Private 5G Systems
OK, so you want the pros and cons of planning a P5G? Let’s break this down by scenario. Here is what I can give you at a high level.
This article covers #P5G, #Private5G, #PLTE, #WSP, and #WirelessCarriers.
We will have to ask some simple questions.
- Will they build it with an integrator or use a carrier (WSP)?
- Will they do it themselves?
- Do they have a real use case?
- Do they have the money, budget, and ongoing OpEx budget to support this?
- Is this a test or a real network?
- Will Wi-Fi be good enough?
- Why does the business want it? Be very clear with each use case!
- Do you really need P5G or is PLTE good enough?
- What’s the intended roadmap?
- Do you have a trusted partner working outside of the integrator, WSP, and your own IT department?
- Do you have an executive that will support this throughout the project?
- Did you build a CapEx and OpEx budget for the next 5 years?
To build yourself or let a WSP do it.
To be honest, a carrier has a head start for something like this, but the end user is giving up control. It is easy to offload to a WSP.
Pros for a WSP – they will do all the work, do the upgrades, and continue to make improvements as required. They should adhere to the contract.
Cons for a WSP – They do what they want to do, it may not be in your best interests. They will make changes they feel are necessary and profitable to them. They will charge you a premium for a very long time as well as hit you up for installation. You need to identify the KPIs to accept the system, you should do that, not the WSP.
Pros for an integrator – They will build what you want. They will lay out exactly what you’re asking for. They will specify a system for each of your use cases.
Cons for an integrator – They may let out key pieces for growth. They may not be around in 5 years. They may sell the equipment and then leave you. Small OEMs do this all the time, they just want to unload equipment then walk away. Most integrators will commit to you but you need a good contract to hold them liable for the KPIs that matter to you.
Note – You will need a trusted partner, either an integrator or WSP, that will explain all the pros and cons. I listed several below. Embedded voice is the real issue.
I think the customer needs to decide on some key points:
- What is the driver for the network? Data download speeds, security, e911, device coverage, analytics, or what?
- How will it get paid for going forward? Not just to build, but the ongoing maintenance and OpEx costs.
- Do they have a trusted partner? Not the team that will build the network or the carrier, but someone independent that has the school’s interest’s forefront?
- Whom do they want to own the network and student data, the school or the carriers?
The huge problem for P5G is:
- Devices are fewer than you think. While there are so many Wi-Fi and PLTE devices, along with LoRa, P5G is not as common as you had hoped!
- IoT Private 5G devices are few and far between today. It may be too early. However, tons of PLTE devices.
- Smart devices PLMN for your own P5G network may be an issue, make sure it will work on your network. There are issues but if you have PLTE, no problem.
- If you build the P5G network, know your use case, and validate the applications from end-to-end, don’t assume.
- Verify all devices work on the network, not only with the device maker but with the radio and core OEM. You may be surprised how limited you are.
- Apps matter, make sure they will work on your P5G network. I mean get it in writing from all parties involved. If it won’t work for any reason, it’s not pleasant for any of the parties involved.
- Ask for a reference to see what they did. There aren’t as many as you may think.
- Ask about the problems today.
- Ask for the roadmap for each device.
- You may be too early in building a P5G network, be careful.
P5G Pros and Cons as of 2023
- Pros – they will be the latest version and they will be as close to future-proofing as you can get.
- Cons – there are so few today, mid-2023, that you probably can’t get what you want or your smartphone may not work on the network. You will need to validate every device prior to building the network and understand the roadmap for releases, if possible.
WSP Small Cell Outdoor
- Pros – smaller coverage area, offloading of macro sites, bigger RF coverage than Wi-Fi outside, Device specific features, should be carrier agnostic
- Cons – Higher OpEx to maintain, need a core to run the network, backhaul may be an issue, limited devices on 5G private networks today, may have to use smartphone as a hotspot since few laptops have 4G/5G access, most WSPs won’t do embedded voice making e911 calls an issue.
WSP Indoor Small cells, 4G & 5G
- Pros – Better RF penetration, tighter control over who can use it and who can’t, WSPs may not have embedded voice making calling e911 an issue, should be carrier agnostic.
- Cons – less throughput than Wi-Fi if using 6GHz in Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspots are way cheaper and easier to install, OpEx higher, not all devices have 4G/5G while all devices have Wi-Fi, limited devices available today on 5G private networks,
Carrier System, macro
- Pros – Carrier pays all costs, the carrier has embedded voice and will test e911, the carrier pays all OpEx, Macros offer a big bang for the buck in RF coverage and device loading as well as throughput assuming they have fiber backhaul,
- Cons – The carrier wants rent as close to free as possible, carrier will want the most favorable terms possible because they see it as doing the college a favor, not improving the overall network. Which carrier do you go with? Can you get all 3 to commit to helping? Maybe someone like DISH will come in and support. You will rely completely on the carrier for coverage, support, and student complaints which may not be a con but a pro.
Carrier (WSP) Comments:
- Could they talk a carrier into building a private network for them across the campus?
- Could the WSP handle student complaints?
- How would the WSP make money?
- Could a WSP keep the network secure?
- Would the customer be ready to manage the network?
- WSP means Wireless Service Provider.
- P5G means Private 5G Network.
- PLTE means Private LTE Network which is a private 4G network.
- LTE means Long Term Evolution which is an alternate name for 4G.
- 4G and 5G and 4th generation and 5th generation wireless networks.