What Is a 5G LAN?
A 5G LAN is a private cellular network solution for enterprises. 5G LANs integrate into an organizations’ existing IT infrastructure to deliver all of the benefits of 5G, creating high-speed predictable wireless connectivity at deterministic performance and latency for mission critical digital initiatives across the enterprise.
How Do Enterprises Currently Use 5G?
Until recently, organizations looking to use cellular networks in their businesses have been fairly limited in terms of options. Many businesses rely on commercial carriers, and gain access to their public cellular service via business contracts - simply because there were no alternatives.
Commercial carriers can provide 5G service with little technical setup, but offer almost no options for resource control, customized coverage, or visibility into how your traffic is being processed. For enterprises, this lack of functionality makes it difficult to target application and device specific service level objectives and scale efficiently.
On commercial carrier networks, enterprises are limited to the coverage, availability, and policies of that network. This can include overage fees and even throttled data rates during peak network usage. As you can imagine, these restrictions create a lot of friction for enterprises that want more control over the service they pay for.
Enterprises can also access 5G services through managed service providers (MSPs), who offer 5G implementations as a done-for-you solution. With each MSP being different, not all offer a complete private 5G solution that can be deployed easily within enterprise facilities at a rapid pace as they usually tend to custom built a solution per site or sometimes even per building / outdoor site - significantly impacting overall project timelines and associated cost. This leaves many enterprises with technical setup challenges and numerous cost barriers to overcome, while they are simply trying to focus on business outcomes.
Many MSP and commercial 5G networks may also exist as a separate entirety from your IT infrastructure, making integrations between the two systems complex or sometimes impossible. Enterprise networks that already have QoS and network segmentation policies in place across their Local Area Network (LAN) are often stuck re-creating those same rules on the new 5G network, usually on a dedicated IP backbone infrastructure - further adding fuel to the fire in terms of complexity and high operational cost.
5G LANs by definition take the complexity out of adopting private 5G wireless technology within their own environment for an enterprise, and put businesses back in control of their cellular resources. Today, with plug-and-play hardware, centralized management, and private licensing, organizations can design 5G LANs to meet their specific needs - tightly integrated with their current operational and support models that exist for their existing campus and branch networks, across their wired LAN, Wi-Fi LAN, IT security infrastructure.
How Is a 5G LAN Different?
A 5G LAN takes the critical network components used within cellular wireless networks and makes them accessible to do the rest of the enterprise IT and networking infrastructure. This is similar to how businesses own and control their own Wi-Fi network infrastructure. With cellular components simplified, enterprises don’t need a team of cellular network specialists to take advantage of 5G LAN benefits.
With companies like Celona working to reduce complexity across these components, businesses can design 5G networks that meet specific application requirements and goals. When enterprises own and control their own 5G service, scaling and budgeting become more predictable - with fees per data usage or monthly charges per SIM card on connected devices completely eliminated.
5G LANs integrate the use of private spectrum options (e.g. Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum in the United States) to allow enterprises build their own cellular wireless networks. In the US, CBRS spectrum is a new portion of the FCC’s radio spectrum that allows for each cellular wireless access point (AP) to operate without interference from within the network and across networks. As organizations gain access to their own portion of the CBRS spectrum on an AP-to-AP basis within their deployments, they are creating an express lane of interference-free wireless communication channel for their critical devices.
The 5G LAN architecture also provides unmatched visibility and transparency into how network resources are used and where particular data is going. This is incredibly important for organizations that run high-availability apps or adhere to strict compliance standards such as PCI DSS or HIPAA.
Cellular wireless resources are controlled through application and device level policies, which allows administrators to guarantee certain app and device combinations always get the resources they need, in terms of packet error rate (PER) tolerated, maximum latency allowed and minimum throughput required, in addition to Quality of Service (QoS) policies prioritizing one set over another. This level of granular control is not available unless a 5G LAN is in place to enable the use of private 5G cellular wireless within the enterprise.
Once these set of service levels for critical use cases are in place, a 5G LAN can detect connectivity of new devices and assign them to appropriate policies and network segments automatically. For instance, newly installed cameras will automatically receive those resources if a policy is already in place for security camera device groups.
To better understand 5G LAN capabilities, let’s review some key components that make up a 5G LAN.
Key Components of a 5G LAN
Private Cellular Spectrum
In order to ensure availability of spectrum dedicated for secure enterprise communication and interference-free wireless connectivity, 5G LANs use private spectrum options such as CBRS in the United States. Within a 5G LAN, private spectrum is made available as part of the solution, eliminating the enterprises to purchase their own licenses separately, which enables ease of use and rapid deployment. In the United States, the CBRS spectrum prevents interference across multiple tiers of operation using FCC certified Spectrum Access System (SAS) solutions to automatically allocate frequency channels to cellular wireless APs.
Devices and SIM Provisioning
Not all cellular hardware is created equal. In order to operate over the private cellular spectrum, devices must be capable of supporting the relevant cellular frequency bands. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, Internet of Things (IoT) gateways, and mobile routers are just a few examples of user devices that can communicate across a 5G LAN using private spectrum options, such as CBRS in the US.
On the back-end, infrastructures such as hotspots, customer premises equipment (CPE) devices, and long-range antennas provide customized coverage across a 5G LAN - extending the reach of existing enterprise wired and Wi-Fi connectivity to remote sites usually across very large outdoor spaces. In a 5G LAN, indoor access points can cover up to 25,000 square feet for blanketed coverage, and outdoors the coverage area can be up to 1M square feet of space utilizing omni-directional antennas. Planning your own 5G network allows you to understand their coverage requirements and reliably budget for the network they need.
A 5G LAN also integrates physical and embedded SIM (eSIM) provisioning capability, allowing for these devices to connect to the network automatically. Here at Celona, we also maintain a list of private spectrum capable devices at celona.io/devices.
Celona’s patented MicroSlicing technology is how applications, users, and contextual groups are enforced with granular service level objectives for QoS, packet error rate, throughput and latency targets across a 5G LAN. Traditional private 5G solutions offer resource control to specific type / brand of devices or require separate IP network backbone build to achieve the same benefit while also failing to provide application-specific controls.
Celona MicroSlicing allows for precise resource allocation and seamless integration into existing IT infrastructure, and enables visibility to key performance indicators (KPIs) for digital initiatives.
Organizations can build and access their MicroSlicing policies from Celona Orchestrator, face of the Celona platform acting as the centralized dashboard. Celona Orchestrator can apply MicroSlicing policies across multiple cellular wireless AP groups, device sets, many sites and many buildings in a site. This centralized operation helps reduce repetitive tasks such as provisioning and configuring duplicate rule sets.
MicroSlicing also ensures that each device only receives the resources it actually needs. For example, a voice over IP call doesn’t require the same resources as a high-definition livestream. Celona MicroSlicing policies hence prevent over-provisioning, allow for better control over operational costs and improve reliability across the network.
Advantages of 5G LAN
5G LAN architecture provides unmatched flexibility and control that can only be achieved when enterprises operate their own IT and networking infrastructure, or partner with managed service provider (MSP) of their choice. Organizations can reduce downtime by ensuring their most critical applications receive granular service level requirements with private cellular wireless connectivity - without breaking the bank.
5G LANs provide total control to wireless coverage and are designed to directly address application / device level performance requirements. Critical apps can be guaranteed certain resources and integrated into other solutions for visibility, ease of troubleshooting and more importantly enterprise-grade privacy.
5G wireless offers the highest levels of wireless network capacity, security and predictable performance. When combined with a 5G LAN architecture, organizations can harness the full potential of the 5G technology, with the full control of a traditional LAN.
For enterprise environments, an hour of downtime can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars lost. The added control 5G LANs provide is designed for specific service levels and optimization of continuous uptime.
Enterprises design their network to meet their coverage, latency, and capacity needs without suffering from expensive per device or data usage fees or overages. This approach provides predictable coverage that is easy to budget for and integrates directly into enterprise IT budget for existing networks.
When deployed next to a Wi-Fi network infrastructure, given the 5-10x greater coverage area per cellular wireless AP compared to a Wi-Fi AP, 5G LANs require less hardware to enable private cellular connectivity within these environments.
5G LAN Use Cases
Any enterprise environment that prioritizes uptime and performance can benefit from a 5G LAN. Here are a few examples of industries that can benefit directly from 5G LAN architecture.
Manufacturers often need to meet strict deadlines, performance goals, and uptime requirements for their factories. Large environments with older machinery and thick metal obstacles can make implementing reliable wireless a challenge.
5G LAN architecture tackles these challenges by supporting highly customizable coverage solutions combined with finely tuned controls for applications, sensors, and devices. Manufacturers can use 5G LAN architecture to support IoT devices for instantaneous performance, output, and maintenance updates.
5G LAN setup also supports the sensitive nature of manufacturing environments. Private 5G requires no downtime and does not interfere with existing Wi-Fi networks. With centralized management and seamless integrations, administrators mirror existing SLAs into their new 5G LAN environments.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
Industrial controls require high uptimes, strict SLAs, and transparency across the network. 5G LAN architecture caters to these needs while offering ample coverage and performance to support IIoT sensors and mission-critical systems.
The increased capacity 5G offers can support thousands of devices and sensors throughout industrial systems. This allows administrators to ensure metrics such as pipe pressure, oil levels, and safety systems always receive the correct amount of resources and attention.
Industrial plants are often complex, with large machines and reflective materials making wireless communication a challenge. 5G LANs offer wired-like reliability in these environments with customized hardware, increased power levels, and multiple frequency bands.
Clinics and hospitals need secure and reliable connections for patient room technologies and their staff that often span thousands of square feet. 5G LAN architecture empowers the healthcare industry to take control of their cellular resources to ensure life-saving equipment and patient metrics are always available.
Service level objectives can easily be configured to serve patient health sensors, ventilators, clinical applications, and even track medical inventory levels. Even as network usage increases and device count fluctuates, administrators can rest easy knowing that MicroSlicing will continuously enforce required quality controls.
The Celona Solution
Celona partners with enterprise organizations to provide 5G LAN as a seamless turnkey solution.
Plug-and-play cellular wireless access points can be quickly deployed throughout the facility, automatically negotiating access to private spectrum options. With proactive monitoring across applications and device groups against MicroSlicing policies are consistently being met. Celona uses its edgeless enterprise architecture and cloud-based networking principles widely adopted in enterprise network architectures to make implementing private mobile networks an out-of-box experience. Onboarding can be done alongside existing wireless and IT infrastructure, without interrupting business operations.
If you’re building your network for the future, Celona can help. Check out our network planner to estimate the size of your Celona network given your requirements and facility details, or sign-up for a free trial of the Celona 5G LAN solution.