Q: What is AWS Private 5G?
AWS Private 5G is a managed service that makes it easy to deploy, operate, and scale your own private mobile network with all the required hardware and software provided by AWS. From the AWS Management Console, you can specify where you want to build a mobile network and the network capacity needed for your devices. AWS then delivers and maintains the small-cell radio units, LTE/5G core and radio access network (RAN) software, and subscriber identity modules (SIM cards) required to set up a private mobile network and connect devices. AWS Private 5G automates the setup and deployment of the network and scales capacity on demand to support additional devices and increased network traffic. No upfront fees or per-device costs are incurred with AWS Private 5G. You pay only for the network capacity and throughput that you request.
Q: Which deployment options does AWS Private 5G support?
AWS Private 5G offers two deployment options: where the mobile network core is hosted in an AWS Region and where the mobile core is hosted on premises. The current release of the product supports only the configuration where the mobile network core is hosted in an AWS Region. This is a deployment where small-cell radio units are installed on your premises while your network control and data plane (core) are hosted in an AWS Region. It allows AWS Private 5G to automatically scale the core according to the network plan (that is, the number of radio units) that you are requesting on demand. This configuration meets the needs of customers whose applications are hosted in the cloud and want to route device traffic to downstream AWS services running in AWS Regions or to the internet.
Q: How can I get started with AWS Private 5G?
To get started with AWS Private 5G, place the order for a network by specifying the number of radio units and SIMs that you need based on your coverage needs and the number of devices you want to connect. You can place an order from the AWS Private 5G console. Then, when the hardware arrives at your location, attach power and internet connectivity to small-cell units, acknowledge the hardware receipt, and complete the small-cell registration process with the Spectrum Access System (SAS) service in the AWS Private 5G console.
Q: In which AWS Regions is the AWS Private 5G service available?
AWS Private 5G service is available in US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), and US West (Oregon) AWS Regions.
Q: In which countries are the AWS Private 5G hardware certified for use?
AWS Private 5G hardware is certified for use only in the US on CBRS spectrum and should not be taken out of the US.
Q. Are there restrictions on the number of sites or radio units that I can deploy with AWS Private 5G?
The current release of AWS Private 5G supports only an order of 1 small-cell radio unit and up-to 100 SIMs per network site. Support for additional small-cell radio units and a higher number of SIMs is coming soon. Like every AWS service, AWS Private 5G has service limits. To learn more, see the AWS service quota.
Q. Can AWS Private 5G be used with third-party LTE/5G network core or third-party small-cell radio units?
No, AWS Private 5G does not support third-party network core or small-cell radio units. To set up an AWS Private 5G network, you must order a network and receive hardware through the AWS Management Console or running AWS APIs.
Q. Does the service support both LTE and 5G?
The service supports LTE core and LTE radio units operating in the CBRS band, giving you the ability to connect your devices that support CBRS (LTE band 48) such as smartphones, tablets, Ethernet bridges, gateways, dongles, industrial CPE, and routers. However, AWS Private 5G is built using a 5G service-based architecture (SBA), where 3GPP decomposed the core into network functions. With the SBA architecture, you can derive the benefits of private mobile networks today and seamlessly shift to 5G in the future.
Q. What kind of use cases does AWS Private 5G support?
You can use AWS Private 5G to augment your existing wired or Wi-Fi local area networks (LAN) with a private mobile network for connecting handhelds, tablets, mobile devices, cameras, IoT sensors, or autonomous machines or vehicles within enterprise buildings and industrial environments. In many such environments, wired connectivity isn’t practical and is often cumbersome. Wi-Fi reaches its limits for large area coverage or reliable connectivity for moving devices, and public mobile connectivity might also leave dead zones due to outdoor base stations not providing radio signal attenuation through walls and windows. With AWS Private 5G, you can achieve reliable targeted indoor coverage and connect moving devices reliably and securely with private mobile technology.
Q. What are the benefits of private mobile networks over Wi-Fi?
Private mobile networks provide several benefits over Wi-Fi. First, private mobile networks run on licensed or shared spectrum that only the owner of that network can use compared to the unlicensed spectrum that Wi-Fi uses. Therefore, you do not have the same kinds of congested network issues that Wi-Fi can have, especially in public areas. Second, private mobile technology is built on the concept of a scheduler, which ensures that each device gets radio resources when it needs it. Having dedicated radio resources means that you can provide a higher quality of service to each device. Wi-Fi is contention-based, and it cannot provide the same granularity of quality of service (QoS). Third, private mobile is inherently more secure, because the radio interface between device and radio is encrypted, and the device uses a SIM for authentication.
Q. How many devices can one small-cell radio unit connect with?
It depends on a few factors, including the number of concurrent active connections that a single AWS Private 5G radio unit can support (which is 64), the data rate of your end devices, and other environmental factors. Practically, the number of end devices that a single radio unit can support will be determined by your application requirements. Based on our experience, one radio unit can support anywhere from 64 through 200 devices depending upon how frequently the end devices are active.
Q. Can I install the AWS Private 5G radio units outdoors?
Yes, AWS Private 5G radio units come in a rugged outdoor package and are IP67 rated so that they can be installed on an outdoor pole or wall. If installed outdoors, the radio unit antennas must be installed in accordance with the FCC's requirements.
Q. What bandwidth and latency speeds can I expect with AWS Private 5G?
A single AWS Private 5G radio unit can support up to two 20 MHz channels. The service can achieve up to 200 Mbps of bandwidth with a combination of downlink (up to 180 Mbps) for devices such as tablets, handhelds, scanners, printers, and uplink (up to 20 Mbps) for devices such as security cameras. Based on our experience, the realized bandwidth depends on factors such as the backhaul bandwidth (radio units require internet connection to the AWS Region) and grants from CBRS to the radio units (for example, in New York City, CBRS grants are limited to 10 MHz only). We typically observe a latency of 60–80 milliseconds, depending on the specified AWS Region. AWS Private 5G currently supports US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), and US West (Oregon) AWS Regions.
Q. Can I keep my data on premises with AWS Private 5G and build a lower-latency private 5G LAN?
The current release does not support this configuration. With the current release, all the device traffic will route to the network core hosted in an Availability Zone of your choice. From the Availability Zone, it will route to its destination, which can be an AWS service, to the internet, or back to your on-premises application. Future releases will support deployments in which you can choose to send data directly to your on-premises application. This type of deployment would help ensure that your data stays resident on your premises and can support lower-latency applications.
Installation and operation
Q: What do I need to provide?
To connect AWS Private 5G small-cell radio units with the AWS Region, at a minimum, you need to provide power to the radio unit (PoE), public internet access, and basic networking services, such as a pool of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses and a dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) server. To learn more, see the AWS Private 5G prerequisites documentation.
Q: How do I add devices to my network?
To add devices to your network, insert the SIM card into your device. AWS Private 5G will automatically recognize the SIM.
Q: Can I use my private mobile network when it’s not connected to the AWS Region or in a disconnected environment?
No. Current CBRS Spectrum Access System (SAS) renews the spectrum lease every four minutes. And the small-cell radio unit connection to the AWS Region is required for these periodic SAS lease renewals.
Q: How does AWS maintain the AWS Private 5G infrastructure?
AWS monitors all AWS Private 5G hardware from the parent AWS Region and will automatically run software upgrades and patches. AWS may replace a given hardware as appropriate. To learn more, see the AWS Private 5G Network Maintenance documentation.
Q: What type of AWS control plane information flows back to the parent AWS Region?
Information about the health and operational status of your infrastructure is sent back to the parent AWS Region. This information allows AWS to provide alerts based on the health and utilization of the core infrastructure. AWS can then apply patches and updates to the AWS Private 5G hardware. If the radio unit is disconnected, this information cannot be sent back to the parent Region.
Q: What kind of metrics can I see on my AWS Private 5G network?
AWS Private 5G provides a rich set of Amazon CloudWatch metrics for your network health managed through the AWS Management Console or the AWS Private 5G APIs. To learn more, see the AWS Private 5G metrics documentation.
Q: What spectrum does AWS Private 5G support?
AWS Private 5G uses the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Generally Authorized Access (GAA) spectrum tier in the US.
Q: Who manages spectrum allocation for CBRS?
Integration with the Spectrum Access System (SAS) provider is built into the service and managed by AWS on your behalf. AWS manages relationships with the SAS provider for spectrum allocation. Working with the SAS, AWS is responsible for troubleshooting your spectrum access or interference issues.
Q: How does the AWS Private 5G radio unit operate in the CBRS band?
When the hardware arrives at your location, you will activate the radio unit by registering it with the SAS by using AWS Private 5G provided APIs or the console. You must have a certified professional installer (CPI) certification from an approved organization to certify the location of the radio units. Certifications provide CPI credentials, which are required to receive spectrum grants. Without the CPI credentials, SAS cannot grant spectrum to the radio units. By using the AWS Private 5G API for radio-unit activation, you can input the CPI credentials and provide the geographic position of the radio unit, including latitude, longitude, and elevation. If installed outdoors, the radio unit antennas must be no higher than 6 meters above average terrain and installed in accordance with the FCC's requirements.
Q: Is it possible to relocate my AWS Private 5G network infrastructure from one location to another?
Yes. If you change the location of your radio units after the initial certification so that the location it reports to SAS is no longer accurate, you must have the radio unit certified again before operating in the new location. You must keep the radio unit within ±164 feet (50 meters) horizontal and ±10 feet (3 meters) of elevation of the location the radio unit reports. You are responsible for the accuracy of the locations that the radio units report to SAS.
Q: How is CBRS spectrum interference handled?
By default, AWS Private 5G provides access to the CBRS GAA tier. The GAA tier doesn’t guarantee interference protection. GAA spectrum quality is dependent on how many requests for spectrum there are in a given location. The SAS uses the same 10 MHz unit as in the CBRS Priority Access License (PAL) tier to apportion spectrum to GAA users. If there is no other user at that approximate location, the spectrum will not experience interference. GAA spectrum may become crowded in certain locations and AWS Private 5G will rely on the SAS to limit interference.
Q: How can I support my employees or users bringing their own CBRS compatible Android or iPhones and connecting them to the corporate AWS Private 5G network while on site?
In the current release, connecting to the AWS Private 5G network requires using the AWS Private 5G provided SIMs.
Q: Does AWS Private 5G support dual SIM or eSIM?
At this time, we do not currently support dual SIM or eSIMs. The SIMs we provide must be inserted into a CBRS LTE band48-compatible device for the device to be able to connect to your private mobile network.
Q: Does AWS Private 5G support roaming to a public carrier?
No. However, we are always working backwards from customer needs and will evolve the service based on customer demand.
Q: Where can I find devices that work with AWS Private 5G?
The number of devices that support LTE and 5G has steadily increased over the past several years. Start with the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Alliance, which developed the OnGo Certification Program with an up-to-date list of supported devices. AWS Private 5G also works with various devices that bridge between Wi-Fi and mobile networks, extending support to devices that do not natively support SIMs.
Q: Where can I get help for radio frequency planning or installation services for my AWS Private 5G network?
AWS Partners can provide radio frequency planning, installation services, and CPI certification for customers. These partners have been assessed on their capabilities and have been provided training on how to use and deploy the AWS Private 5G service. For a list of partners, see Getting Started.
Security and compliance
Q: Who is responsible for the physical security of the AWS Private 5G hardware at my location?
Operating a network on your premises is a shared responsibility. You are responsible for the physical security and access controls at your physical sites where AWS Private 5G is deployed as well as power, networking, and the environmental conditions of your physical sites. AWS is responsible for the hardware, software, and network functions required to operate the network. The service also monitors ongoing operations and makes any changes needed to maximize performance and availability. To learn more, see the AWS Private 5G Network Maintenance documentation.
Q: How do I cancel the service and return my radios and SIMs?
You can invoke a cancellation and return process either through the AWS Private 5G console or by calling the Delete action on the network site. A request for deletion will result in canceling the radio unit service, start a process for returning the hardware, and stop the radio unit billing.
Q. Do I get charged if I power down and don’t use the radios?
The radio units will be billed for a minimum of 60 days once you order them. After a minimum 60-day commitment, radio units are billed hourly until you delete the network site.