Satellite network operator Intelsat has successfully demonstrated a private cellular network running on its network infrastructure and Microsoft Azure. The demonstration will be used as a reference architecture for the deployment of private LTE, 5G networks and other cloud services over satellite connections globally.
This private cellular network was described as “one of a kind”, and combines Microsoft Azure Private Multi-Access Edge Compute and FlexEnterprise, Intelsat’s satellite-based global connectivity service.
The demonstration, held at Intelsat’s McLean, Virginia office, showcased how customers can create a private LTE service using Azure Private 5G Core deployed on an Azure Stack Edge device, with Intelsat’s FlexiEnterprise facilitating the connection between satellite internet and Microsoft Azure. Users can then access local or remote resources through SIM-authenticated connections. The LTE network can also be fed through a Wi-Fi access point and IoT applications.
“At Microsoft, we are committed to enabling an ecosystem of satellite operators through collaborations such as this one with Intelsat. As the world continues to move to 5G, Microsoft’s Azure Orbital platform, together with our Azure hyper-scale computing platform, allows operators to deploy and maintain faster, easier, and more cost-effective solutions anytime and anywhere,” said Tom Keane, corporate vice president, Microsoft Mission Engineering.
A private cellular network gives the operating organization granular control over the network’s security, performance, and coverage than commercial providers. It’s ideal for security-sensitive settings such as academia, government, and healthcare and manufacturing. Through it, the operator can deploy its own towers to where it needs coverage, and easily segment the network based on compliance requirements.