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Private Network


Basic concept and motivation of 5G private network would not be much different from LTE private network. I would recommend you to read the note about LTE private network as well. But I personally think there would be stronger demand on 5G private network due to technical difference between 4G and 5G.




What does 'Private' mean ?


First of all, let's think of what it mean by 'Private' mean ? Actually 'Private' is not 3GPP term. In 3GPP, we call it as 'Non Public'. The term 'Private' in this context would not be a legal term since I think most of cellular network, even the major carriers that we all know' are 'Non public' company legally. The term 'Private' in this context refers to 'Unlicensed', especially 'Unlicensed Spectrum'.


NOTE : As the concept of Private Network evolves, I think the association between 'Private' and 'Unlicensed' gets weaker and we see some use cases of implementing Private Network using Network Slicing technology which is provided by Network Operators using licensed spectrum.



What does 'Unlicensed Spectrum' mean ?


Radio Frequency Spectrum is very rare resources and is strictly controlled by government regulation in most cases. We would need to aquire specific licenese for most of those radio spectrum and it would cost a lot. But there are some range of radio spectrum that is allowed for public use without any specific licenses. Some of the common examples of 'Unlicensed Spectrum' are as follows.

  • ISM (Industrial, Science, Medical) band : There are many segments belong to this band (see wikipedia). Most common ISM band is 433 Mhz (used frequently for various remote control, remote sensing etc), 2.4 Ghz/5.6 Ghz used mostly for Bluetooth, Wireless LAN.
  • CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service ) : It is a block of spectrum in 3.5 Ghz with the range of 150 Mhz (3.5 (3550 MHz to 3700 MHz) for shared wireless access (See CBRS page).   

The main target for 5G Private Network spectrum is likely to be ISM (mainly for 5.6 Ghz) and CBRS at least at early phase of deployment. In LTE, it was difficult to use the unlicensed spectrum with higher frequency (e.g, higher than 5 Ghz) since most of LTE frequency specified in 3GPP is below 3 Ghz. However, NR frequency spectrum already defined in 3GPP is very widely spreaded from relatively low frequency like below 2Ghz, mid range frequency between 3Ghz and 7Ghz and very high frequency like mmWave. It would be relatively easy to develope the device for the unlicensed spectrum wherever they are located.




How to deploy it ?


There are many different options to deploy (implement) 5G Private network. Some of the common options can be illustrated as below.


[A] This would be comply the best with the literal definition of Private Network. Both RAN(Radio Access Network, i.e, gNB) and Core Network are all private and they are located in private premises.

[B] In this option, Private RAN are located in private premises and the core network would be in a Cloud which is likely to be located in remote location.

[C] In this option, RAN is private which is located in private premises but use public core network.

[D] In this option, Public RAN is splited into public and private slices and the private slice are connected to Private Core network.




Why we would need Private Network ?


I think this would be the same as as the motivation for LTE private network. Refer to the note for LTE private network motivation.










[1] Private 5G Mobile Networks for Industrial IoT (Qualcomm)

[2] Transforming enterprise and industry with 5G private networks (Qualcomm)



3GPP Reference