With 5G, do we still need private networks?

In 2020, the 5G network construction entered the fast lane, the public communication network(hereinafter referred to as the public network) is developing rapidly with the unprecedented situation. Recently, some media reported that compared with the public networks, the private communication network(hereinafter referred to as the private network) is relatively backward.

So, what is the private network? What is the status quo of private network technology, and what are the differences compared with the public network? In the 5G era. What kind of development opportunity will the private network technology usher in? I interviewed the experts.

1.Provide safe and reliable service for specific users

In our daily life, people use the mobile phone to make phone calls, surf the internet, etc., all with the help of the public network. The public network refers to the communication network built by network service providers for the public users, which is most closely connected with our daily life. However, when it comes to private networks, most people may feel very strange.

What exactly is a private network? The private network refers to a professional network that achieves network signal coverage in a specific area and provides communication services to particular users in the organization, command, management, production, and dispatch links.

In short, the private network is providing network communication services for specific users. The private network includes both wireless and wired communication methods. However, in most cases, the private network usually refers to a private wireless network. This kind of network can provide continuous and reliable network connection even in an environment with limited public network connection, and it’s no access to data theft and attacks from the outside world.

The technical principles of the private network are basically the same as the public network. The private network is generally based on public network technology and customized for special applications. However, the private network may adopt different communication standards from the public network. For example, TETRA(Terrestrial trunking radio communication standard), the current mainstream standard of the private network, is originated from the GSM(Global System for Mobile Communications).

Other dedicated networks are mainly voice-based services in terms of service characteristics, except for dedicated data networks even if voice and data can be transmitted simultaneously in the network. The priority of voice is the highest, which is also determined by the speed of voice calls and data calls of private network users.

In practical application, the private networks usually serve government, military, public security, fire protection, rail transportation, etc., and in most cases are used for emergency communications, dispatch, and command. Reliable performance, low cost, and customized features give private networks irreplaceable advantages in industrial applications. Even if in the 5G era, private networks still useful. Some engineer believes that, in the past, private network services were relatively concentrated, and there were some differences with the vertical industries that 5G technology focused on, but this difference is gradually decreasing.

2.There is no comparability with the public network. They are not a competitor

It is reported that, at present, the leading technology of the private network is still 2G. Only some governments use 4G. Does it mean that the development of private network communications is relatively slow?

Our engineer says this is too general. For example, the users of a private network are industry users.

Although the evolution of private network technology if slower than the public network, and mainly use narrowband, general public network, such as 5G networks, have clear private network thinking. For example, edge computing introduced to reduce the delay of the network is delegate many control rights of the 5G network to the edge of the network. And the network structure is similar to a local area network, which is a typical private network design. And another example of 5G network slicing technology is mainly for different business applications, slicing network resources and the network structure entirely similar to an independent private network.

And due to the strong industry application characteristics of private network communications, it has continued to be widely used in government, public security, railways, transportation, electric power, emergency communications, etc… In this sense, private network communication and public network communication can’t make simple comparisons, and the view that the private network communications development slowly is worth discussing.

Indeed, most private networks still in a state of technology equivalent to the public network’s 2G or 3G level. The first is that the private network has distinctive characteristics of industrial application, such as public security, industry, and commerce. The particularity of the industry determines the high security, high stability, and low-cost requirements of private network communications limited the development speed. In addition, the private network is relatively small scale and highly dispersed, and the lower investment fee, so it is not difficult to understand that it is relatively backward.

3.The integration of public network and private network will be deepened under the support of 5G

At present, broadband multimedia services such as high-definition images, high-definition videos, and large-scale data transportation and application are becoming trends.

For example, in security, industrial Internet, and intelligent car connectivity, it has a significant advantage in using 5G technology to build a private network. In addition, 5G drones and 5G transport vehicles and other applications have improved the application range of private networks and enriched the private network. However, data transmission is only part of the industry’s needs. More important is to ensure the reliability of its critical communication capabilities to achieve effective command and dispatch. At this point, the technology advantage of traditional private networks is still irreplaceable. Therefore, no matter with 4G or with 5G construction of the private network, it is difficult to shake the status of the traditional network in the vertical industry in the short term.

The future private network technology is likely to be the traditional private network technology. However, the new generation of communication technology will complement each other and apply to different business scenarios. In addition, of course, with the popularization of LTE and the latest communication technology such as 5G, the possibility of unifying private and public networks will also increase.

In the future, the private network needs to introduce public network technology as much as possible and increase the demand for the private network. With the development of technology, broadband will become the direction of private network development. The 4G broadband development, especially 5G slicing technology, has also provided sufficient technical reserve for the broadband of private networks.

Many engineers believe that private networks still have vital requirements, which means that public networks cannot wholly replace private networks. In particular industries such as military, public security, finance, and transportation, the private network operating independently from the public network is usually used for information security and network management.

With the development of 5G, there will be deeper integration between the private network and the public network.

Kingtone has launched a new generation private network IBS solution based on the UHF/VHF/ TRTEA network, which has cooperated with many governments, security, and police departments and got good feedback from them.

Post time: Jul-14-2021