CW TEC 2018 - The inevitable automation of Next Generation Networks

Brought to you by CW (Cambridge Wireless)

The CW Technology & Engineering Conference 2018 explores the role of artificial intelligence in delivering Next Generation Network performance. Is automation no longer a nice-to-have but essential for operating the network?

About the event

Communications networks are perhaps the most complex machines on the planet. They use vast amounts of hardware, rely on complex software, and are physically distributed over land, underwater, and in orbit. They increasingly provide essential services that underpin almost every aspect of life. Managing networks and optimising their performance is a vast challenge, and will become many times harder with the advent of 5G. The 4th Annual CW Technology Conference will explore this challenge and how Machine Learning and AI may be applied to build more reliable, secure and better performing networks.

Is the AI community aware of the challenges facing network providers? Are the network operators and providers aware of how the very latest developments in AI may provide solutions? The conference will aim to bridge the gap between AI/ML and communications network communities, making each more aware of the nature and scale of the problems and the potential solutions.

This one day conference, held at the University of Cambridge Computer Lab on September 27th 2018, is aimed at data scientists and network engineers in universities, infrastructure suppliers, and software providers.

What is it that makes communications networks so hard to manage?

  • They use a wide range of technologies ranging from physical transmission through switching and networking to high-level applications and distributed computing.
  • Wireless access is becoming preferred both by human users and for machines, using local and wide-area networks including cellular and satellite and bandwidth from a few kilobits to gigabits per second.
  • Multiple systems have to interwork - multinational IP and cloud; national fixed and mobile networks; local networks at home; shared neutral host networks; fixed and wireless in-building networks; cellular networks with roaming.

But users naturally expect to all these to frictionlessly work together, all the time, and give a great experience. End to end services are expected to work irrespective of the networks that deliver them and require widely varying performance characteristics, from low-latency real-time control to high capacity data transmission. And all of it requires high levels of security. The move to virtualisation and integration of local and self-built networks is making the picture even more complex. Somehow network operators have to manage, control, configure, and maintain all of this.

Automation is therefore no longer a nice-to-have but essential for operating the network.

The move to distributed computing, and technologies around data collection, mining and management bring opportunities to solve these problems. How can machine learning and AI tools build more reliable, secure and better performing networks?

About the CW Technology & Engineering Conference

The annual CW TEC provides a vibrant and dynamic form for harnessing knowledge, driving lively debate and networking at a senior level. It offers a more low-level, technical and focused agenda than the International Conference, exploring an emerging problem space that the CW community has highlighted as being particularly worthy of debate. Past event topics have included quantum computing and the impact on spectral value of mobile, satellite, TV, IoT and wearable technologies. The conference format and agenda is driven by the CW membership and this year the organising committee includes Steve Unger, John Haine, Sylvia Lu, Paul Ceely, Phil Claridge and Zahid Ghadialy.

You can follow @CambWireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWTEC.

In collaboration with UK5G

The new 5G national innovation network

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Hosted by Digital Technology Group, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

We are one of the research groups within the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration and networking with refreshments


Welcome to the event

Welcome from CW (Cambridge Wireless)
Robert Driver, CEO, CW
Welcome from our host The Computer Labs
Dr Ian Wassell, Senior Lecturer, University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory


Scene setting / Intro to the day


General intro to the use of AI in networks

What practical techniques exist now, or are being developed, for the automation of complex systems? How can we apply these to the specific challenges associated with next generation networks?


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Refreshments and networking


Managing complexity in end-user devices

What types of new devices will be used with next generation networks? As these devices become more complex, what is the potential for simplifying their operation using embedded AI / ML?
• Dan Warren, Head of 5G Research, Samsung R&D Institute


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Lunch and networking


Improving end-to-end quality of service

What performance data do next generation networks generate? Can this be used to continuously optimize network performance? What improvement could this deliver over current network management techniques (SON etc)?
• Mansoor Hanif, UK5G Advisory Board Member, UK5G
• Dr Kim Larsen, CTIO, Magyar Telekom


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Security and privacy by design

How effectively can automated tools identify and mitigate cyber-attacks on networks? Can such tools identify vulnerabilities ahead of any attack? Can they provide greater protection of privacy - or do they create new risks for privacy?
• Dr Ben Azvine, Global Head of Security Research & Innovation, BT


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Refreshments and networking


Understanding network availability

What data is generated on network availability, either by the networks themselves, or crowd-sourced applications on devices? Can application of AI / ML to these datasets provide a better understanding of KPIs such as mobile coverage, network outages, broadband speeds?
• Iris Barcia, COO, Keima


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Open Forum


Closing remarks


Event close


Mansoor Hanif - UK5G Advisory Board Member, UK5G

Mansoor has 24 years experience of planning, building, optimising and operating mobile networks around the world.

In 2011 Mansoor joined EE as Director of Network Integration and LTE, accountable for the technical launch of 4G as well as the Integration of the 2G/3G Orange and T-Mobile networks. From 2013 he was Director of RAN, with responsibility for all of the EE radio access networks. Mansoor was a board member of MBNL (the joint venture of EE with H3G) until 2016.

At BT Mansoor was Director of the Converged Networks Research Lab from 2016 to 2018, and led deep and wide collaboration with UK Universities, innovators, and government bodies. He provided regular inputs to calls for evidence from the UK Government in relation to connectivity: ranging from 5G deployment pilots, rail connectivity and transport strategy to vertical industries.

Mansoor was closely involved in the foundation of several cross-industry initiatives to accelerate innovation with disruptive technologies: in the UK, he co-founded the Scottish Innovation Partnership, and also globally with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), founding the Europe’s 1st TIP ecosystem acceleration centre in the UK.

Mansoor is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the UK5G Innovation Network and a member of the UCL Electrical and Electronic Engineering Industry Advisory Board.


Mansoor is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the 5GUK Innovation Network, and the Satellite Applications Catapult and a member of the UCL Electrical and Electronic Engineering Industry Advisory Board.

Ben Azvine - Global Head of Security Research & Innovation, British Telecommunications

Ben is responsible for setting direction and strategy for Security research, identify innovation opportunities and lead a strong international team of researcher to develop new capabilities in collaboration with industrial and academic partners. Ben has 30 years’ experience in both academia and industry. His previous roles included leading the IT research centre and head of business intelligence & customer analytics research at BT Group Chief Technology Office. He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, an MSc in Control Engineering, a PhD in Intelligent Control Systems from Manchester University and an MBA from Imperial College, London. Having held research fellowship and lectureship posts in several universities, he joined BT in 1995 to lead a research programme to develop and exploit novel Artificial Intelligence technology to support next generation IT systems. Since then he has held senior, principal, chief research scientist posts at BT’s global R&D headquarters in Adastral Park, Ipswich where he is currently based. He has edited two books and published more than 100 scientific articles on novel application of intelligent systems. He is an inventor of 50 patent applications, has won 4 BCS and an IET gold medals for IT innovation, holds visiting professorship positions at the Universities of Bristol, Cranfield, Suffolk and Bournemouth. Ben is a current fellow of Institute of Telecom Engineers (FIET) and has acted as the chairman of the European network of excellence for Uncertainty management techniques from 1998 to 2001. His current research interests include the application Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Cyber security, protection of critical national infrastructure, data analysis and information & knowledge management. His current projects include Visual Analytics for Cyber defence, cloud & Internet security, machine learning and anomaly detection in network data and future identity and access management.

Iris Barcia - COO, Keima

Iris Barcia is Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of Keima, an innovative software company delivering disruptive wireless design solutions worldwide. Iris is an innovator and forward-looking technologist working with the executive teams and engineers at Tier 1 network operators, network infrastructure vendors, neutral-host vendors, government organizations, and international services companies. She has been involved in the proposal and assessment of novel HetNet strategies for nation-wide 4G, 5G, IoT and public-safety networks, with a focus on future capacity provision and multi-technology evolution. Prior to Keima Iris has worked on RAN design, optimization and deployment projects at Telefonica and European rural broadband wireless initiatives. She has a BSc and MSc in Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Vigo (Spain) and an MBA from Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK).

Yue Wang - Principal 5G Researcher, Samsung Research Institute UK

Yue Wang is a Principal 5G Researcher at Samsung Electronics R&D Institute UK. Over the past 10 years in her career, she has held various roles in the US and the UK, and has worked on a number of technical subjects in wireless communications research and standards. Her current interest is on the strategy and innovation of applying AI in communication networks. She leads the research activities of AI within the 5G team, is the Samsung delegate of ETSI ISG ENI (Experiential Networked Intelligence), and the Secretary and Rapporteur of ENI. She also sits in the Industry Advisory Board of two Universities, and is the industry supervisor of a 5-year research program, all on the area of AI in 5G and beyond.    

Event Location

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Location info

University of Cambridge - The Computer Laboratory, William Gates Building, 15 J J Thomson Ave, Cambridge CB3 0FD

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