Deutsche Telekom and Nokia test 5G slicing in Hamburg port
June 18, 2019
Deutsche Telekom and Nokia have been using 5G communications to test applications that could improve the efficiency of the port of Hamburg using network slicing.
Working with the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), they tested features of the 5G standard with different applications. For the first six months of this year, the approximately 8000-hectare site served as a test bed to prove that 5G can address industrial requirements. The field tests are part of the EU 5G-Monarch project and have now been completed.
The focus of the project in the port of Hamburg was on network slicing. Under 5G, there will no longer be one-size-fits-all networks but multiple virtual networks running simultaneously on the same common infrastructure. These networks, or slices, can have different characteristics tailored to meet the requirements of a particular application or user group.
One example is a rapidly instantiated priority circuit for emergency services in the port area during a storm surge.
The experience gained from the implementation of 5G network slicing in a real-world test environments helps validate and improve the existing concepts. They are incorporated into the on-going architectural development work for the 5G standard.
Three use-cases with different network requirements were tested in the port. In the first, the partners installed sensors on three ships from the HPA subsidiary Flotte Hamburg. These sensors enable the real-time monitoring and analysis of motion and environmental data from large parts of the port area.
In the second example, HPA’s port road management centre remotely controlled the traffic flows in the port via traffic lights connected to the mobile network. This should help, for example, guide lorries faster and safer through the port area.
The third example tested high bandwidth availability. With the help of the standard, 3D information was transmitted to an augmented reality application. The 3D glasses allowed maintenance teams on site to call up additional information such as building data or receive remote interactive support from an expert.
The project partners were able to demonstrate that complex industrial applications with diverging requirements can reliably work over a common physical infrastructure.
"We have gained valuable experience, which we have also shared with the port industry and other partners at several events," said HPA project manager Hendrik Roreger. “That was very important to us right from the start. Thanks to the experience gained, we now have a clear technological advantage in the port of Hamburg. When 5G officially starts, we would be ready to implement even complex applications here."
Future 5G coverage in the port would be provided by the mobile network operators. The HPA is planning to deepen its experience and knowledge with 5G in further projects.
"The test field in the port of Hamburg is extremely valuable for us to gain practical experience with 5G," said Antje Williams, senior vice president at Deutsche Telekom. "The research project has shown that with 5G we can best adapt our network to the customer's requirements. 5G is the intelligent network of the future. Industry and the logistics sector in particular will benefit from 5G as a strong lever for a variety of applications."
The 5G test in Hamburg is part of the two-year research project 5G-Monarch, an acronym for 5G mobile network architecture for diverse services, use cases and applications in 5G and beyond. The goal is to implement concepts for 5G mobile communications architecture in practice. While the test field in Hamburg focuses on the integration of 5G into traffic and infrastructure control, a second test field of the project in Turin deals with multimedia applications. The EU's Horizon 2020 research framework programme is funding 5G-Monarch as a phase II project of the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership.
"The project in the port of Hamburg serves as a blueprint for the industrial use of 5G technology,” said Christoph Schmelz, Nokia research project manager and coordinator of 5G-Monarch. “We were able to show in a real-world environment that mobile networks can be quickly and flexibly adapted to the needs of industrial users thanks to network slicing. Nokia is at the forefront of 5G, providing end-to-end 5G solutions across all markets without region limits, and has pioneered this together with Deutsche Telekom and the Hamburg Port Authority. 5G will become critical infrastructure and change industries as we know them, and Nokia’s expertise in dedicated networks can bring real 5G and growth opportunities for Industry 4.0."