16 May 2022

The UK’s first shared spectrum mobile private network with small cells

Freshwave delivers the UK’s first shared spectrum mobile private network with small cells 

And now has systems deployed and under management in several holiday parks across the UK 

What was the problem? 

Staycations are more popular than they’ve ever been. But if you’ve ever tried to use the Wi-Fi in a busy holiday park, you’ll be familiar with buffering, slow download speeds and dropped connections. This causes frustrations for guests and a headache for the park operator. 

With 67% of travelers saying quality Wi-Fi is a deciding factor when choosing where to holiday, connectivity is not just a nice-to-have for operators in this sector. People expect to be able to access the same services they do at home, such as social media and streaming.  

So when telecoms reseller Online Systems asked us if we could devise a better way of approaching the connectivity challenges faced at a park they’d worked with for many years, we were only too happy to help. The park has around 250 lodges and can welcome over 1,000 guests at any one time. With each guest typically having multiple devices, there’s a lot of capacity needed. 

How did we solve it? 

In 2019 in a first for the UK, Vodafone agreed to share some of its spectrum with us to help offer high-speed mobile broadband in remote areas without fibre connectivity, as well as to promote efficient use of its spectrum.

Using this spectrum (2600MHz frequency) and small cell technology, we developed the idea of deploying a mobile private network at the site, which has now been operational since August 2020. Outdoor small cell technology brings 4G data speeds to each lodge in the park via a small antenna on each lodge. A standard 4G router then distributes the signal internally via Wi-Fi. Operational services, such as sales, maintenance and housekeeping are also able to use the network park-wide.

Using a mobile private network means both guests and park staff enjoy a more robust and stable connection. With less infrastructure to install (as 4G has a greater range than Wi-Fi, especially with trees) costs are lowered and so are risks of encountering unmarked gas, water, electricity, foul water etc. Less excavation also means less disturbance for guests and minimal health and safety risks. The private network gives complete control of coverage, capacity, data and devices, as each router or other device must use a SIM registered to the network.

The solution includes a managed service with 24x7 monitoring of the small cells and core via our network operations centre.

What were the results? 

Daily monitoring of data usage at the park shows well over 1000 GB download and 200 GB upload on a busy day. The park owners are very happy and we’ve installed the same technology at several other parks, with more being designed or built. We’ve also won industry awards for this approach.  

Get in touch: If you’re looking to solve a complex local connectivity issue and are wondering if a mobile private network might be what you need, please contact [email protected] or visit freshwavegroup.com.  

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

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