The multitude of names when referring to private networks is creating confusion among vertical industries, often leaving them perplexed as they attempt to figure out the distinctions between these terms, despite them meaning the same thing.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet” declares Juliet in Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet. The same is probably true for Private Mobile Networks. We have moved on from referring to them as Private Cellular Networks (PCN) and Dedicated Cellular Networks (DCN). The most popular way to refer to them nowadays is probably Mobile Private Networks (MPN). While Private Mobile Networks (PMN) is also often used, it can be easily confused with Public Mobile Networks or Public Networks for short.
Depending on the mobile technology generation, Private Networks are also referred to as Private 4G/LTE (P-LTE) and Private 5G (P5G) Networks.
P5G Networks are also often referred to by their use cases. Examples of this include ‘Enterprise 5G’ when used in enterprises, ‘Industrial 5G’ whereby the private 5G network has been designed with Industrial IoT (IIoT) use cases in mind, and Factory 5G, which is similar to Industrial 5G, but with Industry 4.0 and other industrial-centric features and deployment options in mind.
3GPP, the organization responsible for creating 3G, 4G and 5G mobile technology specifications, refers to a private 5G network as a ‘Non-Public Network’ (NPN). There is further sub-classification as ‘Standalone NPN’ (SNPN) and, ‘Public Network Integrated NPN’ (PNI-NPN).
Organizations that are used to private Wi-Fi networks, wherein the user is redirected to a captive portal and has to enter either login credentials, passcode or just accept T&Cs to be allowed to browse, also refer to private networks as ‘Captive Network’ or ‘Captive Private Network’.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in India refers to private networks as Captive Non-Public Network (CNPN) and describes them as a, “terrestrial wireless telecommunication network established for captive use within a specified geographical area”.
Private 5G Networks are referred to as ‘Local 5G’ in Japan. The Japanese government has also setup ‘Local 5G Promotion Public-Private Coordination Committee’ to increase awareness and accelerate private 5G network deployments in Japan.
Another name for private networks is Campus Networks, which can be 4G or 5G private networks deployed within a limited geographic area, such as a corporate campus, a hospital, or a factory. They can cover a small indoor area that is a few hundred square meters all the way up to an outdoor area which is a few square kilometers.
Our recent video, embedded below, discusses this topic in slightly more detail. Do check it out.