Home5G & BeyondAmazon's fast 5G solution moves at speed of evolution

    Amazon’s fast 5G solution moves at speed of evolution


    The blurb said hot but the small print said not

    The promise of a commercially availability Private 5G service excited many fans of hyperscaler Amazon Web Services back in November. But last week, as AWS began dropping details of its new offering, many of its devotees were disappointed with the results. 

    “Read the small print – it’s not actually 5G,” said The Stack.

    This appeared to be in marked contrast to a press release on August 11 which heralded “the general availability of AWS Private 5G, a managed service that helps enterprises set up private mobile networks in their facilities in days instead of months.” The vendor promised long range coverage, indoors and out, and micro-managed access control over a network that uses the citizen’s band radio spectrum (CBRS) and AWS-managed infrastructure to create a walled garden.

    In truth, the system is only available in 4G mode now with 5G as a future ‘capability’. Instead of setting up networks for their employers at the speed of innovation, as promised, anxious network managers are more likely to disappoint their bosses and stakeholders. When the ‘instant’ private network is delivered at the pace of long term evolution, network heads could roll.

    In a blog, the ‘chief evangelist’ for AWS, Jeff Barr, claimed that the hyperscaler is delivering a ‘cool new service’ that lets customers design and ‘deploy’ their own private mobile network ‘in a matter of days’.

    “It is easy to install, operate and scale and does not require any specialised expertise. You can use the network to communicate with the sensors and actuators in your smart factory, or to provide better connectivity for handheld devices, scanners, and tablets for process automation,” said Barr’s blog. 

    There are no upfront fees or per-device costs, it claimed. The customer is charged at an hourly rated based on the number of active radio units on premise. A starter package includes a radio unit and ten SIM cards. The radio unit requires AC power and wired access to the public Internet, along with basic networking (IPv4 and DHCP).

    However, the sharp-eyed correspondent at The Stack spotted many anomalies in the delivery of the service. The hyperscaler plans to offer two versions of the managed service: one where the mobile network core is hosted in an AWS Region and one where the mobile core is hosted on premises. The current limited release of the product only supports the former option, AWS noted in its frequently asked question section.

    More caveats came from chief evangeliser Jeff Barr (The Stack noticed): “… the cloud–based deployment option, which is designed for testing and evaluation purposes, for time-limited deployments, and for deployments that do not use the network in latency-sensitive ways. With this option, the AWS Private 5G Mobile Core runs within a specific AWS Region. We are also working to enable on-premises hosting of the Mobile Core on a Private 5G compute appliance.”