5G Campus Network – On-Prem or To Go?

12.07.2022 by Ümit Günes
Smart robot arms in a production plant

An on-premises campus network opens up enormous opportunities for enterprises, especially with the latency, bandwidth and reliability of 5G.

The trade fair operator Deutsche Messe holds a number of records. They include 1.5 million square meters of exhibition space in Hannover, nearly half a million of which is indoors, making it the world’s largest trade fair site. Its latest record is that it recently became Europe’s largest 5G trade fair campus, inaugurated when the 2022 Hannover Fair opened in May.

Trade Fair Site With a Twofold Network

Deutsche Telekom and its technology partner Ericsson jointly set up the campus network for nearly 50 buildings, including the trade fair halls, office buildings and two congress centers. To be precise, two networks now move data around in Hannover: a public 5G network for trade show visitors, customers and suppliers and a private 5G network for research, exhibitors and corporations. “The two networks are kept separate for security reasons,” says Kevin Toppel, a service technician with Telekom’s Hannover RAN Team (see video). “Data traffic here is entirely split apart. What the trade fair and its exhibitors do here in their network stays in their network and has nothing to do with Telekom’s public network.” The private network runs on industrial frequencies in the 3.7 GHz range secured from the Federal Network Agency. Telekom’s public 5G network runs separately in the 3.6 GHz range. So two times 100 MHz of bandwidth is available on the trade fair site.

This Smart 5G Venue in Hannover is an innovative multifunctional campus and a gigantic presentation and test area for industrial 5G applications of the future. “Trade fairs are a place for innovation and 5G is driving innovation in many application areas,” says Marcus Eibach, Head of IT & Services at Deutsche Messe AG. “With a private on-site campus network we aim to enable our customers to make these innovations in different industries and application areas tangible and come alive here.”

Mobile Robots and Automated Transportation Systems

This Adventure Park for Industry 4.0, as Deutsche Messe styles it on its website, provides inter alia the latency, bandwidth and reliability of 5G (see Info box) that many different industries and application areas require. And the Internet of Things (IoT) plays the decisive role, connecting production machines with each other via 5G, ensuring seamless monitoring of logistics supply chains and facilitating Smart City applications by means of sensor technology. “In production technology we will be seeing mobile robots,” Eibach says. “Another area is automated guided vehicles, or AGVs.” Automated guided vehicles transport production parts or products in factories and warehouses or on industrial sites independently and navigate autonomously thanks to technologies such as 5G and Precise Positioning.

The mechanical engineering company Arburg in Germany’s Black Forest region has a 5G campus network at its Lossburg headquarters where the injection molding machine manufacturer tests innovative applications for its own production and for autonomous transportation systems, industrial robots and automated production processes. At the Arburg Customer Center customers from plastics processing industries such as automotive, packaging or medical technology can test digital production concepts of their own.

5G in Siemensstadt

The opportunities that private 5G networks offer (see Info box) can now be seen in action by interested companies at the Werner von Siemens Center for Industry and Science, a future-oriented campus in Siemensstadt, Berlin. The Telekom campus network covers the site with 5G cell network technology both indoors and outdoors. Visitors can see for themselves how various autonomous vehicles and mobile robots move around swiftly and safely, how objects can be followed on-screen in real time and accurately to within a centimeter and how production processes can be optimized and accelerated by mans of technologies such as computer vision, augmented reality, artificial intelligence or edge computing.

What a 5G Campus Network Offers

  • High data rates
  • Low complexity
  • Maximum security
  • High reliability
  • Low energy requirement
  • High capacity
  • Low latency
  • High device density
  • Precise Positioning
  • Optimal mobility
  • In- and outdoor coverage


 

5G Network to Go

Reality comes even closer with the 5G Box To Go, a kind of mobile 5G campus network (see photo). A rack on wheels, it contains all the components needed to set up a private 5G network and can be installed in no time. This pre-configured, turnkey, non-binding, Try & Buy Telekom offer enables interested companies to test their IoT applications in a local 5G campus network on their own premises. The box covers an area of around 500 square meters and on an outdoor site if required.

What’s in the 5G Box To Go

  • 1 IRU (Indoor Radio Unit)
  • 2 network controllers
  • 1 baseband signal processing unit
  • 1 GNSS receiver (GPS antenna)
  • 4 radio dots (5G antennas)
  • 2 routers

The offer includes an individual workshop including advice on how the desired use case can best be implemented, plus network setup and commissioning. Telekom experts can also assist with the frequency application, API integration of the customer’s system and adapting the installation to the customer’s requirements. Via a VPN connection to the Telekom Cloud users have access to the solution’s management portal. There, on a dashboard, all active devices in the 5G network such as AGVs, cameras and machines or tablets and AR glasses can be mapped and monitored, data flows can be prioritized, rights and roles can be allocated and software updates can be carried out. With an optional writing device individual SIM cards can be configured for all connected devices.

If the test is successful the test setup can be installed as a regular 5G campus network, for which there are various options: from a basic network with enhanced 5G reception via a combination with a virtual private network or a core network with dedicated industrial frequencies to a purely private 5G mobile network.


 

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Ümit Günes
Ümit Günes

Marketing Manager IoT

Ümit has been working at T-Systems since 2015 and knows a great deal about many facets of the Internet of Things. He is particularly interested in topics related to the digitalization of the business world. For the blog, he reports on new developments and trends in the IoT world that offer real added value for customers.