Hybrid Networks – The Challenges of Combining Public and Private Cellular Networks

Blog published by Cambridge Wireless

Read Julie Bradford's blog all about the upcoming Virtual Networks SIG event!

Over our last two events, the CW Virtual Networks SIG has been looking at two different approaches to delivering guaranteed service levels on cellular networks. 

First we looked at private networks which have been enjoying a huge rise in popularity, aided by the release of shared access spectrum in many countries. These are very good at providing highly reliable, secure and self-contained wireless connectivity over a specific area. However, scaling these up to cover large areas can be costly and so for our second event we looked at network slicing.

Ideally, network slicing provides the opportunity to deliver private network like experience from existing public network infrastructure. Potential benefits include for:

  • New higher value revenue streams for mobile network operators from non-consumer user groups with bespoke service requirements.
  • Infrastructure cost savings by reusing existing public network infrastructure as a baseline to build upon rather than deploying separate bespoke networks for new services.

At our event in London in November, speakers from both Virgin Media O2 and BT gave an update on their roadmaps for getting the crucial element of the 5G SA core into their networks and plans towards slicing. It was also encouraging to hear from Tarek El-Basyouny of Mavenir about the adoption of their 5G SA core by Deutsche Telekom in Germany, enabling a trial of slicing for live video content production with RTL, one of the German broadcasters. 

Since this event, we have seen another major milestone in the UK for slicing, with Vodafone creating a 5G network slice in their network to support ITN’s coverage of the King’s Coronation. Interestingly, the BBC tackled a similar problem at the same event but using a private network in shared access spectrum. 

But does it always have to be a case of private networks versus slicing over public cellular networks and a debate about the pros and cons of one versus the other? Or is there a potential for both techniques to be deployed together and give the best of both worlds?

Well this is actually the question that our panel discussion converged on at the end of our November event and it has meant that quite a few members of the audience were left asking, what about hybrid networks?

In response to this, I am very pleased to say that our next CW Virtual Networks SIG event will be “Hybrid networks – the challenges of combining public and private cellular networks”. This event is very kindly being hosted by BT at Adastral Park and we look forward to hearing from a fantastic line up of speakers which includes a mix of MNOs, equipment vendors and neutral hosts to explore this topic from the different perspectives. These include:

I will be moderating the morning sessions with my fellow Virtual Networks SIG champion Andrew Palmer taking the lead in the afternoon.

You can register to join at: https://www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/events/hybrid-networks-the-challenges-of-combining-public/

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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