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Apps are the Heroes for Private 5G (and AWS Agrees)

News of AWS announcing its offer for a private 5G solution has been welcomed with many high-fives here at Celona.

It has been an amazing journey for all of us here at Celona to work on this exciting technology of ours, industry's first 5G LAN solution.

After getting validation of our approach from the likes of Hewlett Packard Enterprise / Aruba and NTT Global Networks, and other market leaders ... we have been in search for a formidable competitor that at least shares similar technology principles as us. While might differ in the delivery of a solution, one who would share a similar view in how 5G technology should be made accessible to enterprise organizations.

That competitor being AWS is exciting and we are glad to hear that team AWS will be investing in this market’s fast paced and exciting growth. If Celona and AWS are heading to the same party to compete in a karaoke song or two, count us in.

If you are wondering why a hyperscaler considers private 5G an essential ingredient of their technology dominance in the enterprise segment, and how it compares to what we do here at Celona, keep reading.

It Has Always Been About the App

AWS powers more applications that we can count. By the time you read this sentence, there will be many more published.

AWS resources that app developers love to take advantage of also no longer belong to just the public cloud. They have been made compatible with multiple computing environments from private data centers to edge clouds and more.

These form factors of are simply an extension of AWS cloud services and are managed as such. So extending your latest app to the enterprise footprint has been getting easier and easier thanks to efforts from AWS, Microsoft and Google.

These apps usually are the fuel in enabling new digital initiatives within an enterprise environment: computer vision sensors that enable real-time decision making at a manufacturing plant, voice / video services for clinical staff members at a hospital, or mobile robotics that automate warehouse operations. Behind all these cutting edge technologies that are making their way into the enterprise environments, there are app developers who imagine how software can improve workplaces and the productivity of the people within.

One missing ingredient, which is usually an after thought, has been connectivity. Especially, wireless connectivity that can truly cut the cord. Wireless that can promise these critical applications a service level on latency, packet error rate, throughput requirements. Service levels that can be guaranteed with the use of a clean cellular spectrum that does not suffer from noise and interference, unlike its cousin, enterprise Wi-Fi.

So if you are an app developer, and the hyperscaler who serves the needs of growing army of such app developers, you have to demand private 5G as your wireless network. You want a network operating system that can speak the language of the cloud. A network that can easily be extended to where you have compute resources and where application quality can be guaranteed.

One More Step: Listening to What Enterprises Need

Another language a private 5G solution needs to learn is the language of enterprise IT and industrial IoT infrastructures. Understanding the current state of local enterprise networks that power factories, hospitals and warehouses is a necessary ingredient in painting the vision for their future.

Just like AWS Private 5G, we believe that a simple to consume integrated package is what enterprises need to take advantage of 5G cellular wireless at scale to support new generation of digital initiatives. SIM provisioning, network and spectrum management, radio access network infrastructure and any other ingredient that's required should be provided as part of an enterprise-ready solution.  

Up until Celona, the answer was to utilize technology components from multiple vendors - SIM cards from one, spectrum from another, radios from someone else - and (obvious to all of us now), that approach did not scale. With today's announcement, AWS Private 5G is announcing that they will play the middle man in this equation: still different vendors for different products that make up a solution, with team AWS handling installation, configuration and ongoing management.

Except, that's not what exactly what enterprise IT, networking and technology teams are asking for.

They want to control on moves, adds, changes within a private 5G network. They want multiple ways to integrate private 5G network resources within their enterprise infrastructure, not just via AWS powered compute resources.

Some want the option to have their managed service provider partners to deliver the technology as a service, and some simply prefer to run the entire thing themselves. Many, if not all, want their private 5G solution to be deployed next to existing local area and wide area network (LAN / WAN) technology solutions - delivered by their favorite system integrator with ongoing support.

Needless to say, consumption of a networking service based on data usage is simply hard pill to swallow, especially if the data is their own private data within their existing local area network.

Having to utilize AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) service for network access control - instead of existing policy management infrastructure that has been mandated by corporate network security policies - is another "one eyebrow raised emoji" moment.

Simplicity is essential. But simplicity needs to be coupled with close attention to the detail on how enterprises would practically consume a 5G LAN, and how their vision for the future of their campus networks should evolve as 5G becomes part of their enterprise tech stack.

We have explained how a 5G LAN can be integrated to an enterprise network today in this solution overview. We have also painted a picture on the future of enterprise campus networks in this paper, explaining how we are all going to be feeling more and more "edgeless".

Don't Lose Sight of Where We Started: Your Apps Are Waiting

With a unified network operating system from its access points to its mobile 4G/5G core to its cloud platform, it has been possible for Celona to enforce not just QoS but service levels on critical enterprise applications.

With a truly unified cloud-native network OS as a canvas, and our secret sauce (and patent pending) Celona MicroSlicing technology, you can support many great works of art built by app developers - on the same 5G LAN.

When you need to enforce a MicroSlicing policy for latency sensitive automated mobile robots on a Celona 5G LAN, you can adjust scheduling of airtime resources on the cellular wireless link automatically.

When MicroSlicing needs to take action within the network core to spare additional data path resources to stay true to a throughput guarantee on a specific application across a group of devices, your Celona 5G LAN will take action automatically.

With a unified platform that speaks the language of applications, you can keep track of insights on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) per MicroSlicing policy across many cellular access points deployed across many sites.

When the time comes to extend the benefits of a 5G LAN to mobile network operator (MNO) subscribers and allow them to roam onto private cellular for an improved service, your 5G LAN will be ready to tackle the challenge with dedicated MicroSlicing policies for each MNO - and start acting like a Neutral Host. If this sounds like a great alternative to Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), because it is ... and you can read more about it here.

Where Should You Go From Here?

AWS Private 5G offer as of today (11/30/21) is in preview mode. There is not much clarity on what's inside as product components. Not too many details in terms of how it could be made to integrate with your enterprise network.

If you cannot wait to see a 5G LAN in action, you can sign-up to one of our product journeys by visiting celona.io/journey and access our network planner, view our product demonstrations, request a free trial of our solution and more.
For a quick summary of our take on AWS Private 5G, here is an episode of our Slice of Celona playlist: 

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