Amazon introduces AWS Private 5G so that businesses can construct their own 4G mobile networks.

AWS, the cash cow of Amazon’s cloud division, has launched a new service to assist businesses in the eventual deployment of their own private 5G networks.

AWS first announced AWS Private 5G in early preview late last year, but it is now officially available to AWS customers in its U.S. East (Ohio), U.S. East (N. Virginia), and U.S. West (Oregon) regions, with plans to roll it out internationally “soon.”

Despite its name, however, AWS Private 5G only supports 4G LTE at this time.

“It supports 4G LTE today, and will support 5G in the future, both of which give you a consistent, predictable level of throughput with ultra low latency”.

AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr

AWS provides the necessary software and APIs (application programming interfaces) to enable businesses to set up their own private mobile network on-premises. AWS automates network setup and deployment once the customer has activated their small-cell radio units, using the AWS Management Console through which users specify where they want to build their network and the required capacity.

Importantly, the AWS-managed network infrastructure is compatible with other AWS services, such as its Identity and Access Management (IAM) offering, which enables IT to control which users and devices have access to the private network. AWS Private 5G also integrates with Amazon’s CloudWatch observability service, which provides, among other useful data points, insights into the network’s health.

AWS charges $10 per hour for each radio unit it installs, with each radio supporting 150 Mbps speeds for up to 100 SIM cards (i.e. individual devices). In addition, AWS will charge for all data transferred to the internet, at Amazon’s standard EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) rates.

Consequently, Amazon promises industries, such as smart factories or other locations (remote or otherwise) with high-bandwidth requirements, instant, localized 5G, while squeezing them onto its sticky cloud infrastructure with the standard fees.

Public vs. Private

It is evident that 5G has the potential to revolutionize numerous industries and will serve as the foundation for everything from robotics and autonomous vehicles to virtual reality and beyond. The majority of consumers with 5G-enabled devices rely on public 5G networks, which have limited coverage and may share bandwidth with millions of users. In addition, businesses have limited control over the network, even if their premises are within range. And this is why private 5G networks are attractive, especially for businesses with mission-critical applications that require low-latency data transfers 24 hours a day.

AWS Private 5G uses Citizen Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), a shared 3.5 GHz wireless spectrum that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized for use in commercial environments in early 2020. Previously, this spectrum had been reserved for Department of Defense operations (DoD). Consequently, this update essentially made CBRS available for a vast array of use cases, such as businesses wishing to build new 5G services or expand existing 4G/LTE services.

Simultaneously, the FCC announced key Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators who would be permitted to manage wireless communications in the CBRS band, a process designed to protect “high priority” users (such as the Department of Defense) from interference. Any device connecting to the CBRS spectrum requires authorization from an SAS administrator. Currently, Google, Sony, CommScope, Federated Wireless, Key Bridge Wireless, and Amdocs serve as SAS administrators.

And this is a key component of the new AWS Private 5G service; it is fully integrated into the SAS administration process, with AWS managing everything on behalf of the customer, including interference issues and other spectrum access troubleshooting details.

Inasmuch as Amazon’s new private 5G offering only supports 4G LTE at the moment, the name may be somewhat misleading. But the OnGo Alliance (then known as the CBRS Alliance) completed its 5G specifications for CBRS over two years ago, and the intervening months have been spent laying the groundwork for fully commercial 5G services — just yesterday, Samsung Electronics America announced a partnership with Kajeet to deploy a new private 5G network on CBRS.

However, while “AWS Private 5G” is a nod to what it is designed to support in the future, the current branding may cause confusion among parties interested in local 5G deployments today.

Source: Tech Crunch

Scroll to Top