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AWS (sort of) brings private 5G to market

AWS (sort of) brings private 5G to market

New private 5G managed service from AWS lets enterprises kick the tires on a private mobile network, but so far it only supports 4G LTE.

Credit: Dreamstime

Amazon Web Services (AWS) says its private 5G managed service is now available – however, it currently only supports 4G LTE and doesn’t yet support 5G.

With AWS Private 5G, which was previewed last November, customers will be able to specify where they want to build a mobile network and its capacity, and AWS will deliver and maintain the small-cell radio units, servers, 5G-core and RAN software, and SIM cards. 

The idea is to let enterprises quickly procure, deploy, and scale their own 5G mobile networks without having to acquire, integrate, and maintain hardware and software from multiple third-party vendors.

“This cool new service lets you design and deploy your own private mobile network in a matter of days,” wrote Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, in a blog about the now available service. But he also stated: “The private mobile network makes use of CBRS spectrum. It supports 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) today, and will support 5G in the future.”

AWS Private 5G automates set-up and deployment so enterprise customers can kick the tires on a private mobile network without over-investing IT resources.

“…private mobile network deployments require enterprises to invest considerable time, money, and effort to design their network for anticipated peak capacity and procure and integrate software and hardware components from multiple vendors,” AWS stated. 

“Even if enterprises are able to get the network running, current private mobile network pricing models charge for each connected device that makes it cost prohibitive for use cases that involve thousands of connected devices.”

Pricing for the AWS managed service is based on need and consumption, eliminating some overhead costs.

Cost isn’t the only hurdle to deploying a private wireless network, according to AWS. “In addition, CBRS spectrum in the United States requires Certified Professional Installation (CPI) of radios,” Barr stated. “To address these needs, we are building an ecosystem of partners that can provide customers with radio planning, installation, CPI certification, and implementation of customer use cases.”

In terms of specifics, the AWS Private 5G package includes a radio unit and ten SIM cards. The radio unit requires AC power and wired access to the public Internet, along with basic networking (IPv4 and DHCP). Each network supports one radio unit that can provide up to 150 Mbps of throughput spread across up to 100 SIMs.

“We are working to add support for multiple radio units and greater number of SIM cards per network,” Barr stated. Each radio unit is billed at $10 per hour, with a 60-day minimum.

The service can use the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) package to control access to devices and applications, according to Barr.

AWS Private 5G is being launched in the US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), and US West (Oregon) Regions, and AWS says it is working to make the service available outside of the United States in the near future.

Interest in deploying a private 5G network is growing among enterprises, but mainstream deployment faces a number of obstacles, including competition from less complicated and more widely available wireless options such as Wi-Fi 6/6E.

Private 5G could garner a ton of interest from some enterprise organisations, particularly in the industrial, automotive, and energy segments. A private 5G network can guarantee throughput and latency levels that next-generation use cases require, but it is still very early in development, according to research firm Gartner.

As interest in the private 5G grows, so is the number of traditional enterprise IT vendors looking to enter the market. Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise / Aruba, and Microsoft, as well as service providers such as NTT, Comcast and Verizon, are all offering services to implement private 5G in enterprise settings.


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