18 May 2022

Private Networks must be demystified for UK businesses to reap the rewards

From healthcare to hospitality, wind farms to warehouses, education to manufacturing, private networks are delivering the fast, secure, and efficient connectivity that organisations need. 

In practice, private networks in their various guises have been around for several years. The difference now is that, enabled by advances in technology, they offer much richer experiences. 

While technology is important – be it Wi-Fi, 4G or 5G - ultimately it is the business outcomes that drive private network deployment, not the other way around.   

Enterprises that first identify the problem to be solved, then turn to the technology to resolve the challenge, achieve better outcomes. 

New enablers such as 5G, IoT and data analytics are acting as accelerants at a time where organisations are adapting to cater for new customer needs, increased efficiency and decarbonising. 

BAI Communications (BAI) - a neutral host company that designs and deploys shared systems to a variety of connected transport systems, connected venues and connected places - provides two real-life examples of private networks designed in the UK, which include Sunderland Smart City and an offshore wind farm in Scotland.  

In collaboration with the Sunderland City Council, BAI is building a 5G private network for use in the city centre. The core network will provide a 5G and IoT accelerator for the city, as well as providing capability for enterprises such as the education sector and manufacturing verticals.

Vilicom, a BAI company, is an expert in deploying state of the art wireless solutions in complex and challenging environments. One such deployment is a private 5G LTE network for the Moray East offshore wind farm in Scotland. The wind farm covers an area of 295km2, comprising of 100 offshore wind turbine generators that will provide approximately 40% of the total electricity demand in Scotland, and power 950,00 homes in the UK.  

Public cellular was not possible for this project, due to the offshore location and satellite deemed not cost effective for this application. In addition, the client had stringent requirements for latency and jitter. Therefore, a design was developed for a bespoke private LTE/5G ready private network to provide reliable connectivity over this large area, using Vilicom’s ‘GIGAWAVE’ solution. The network was deployed using a cloud-based network with virtualised open RAN technology. 

Navigating these new solutions is often daunting for a business or organisation. This is why, as part of my role as Chair of techUK’s Communications Infrastructure and Services Council, I fully support techUK’s new Private Networks white paper which acts as a practical guide to the choices presented, demystifying the technology to allow successful implementation for organisations within the UK.  

Private Networks User Guides & podcast

Private networks: a new user guide by techUK

Our #techUKPrivateNetworks campaign week celebrated the publication of a new user guide techUK has produced, to help prospective private networks customers, across enterprise and the public sector, understand the key benefits of adopting advanced connectivity in their organisations. The guide helps users as they formulate a business case for investing in enhanced private networks, and the key success factors. We also shine a spotlight on several case studies. 

Private networks: a techUK user guide

Gain a clear understanding of the benefits of adopting private network technology for your business with this techUK user guide.

Download for free

Private network ecosystem: Management model - A new techUK guide

techUK's Advanced Communications Services Working Group created a new guide for organisations considering building out services using 5G networking technology entitled 'Private network ecosystem: Management model'

It introduces and describes the principles of neutral hosts, and then goes on to describe the architecture and ecosystem which supports the provision of shared services, particularly in the context of high capacity/low latency applications, which will drive 5G deployment. While this paper is focussed on 5G, many of the principles of neutral hosts, and the discussion of edge versus core provision will apply to other technologies such as Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi 6.

Private network ecosystem: Management model

A technical guide by techUK for users of private networks, outlining how the ecosystem is managed. It outlines the architecture of edge native applications in the architecture of the ecosystem, the value chain and operating models, resilience, operations, and the role of Neutral Hosts. 

Download for free


The techUK podcast: Making the case for Private Networks

In this episode of the techUK podcast, we explore the topic of private networks for enterprise, specifically, how we can accelerate the deployment of private networks from beyond the testbed phase and drive adoption across industry and the public sector.  

The episode covers the key challenges for enterprise customers that the telecoms sector can address with advanced connectivity services, including 5G and Wi-Fi 6, and how we, the supplier base, can effectively deliver on the benefits of private networks. 

Sophie James, Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy at techUK, joins a conversation with Simon Parry, CTO at Nokia EnterpriseCatherine Gull, Consultant at Cellnex and Dez O’Connor, Senior Manager at Cisco. Sophie also catches up with Mike Kennett, Senior Consultant & Head of Regulatory Affairs at Freshwave



Guest blog by Andrew Conway, Director of Solutions and Innovation, BAI Communications UK and Chair of techUK's Communications Infrastructure and Services Council. Follow BAI Communications on Twitter and LinkedIn

To read more from the Future Private Networks campaign week check out our landing page here.