Private (5G) Networks: The Details are in the Data

June 20, 2024

The growth of private 5G networks is undisputed with analysts expecting investment in the sector to grow by about 42% CAGR from 2024 to 2027. Nokia’s recently published report reveals what many industry experts have touted for a while – that enterprises that have adopted private 5G networks have seen a clear return on investment (ROI). Indeed, 78% revealed a positive ROI within only six months of deployment, with as many as 97% reporting a reduction in operating expenditure and at least a 10% improvement in worker safety and carbon emissions.  

Focusing on the Operators

Telecom operators are leveraging this demand to offer enterprises long-term evolution (LTE) or 4G as well as 5G private networks. Private networks connect all digital and mobile devices and users on one single efficient network, whether they are IoT devices, smart phones, robots, and more. Private networks offer ultra-low latency and are a reliable alternative to wired or WiFi connections. This is particularly important for mission-critical enterprises like hospitals and defense facilities or organizations operating over an extended geographical area and needing enhanced security and connectivity or in hard-to-reach locations, including in factories, remote sites, and subterranean environments.  

Telecom operators offering enterprise customers private 5G networks also means complying with stringent service level agreements (SLAs). These SLAs provide important metrics or key performance/quality indicators (KPIs/KQIs) to ensure the requirements of their customers are met. These cover many KPIs/KQIs such as latency, throughput, or performance and can include guaranteed service levels at the network and per user level. Breach of the SLAs can result in high penalties of as much as 5% of the quarterly payment per single incident. Operators need to view the entire network and drill down to identify service levels per groups as well as individual users. With multi-tenancy assurance solutions, an operator can offer its enterprise customers self-service access with the ability to monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize their own networks and data in real-time to prevent downtime and quality of service (QoS) degradations.   

Automated Assurance and Private Networks

Automated assurance offers a solution for private networks, which includes SLA monitoring, to view and report network traffic and performance across 4G, 5GNSA and 5GSA voice and data services. It provides end-to-end visibility from one platform across different locations, architectures, and vendors across the RAN, edge, and core networks. The data is collected and captured in one central site, including analytics, session tracing, and troubleshooting, and ensures that stringent SLAs are achieved for each enterprise customer.

The multi-tenancy assurance architecture enables operators to monitor their end-to-end networks while providing enterprise customers with self-monitoring capabilities of their private networks. This allows operators to self-manage their own networks while ensuring they remain isolated and have complete data privacy.

Operators can access real-time subscriber data to see the location of network degradations and diagnose the root cause. They can correlate RAN/edge data into subscriber-based insights to understand and resolve RAN-based issues faster. Furthermore, revenue generators such as network slicing and ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) are assured, together with reliability, visibility, and improved customer experience.

SLA Assurance

Assurance solutions ensure multi-access edge computing (MEC) site deployments, and control and user plane separation (CUPS) are integral to the 5G network architecture. Operators can distribute resources throughout the network and move the data closer to the end-users, which is key to having an efficient 5G core network. Operators can set KPIs depending on the SLAs and offer quick access to all the data through dashboards with real-time alerts. This presents a bird’s eye view, and drills down to troubleshooting views to help reduce the mean time to repair (MTTR), critical for delivering SLAs.  

Moreover, predictive assurance solutions can use historical data to forecast network performance a few hours or days ahead using AI and machine learning to help predict a breach of the SLA, giving operators enough time to prevent or mitigate the issue before it affects users.

Power Combination: AI and Closed-Loop Automation

In a private network, a closed-loop approach is indispensable. A network data analytics function – or NWDAF, defined by 3GPP, enables network data analysis for mobile core networks. It automates processes to predict and resolve issues without manual intervention before users are affected. Due to its complexity, NWDAF, however, is often overlooked by those deploying private networks as it requires heavy resources, including artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).  These algorithms are needed to help monitor, analyze, and resolve issues automatically in a closed-loop approach to network operations.

NWDAF solutions need to offer a centralized NWDAF in the cloud with multi-tenancy capabilities and lightweight “NWDAF proxies,” which are deployed at private network sites. This allows operators to extend the power of NWDAF to private networks cost-effectively. The built-in AI and ML capabilities and heuristic modeling enable various AI-based network insights, such as automated anomaly detection and root cause analysis, real-time streaming and predictive analytics, and quality of experience analytics for encrypted data.

These AI capabilities significantly enhance assurance capabilities, help proactively optimize service quality, and detect and resolve network issues automatically. Predictive network and service analytics will help prevent QoS degradations and plan resource capacity more effectively.

See the Full Picture

They say you’re only as good as your data. Operators need to see more than just enterprise-wide data on a private network. They need to be able to convey whether a problem is based on geographical location, different services like video, VoLTE, or more. Operators need to be able to access a real-time view of their network and know what is going on “right now.” They can access all the data from end-to-end, manage their business with multiple enterprise customers from one central eye, and even forecast potential issues based on trends so they can troubleshoot before a problem escalates into a crisis.

RADCOM presents operators with the complete picture, feeding all data across the enterprise onto one backend. This includes analytics about each user while offering predictive analytics, NWDAF, user quality of service and privacy, and ensuring SLAs are met.  

For more information, read RADCOM Private Networks Solution.

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