Private 5G networking is on the rise. In fact, Analysys Mason forecasts that global spending on private 5G networks will reach $7.7 billion USD by 2027 with two-thirds of the world’s private networks using 5G. Why? The emergence of edge computing in recent years coupled with macroeconomic trends are pushing service providers to rethink the way they operate networks and enable applications for faster results, improved connectivity and efficiency. From new use cases in Industry 4.0 manufacturing to smart infrastructure to the cloudification of radio access networks (RAN), service providers want the flexibility and autonomy offered by private 5G networks to embrace new innovations.
For service providers, private 5G networks offer an opportunity to play a more leading role within an enterprise’s critical business operations providing a platform that hosts the private network in addition to business applications that can run at the edge. This reduces the footprint, increases flexibility and manageability of the network while lowering the total cost of ownership.
Standardising on an open platform for private 5G
The core pillars of a private 5G network are control, coverage, capacity and autonomy. In other words - the ability to control the devices and capabilities within the network, extend service coverage across remote locations, permit high-capacity bandwidth for applications, and operate independently from public networks for added security and resilience.
At Red Hat, we believe that the key to unlocking each of these pillars is a common cloud-native platform that can enable service providers to build solutions on standardised components to support current network requirements as well as future innovations.
To meet requirements for private 5G networks and applications, Red Hat OpenShift includes a low latency kernel, performance features optimisation, and a fast-data path on a platform that can scale from one to multiple nodes to provide consistent performance across multiple deployment scenarios on a hybrid cloud. Red Hat Openshift is the common platform to deliver flexibility addressing 5G connectivity and edge workloads for industrial applications, allowing service providers to offer much more than spectrum allocation for private 5G networks.
Delivering added value through a skilled ecosystem
Red Hat OpenShift comes with an ecosystem of skilled and certified partners that offer networking and operational capabilities used for applications, managed together on the same platform. To enable private 5G solutions, Red Hat collaborated with Airspan to validate Airspan’s cloud-native network functions (CNFs) on Red Hat OpenShift for interoperability and lifecycle management.
As part of this collaboration for private 5G, we have deployed a disaggregated radio access network (RAN) in Red Hat’s 5G telco lab facility in Boston using Airspan small cells and cloud-native radio access software, together with Druid Raemis for the private enterprise core, to demonstrate an end-to-end private 5G network.
The cloud-native infrastructure based on Red Hat OpenShift was deployed with zero-touch provisioning, including Airspan Control Platform (ACP) and RAN Software for Airspan distributed unit (DU) and central unit (CU), vendor validated CNFs for Red Hat OpenShift. In addition, Red Hat OpenShift offers features such as low latency kernels, time synchronisation, and SR-IOV for greater efficiency and improved connectivity. The physical infrastructure was built leveraging 3rd Gen Intel Xeon® Scalable processors, Intel vRAN Accelerator ACC100 Adapter, Intel Ethernet Controller E810 and components of Intel’s FlexRAN™ Reference Architecture for Wireless Access.
Additionally, Red Hat has worked with other partners and customers such as Casa Systems, Intel and Telenor Sweden that offer the added networking and operational capabilities used for applications, managed together on the same platform. This can be deployed in a number of different architectures, extending the capabilities of a given private 5G network wherever it needs to go.