AWS launches service to simplify CBRS private 5G for enterprises
Amazon Web Services (AWS) this week announced AWS Private 5G, a managed service that is designed to use self-configuring hardware to let enterprises quickly deploy private 5G networks that leverage Citizens Broadband Radio Spectrum (CBRS) in the 3.5 GHz band.
“With AWS Private 5G, you can set up and scale a private mobile network in days, instead of months,” AWS CEO Adam Selipsky said during his keynote at the AWS re:Invent event. “You get all of the goodness of mobile technology, without the pain of long planning cycles, complex integrations and the high upfront costs [typically associated with private mobile networks].
“There’s currently nothing like AWS Private 5G out there—a one-stop-shop, managed private cellular network that lets you start small and scale up as you need, with pay-as-you-go pricing.
Selipsky said AWS Private 5G is designed to provide enterprises with the high-performance, low-latency connectivity for a growing number of devices that typically are supported today via wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
“These systems weren’t designed to support connecting all of these things,” Selipsky said. “Wired networks perform well, but they are expensive to deploy and upgrade. And they don’t extend very well to mobile devices. Enterprise Wi-Fi is pretty easy and cheap to use, but it has range and coverage issues.”
In contrast, 5G is designed to deliver high-performance broadband to an expanding number of devices in a variety of uses cases, including manufacturing robots, delivery vehicles, tablets used by factory and store employees, and connected air conditioners, escalators, forklifts, according to Selipsky.
“This is one of the reasons why the promise of 5G is so exciting,” he said. “With 5G, you can easily connect tens of thousands of devices. The handoffs between access points are seamless, and you can maintain coverage over large areas, and you get high bandwidth and low latency.”
In addition, industry analysts have noted that leveraging 5G allows enterprises to control quality-of-service characteristics to devices much better than they can when using Wi-Fi connectivity.
These potential 5G capabilities have been known for years, but implementing 5G at the enterprise level has proven to be challenging, Selipsky said.
“Designing, building and deploying a mobile network takes a lot of time and is a complicated process requiring telecom expertise,” Selipsky said. “Plus, you have to qualify and work with multiple vendors, each [of which] has its own pricing models—most of which has a charge for each device. That adds up when you’re talking about tens of thousands of devices or more. It is not easy.”
AWS plans to change this dynamic with AWS Private 5G, Selipsky said.
“It’s shockingly easy,” Selipsky said. “You tell us where you want to build your network and specify the network capacity. We ship you all of the required hardware, the software and the SIM cards. Once they’re powered on, the private 5G network just simply autoconfigures and sets up a mobile network that can span anything, from your corporate office to a large campus to a factory floor or a warehouse. You just pop the SIM cards into your device and ‘Voila,’ everything [is] connected.
“Ordering additional capacity, provisioning additional devices, or managing access permissions can be done easily, just using the AWS console. And best of all, you can provision as many connected devices and users as you want, without any per-device charges. And with Private 5G, it operates in shared spectrum, so you don’t even need a spectrum license.”
Indeed the General Authorized Access (GAA) tier within the CBRS band—accounting for at least 80 MHz of the 150 MHz band within the U.S.—operates as unlicensed spectrum. Priority Access Licenses (PALs) are designed to provide interference protections to users and were auctioned by the FCC in 2020.
Koch Business Soltions CTO Matt Hoag said he believes AWS Private 5G will address a key issue withing the Internet of Things (IoT) industry.
“Koch sees great potential in private 5G networking. However, there are significant challenges in the do-it-yourself approach. It can be complex, time consuming, and expensive, both in initial setup cost as well as ongoing service charges,” Hoag said in a prepared statement.
“In collaboration with industry software vendors like Mavenir and global communication service providers, AWS Private 5G can help solve real challenges that enterprises face in deploying private cellular networks around the world. We believe that this combination will also encourage expansion of the cellular Industrial IoT ecosystem and accelerate the delivery of disruptive private connectivity solutions for our customers.”
That is the goal, according to David Brown, vice president of EC2 at AWS.
“Many of our customers want to leverage the power of 5G to establish their own private networks on premises, but they tell us that the current approaches make it time-consuming, difficult, and expensive to set up and deploy private networks,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “With AWS Private 5G, we’re extending hybrid infrastructure to customers’ 5G networks to make it simple, quick, and inexpensive to set up a private 5G network. Customers can start small and scale on-demand, pay as they go, and monitor and manage their network from the AWS console.”