 4G) remains the standard for all mobile operators in the United States. The FCC adopted the 3GPP’s Release 15, which defined LTE-A and LTE-Advanced. The 3GPP specified the need for three phases: Proving, Commercialization and Standardization.
Proving involves testing and evaluating LTE-A and LTE-Advanced technologies in real-world conditions to identify what works best for an advanced network. It includes the development of test beds for fixed wireless access, mobile broadband networks and improved mobile devices to demonstrate the benefits of Private 5G.
Commercialization involves deploying commercially available products that offer services on LTE-A networks. It allows operators to make use of new technology and prepare for 5G.
Standardization involves formalizing a set of specifications, procedures and requirements that will be used for designing, operating and maintaining the advanced networks. These standards are necessary to manage the complexity of an advanced network, provide interoperability among different devices and ensure devices from different vendors can communicate with each other.
Private 5G is the next generation of wireless technology that will meet the needs of mobile broadband applications. It will offer higher speed and capacity, low latency and greater reliability with long-lasting battery life.