LTE has great concepts like NAS that abstract the actual transport layers, so the NAS packet is generated by the UE and then read by the MME.
One thing that’s a real headache about private LTE is the authentication side of things. You’ll probably bash your head against a SIM programmer for some time.
As your probably know when connecting to a network, the UE shares it’s IMSI / TIMSI with the network, and the MME requests authentication information from the HSS using the Authentication Information Request over Diameter.
The HSS then returns a random value (RAND), expected result (XRES), authentication token (AUTN) and a KASME for generating further keys,
The RAND and AUTN values are sent to the UE, the USIM in the UE calculates the RES (result) and sends it back to the MME. If the RES value received by the MME is equal to the expected RES (XRES) then the subscriber is mutually authenticated.
Using this tool I was able to plug a USIM into my USIM reader, using the Diameter client built into PyHSS I was able to ask for Authentication vectors for a UE using the Authentication Information Request to the HSS and was sent back the Authentication Information Answer containing the RAND and AUTN values, as well as the XRES value.
Then I used the osmo-sim-auth app to query the RES and RAND values against the USIM.
The RES I got back matched the XRES, meaning the HSS and the USIM are in sync (SQNs match) and they mutually authenticated.
Handy little tool!