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Private 5G FAQs

5G is the fifth generation of cellular wireless technology and the new standard for mobile communications. It offers lower latency, higher data-transfer speed, higher reliability, and more capacity to carry a larger number of connections than previous standards. Details on metrics are as follows:

Peak data rates: Upload (UL): 10Gbps | Download (DL): 20Gbps
RAN latency: < 1 millisecond
Connection density: 1 million conns per km2 
Radio efficiency: 3 times better than 4G
Cell throughput: Min 10Mbps/m2
Cell edge data rate: UL: 50Mbps | DL: 100Mbps

5G networking will be a true enabler for business growth as it was designed to address various use cases across verticals, all within the same network, using the following enhancements of that network:

• Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), which delivers improved data connectivity and throughput

• Ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC), which results in more reliable connectivity and minimises delay in data transmission

• Massive machine-type communications (mMTC), which offers connectivity for mission-critical and IoT applications 

Given that 5G will provide an order of magnitude increase in performance with significant added features, it will also be a true enabler and accelerator for many modern digital transformation applications across the IoT, data, and artificial intelligence (AI) realms.

5G is also a type of mobile network that can be set up as a public network owned by the carrier, or licensed as a private network, with a special frequency spectrum and a local geo-restriction (for example to a factory site) that is owned by an enterprise, not the carrier.

5G was designed to be business outcome-driven. Putting the technical benefits aside, the scenarios where 5G can truly enable and accelerate digital transformation are around:

Transporting growing volumes of data, where you need enhanced broadband to cope with the limited time available to transport an ever-growing amount of data. eMBB will help you download gigabytes of data in seconds.

Mission-critical applications, where to address the challenges of autonomous (or self-driving) vehicles, you need a reliable and low latency network. URLLC will help enable applications where even a millisecond of delay can cost money, or even compromise the safety of pedestrians or cyclists.

Managing devices and sensors, where to run a smart factory, you need to be able to handle the increase in the density of sensors and devices. mMTC can handle the billions of sensors and allow them to communicate more efficiently and freely.

Prioritising network traffic, where network slicing provides for dedicated logical/virtual networks for specific functional requirements (e.g., eMBB slice or URLLC slice or IoT slice). 

5G is not only about wireless connectivity. When you look at the order of magnitude of performance improvements relating to data throughput, connection density, and, of course, lower latency – it’s quickly apparent that 5G will support new data demands across the core to edge-to-cloud and extract the true value of data generated across the chain.

If you put 5G and those performance improvements in the context of areas like IoT and AI, 5G will allow businesses to derive real value from the billions of connected devices communicating, leveraging intelligence, delivering new insight, and optimising in real-time.

We find these requirements usually lead to some core use cases across secure facilities, supply chain areas, assembly lines, warehouses, and manufacturing plants for automotive and logistics companies; as well as large indoor/outdoor environments and critical remote mobility services in the transportation and mining industries. The use cases for 5G become quite compelling when applied to large, complex campus-wide environments as in public transport systems (i.e., airports, ports, train stations) and hospitals. This is because the 5G network enables more widespread coverage and connectivity across a plethora of devices transmitting large volumes of data that must be secure and controlled.

Things get interesting when we look at the area of private 5G networks, where the spectrum – and hence the network and the data on the network – is owned by an enterprise and can be restricted to a certain location or area. Private 5G networks will change the game because these private, local networks can improve on the services offered by public networks, especially when Wi-Fi is not viable in a large complex campus or an expansive logistics environment. 

Dedicated private 5G networks will extend connectivity beyond the campus WLAN. They will also fulfil the technical requirements organisations have for improved performance, company control, and security, and commercial requirements for lowering airtime spend and coverage-deployment costs.

The key takeaway is that you want security, and you want control, while also enabling your digitalisation – and a 100% private, local private 5G network will give you that. This will result in a raft of new opportunities for enterprises to build and run their own private 5G networks, effectively moving 5G out of the carriers’ exclusive domain.

Dimension Data Private 5G is the first commercially available private LTE/5G Network-as-a-Service full-stack solution which can be delivered on-premises, at the edge, or as a cloud service, with enterprise-focused, flexible deployment options. 

Dimension Data Private 5G allows enterprises to innovate with private 5G for smart manufacturing, modernise hyper-distributed digital networks, and secure IT/OT environments. The solution provides CIOs with a strategic alternative to deploying granular wireless connectivity and controls over their manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and other enterprise premises. The offering is pre-integrated with leading network suppliers, offering clients the flexibility to seamlessly work with any industry-certified 4G and 5G applications.

Private 5G runs on a cloud-first architecture allowing clients to maintain granular control over their modern digital network, IT/OT environments, and AR/VR developments. By enabling true granular micro-slicing capabilities, traffic within the facilities and warehouses can be segmented according to enterprise IT/OT SLA needs.

Our latest solution uses a comprehensive set of our company’s innovations and trusted technology capabilities, including:

• RAN/core/edge: cloud-native, compatible with bare metal, VM, edge/metro cloud, private/public cloud

• Global Network Operations Centres (NOC): 24/7 remote monitoring and Self-service Portal

• Managed Network Services: rated #1 by Gartner; SLA-driven SD-WAN management

• Global connectivity: over 1 million 3G/4G subscriptions in more than 190 countries 

• Secure by design: zero-trust network access (ZTNA) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture, making private networks resilient and invisible to outsiders 

• Systems integration services: we plan, design, build, install, and support local resources in over 40 countries

The solution provides seamless global roaming between private and public 5G networks in more than 180 destinations covered with direct network access agreements in over 70 countries. Using Dimension Data Private 5G, with the Dimension Data Global SIM, enterprise mobile applications can connect securely to a public 5G network when they leave the enterprise private network, then reconnect once they have returned. This gives enterprises the option to move between enterprise locations and take advantage of public networks at various parts of their journey, all the while remaining secure within the CIO’s domain.

Combined with our global network services footprint, we’re the first to offer the entire hardware and software technology stack required to deploy and operate private 5G networks – without compromising the powerful features of the cellular wireless technology. 

The Private 5G solution offers areas of unique differentiation in the market: 

• Enterprise-grade, API-first private 5G network, that can be consumed as a service

• First integrated end-to-end private mobile network including RAN, 5G core, multi-access edge (MEC) computing, cloud-native, compatible with bare metal, VM, edge/metro clouds, private/public cloud-only solution that truly integrates with an existing enterprise network

• A KPI-driven operational model that focuses on app experiences beyond infrastructure 

Gartner recognised us as a Leader, based on our completeness of vision and our ability to execute, within its 2021 Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global and 2021 Critical Capabilities Report for Network Services, Global. We can leverage our Managed Network Services capabilities in full support of our Private 5G customers.

We find many clients who need to address scenarios including, but not limited to, the ones below are best suited to take advantage of the benefits of private 5G:

• Scenarios where challenging environments cause poor Wi-Fi connectivity

• Situations where clients want to retain control of their wireless network and the data on it

• Challenges with data-intensive applications – the need to download large amounts of data in a short period of time for decision-making or AI processing, or IoT analytics 

• Challenges of autonomous (or self-driving) vehicles, or other mission-critical applications, where you need ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) 

• Environments where you need to support and increase the density of sensors and devices as well as handle the billions of sensors and allow them to communicate more efficiently

• Challenges around prioritising network traffic so you can provide for dedicated logical/virtual networks for specific functional requirements

To learn more about our Private 5G solution and request a consultation, visit our Private 5G page here

What is interesting about 5G is that it is business-outcome driven. Previous generations of mobile networks were much more technology- and carrier-oriented. With 5G networking, the emphasis is more on enterprise needs, which is the focus.

The previous generations of wireless were primarily defined to allow consumer connectivity from personal mobile devices (cellphones). As needs changed, mobile voice gave way to mobile internet and first 3G then 4G gave birth to the data-hungry portable applications platform we now call the smartphone. A device that is largely useless without its lifeline to the internet.

While 4G was very much an enhancement of 3G, the fundamental design criteria were much the same. The standard provided guidelines for carriers to build mobile networks allowing consumers to call and access the Internet from virtually anywhere with ever-improving quality and speed.

5G is indeed an enhancement on the previous 4G standard, but it takes heed of the changing world and seeks to broaden the impact of mobile communications as much as possible.

• To start with the new standard defines the new architecture to be completely cloud-centric and fully software-defined. This means virtually every component is defined to run as a micro-service or virtualised in some manner. Additionally, the ‘software-defined nature of the architecture allows improved agility and flexibility over the legacy monolithic nature of 4G.

• Secondly, 5G allows for three competing use cases to be defined on the same infrastructure at the same time. Therefore, a 5G network can promise improved performance to end-users, while at the same time offering massive density connectivity to IoT devices and then super-low latency to mission-critical applications. This is simply not possible with 4G today.

• In addition to the competing use cases supported, the 5G network is also able to create virtual networks in each use case, a feature known as slicing, thereby providing much-enhanced security and multitenancy.

• Technically, 5G also makes use of new frequency ranges when compared to 3/4G, something that is required to enable some of the features mentioned previously.

We do not see 5G suddenly replacing or competing with Wi-Fi6, or even 4G/LTE for that matter – they all have their part to play depending on various technical and commercial considerations in an enterprise or industrial campus. 

Keep in mind, there is currently no 5G ‘killer app’, something that can completely and singularly justify the sole deployment and use of 5G as a technology above any other existing technology such as Wi-Fi. Rather, what 5G brings is the ability to combine several competing requirements into a single infrastructure, thereby providing a platform over which the vast array of applications can be delivered.

We believe these technologies will co-exist, not compete, because depending on the requirement, one technology or another may be the best fit. When trying to address an overall environment it is fully expected that multiple connectivity technologies will be used. It’s not going to be an either-or situation.

Mobile communications standards evolve around every decade or so, with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) releasing guidelines for the new standard about halfway through the current cycle.

In the case of 5G, this arrived in 2016 in the form of the recommendations known as IMT-2020, which detailed the evolving communications needs of the planet, and set a deadline of 2020 for the first deployments of the new standard.

Therefore, the answer to ‘why now’ is simply the 3GPP standards body keeping the deadline as defined by the ITU in 2016.

From a public carrier point of view, we expect to see mostly a focus on deploying the improved speed functionality (eMBB) to the consumer market.

Private 5G will similarly begin ramping up in the coming 12 to 24 months as solid use cases drive the demand and business case for enterprise private 5G networks.

We expect this will be driven by high demand for the new features 5G networks provide – like lower latency, increased device density, improved data rates, or control over device power consumption. 

Other use cases, such as edge-compute-driven services (2022) and massive IoT (2024), will take a little more time to develop as the industry explores the new features of 5G and applies them to existing or new challenges. 

Carrier 5G deployments are in full swing today (2021) with new networks going live daily. Most tier 1 carriers already have commercial consumer offerings covering major centres, with wide-scale coverage (equivalent to 4G coverage today) for enhanced consumer connectivity (eMBB) expected by end of 2025.

Low-latency and high-reliability use cases are expected to hit the market by 2022 with the high-density IoT use cases arriving in part by 2024. That said, now isn’t the time for enterprises to wait on executing their private 5G strategy.

Catering for the differing use cases requires differing radio access characteristics. For instance, high performance requires high frequencies, but the higher the frequency the smaller the cell area will need to be due to increased attenuation. Therefore, 5G defines three major frequency ranges:

Low (sub-GHz) band range: This range is typically around the 700MHz mark and is particularly suited to long-distance, low bandwidth type applications such as IoT or rural connectivity. It also offered superior penetration capabilities.

Mid-band range: This range varies somewhat depending on country and region but is usually somewhere between 3.5GHz and 6GHz. This band will be used for the enhanced mobile broadband use case since it provides a good mix of increased data carrying capacity, penetration, and cell density/coverage.

High-band or mmWave range: This new range provides some of the most significant gains for 5G, but also comes with some of the biggest technical challenges. The standard specifies frequencies ranging from 24GHz up to 60GHz, however, most countries are settling on either 26 GHz to 28GHz or in the 40GHz band. While these exceptionally high frequencies can provide data rates in the range of 20Gbps, they come with a very short transmission range and almost no penetration capabilities, meaning an end-user device needs to be almost line of sight of a base station to communicate. Technologies are being developed to overcome some of these issues.

Yes, currently all 5G deployments make use of licensed frequency ranges. The ITU and 3GPP recommend ranges to use, however, it’s up to the individual country regulators to open up the specific frequencies ranges and make them available to prospective users via defined financial models. This approach, which is in keeping with the previous generation of mobile standards, ensures the frequency ranges do not become cluttered, thereby preserving performance and scale.

The standard does also allow for the integration of radio access technologies based on unlicensed bands such as IMS (Wi-Fi, etc.) and sections of the 6GHz range (re-purposed radar) to be integrated into the 5G network, however, this would be seen as a separate access technology by the 5G core.

The three primary 5G use cases (i.e., eMBB, URLLC, mMTC) as defined in the standard will always operate on licensed spectrum.

For a start, the different use cases require different carrier frequency capabilities. But primarily one can expect the existing 4G networks to be in operation for many years still and reusing the existing 4G bands would cause congestion issues in the already busy 4G frequency bands.

Absolutely. The ITU is currently working on producing what will be called IMT-2030, the recommendations for mobile communications by the year 2030. While this is still some way off, the following quote from an ITU research paper should set the expected scene.

'It is not clear yet what 6G will entail. It will include relevant technologies considered too immature for 5G or which are outside the defined scope of 5G. More specifically, how data is collected, processed, transmitted, and consumed within the wireless network will be a key driver for 6G. It is also envisioned that we need new KPI drivers towards 6G besides the current 5G technical superiority KPIs: societal megatrends, UN sustainability goals, emerging new technical enablers, as well as ever-increasing productivity demands, are emerging critical drivers towards 2030 solutions.’

Want to find out more about the Dimension Data Private 5G service?