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Deploying Private Mobile Networks on Azure

Introduction

The fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is upon us, ushering in a wave of new industrial applications that will transform the way businesses operate. Driven by improved processing power and connectivity, these applications collect and process data from across the organization to help businesses run more strategically and more efficiently. As enterprises scale, they need solutions that can handle these mission-critical workloads.

To meet these demands, modern enterprises need both private mobile networks and multi-access edge computing (MEC). Private LTE/5G networks give businesses the speed, security, mobility, and quality of service they need to process data efficiently, while edge compute supports latency-sensitive industrial applications, data localization, and data processing at the edge.

Private mobile networks, powered by 5G

While consumer-based offerings such as voice, text, data, and video will remain an integral part of the telco operator service portfolio, new enterprise-based offerings such as LTE/5G private networks, IoT applications, and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) experiences will drive unprecedented revenue opportunities for operators. Yet, to deliver these next-generation enterprise services, telco operators will need to look beyond the traditional telco network architecture to cloud and multi-access edge computing (MEC).

We believe that private mobile networks represent a strong use case for 5G enterprise services, as these capabilities will underpin the more sophisticated services, such as smart cities and Industry 4.0 applications. The demand for private enterprise networks is already here, as evidenced by the fact that 4G private networks are emerging in enterprises worldwide.

Benefits of private mobile networks

We see the demand for 5G private networks driven by several key benefits: low latency, deterministic access support, higher throughput, greater coverage, data localization/privacy, operational simplicity, backhaul savings, and legal and regulatory compliance improvements.

Path to private 5G networks

The architecture of 5G networks and, in particular, the separation of control plane and user plane, makes it possible to use an existing centralized mobile packet core to provide the control plane for private 5G networks while keeping user plane traffic local to the enterprise.

To take full advantage of the control offered by the network slicing features of 5G, operators and enterprises should take advantage of the programmability and disaggregation offered by 5G.