We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Vodafone Builds a Portable 5G Network Using a Raspberry Pi

The Vodafone prototype 5G MPN on a white background.

Vodafone is showing off a “prototype” Mobile Private Network device that runs on a Raspberry Pi 4 computer and a Lime SDR XTRX board. The company believes that it could be a low-cost solution for businesses or individuals who want a private cellular network.

A Mobile Private Network (MPN) is exactly what it sounds like—private and portable internet based on mobile 4G or 5G connectivity. Vodafone’s prototype is basically an internet router, but it allows you to build an independent 5G network with reserved coverage. In a business environment, this is a secure and reliable alternative to Wi-Fi.

But Vodafone believes that MPNs should be utilized in homes, not just businesses. It’s an interesting theory; instead of using a VPN to safely access a restaurant’s Wi-Fi, you could simply use an MPN. Or, if a certain part of your home has terrible cellular coverage, you could use this device as a range extender for the public 5G network.

To be clear, the average business doesn’t need a private cellular network. It’s the kinda thing that makes more sense in an extremely large building or campus. So, the idea that this technology will be useful to consumers is probably a stretch—although I’m sure that tinkerers and techies are interested. (After all, anyone can build this thing using a Pi 4 and a Lime SDR XTRX board.)

We’re not sure why Vodaphone is showing off this prototype instead of a finished product. But the company seems excited by this idea, and it’s searching for partners who are interested in what could be a growing MPN market.

Source: Vodafone via Light Reading

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »