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“This result is great news for many of the different vertical industries we are working with.”
Pål Grønsund, Senior Research Scientist at Telenor Research, points at a picture of a measuring device that displays the number “1”.
“1 gigabyte per second. That’s the uploading speed we managed to reach during an experiment at a 5G test site in 5G-VINNI. For industries that require high uplink speeds, this is nothing less but sensational compared to today’s standards.”
“Major competitive advantage”
The experiment conducted by Grønsund and his team is part of a vast series of 5G projects that are run by the participants of the pan-European 5G-VINNI project. The project’s objective is to accelerate the uptake of 5G in Europe by providing an end-to-end facility (E2E). The E2E consists of several interconnected test facility sites spread across the continent that lowers the entry barrier for vertical industries to pilot 5G technology use cases. 5G-VINNI officially began running in 2018, and Telenor Group is coordinating the project.
“There is much to gain from performing experiments at these sites, as the current technology standard at these localities is still a year or more away from being rolled out commercially. Validating concepts early can give businesses a major competitive advantage,” says Patrick Waldemar, Vice President and Head of Technology in Telenor Research.
A slice of 5G all to yourself
Businesses are not the only ones discovering the 5G advance. This technology’s massive speeds and scale potential has captured the interest of the governments as well. For example, the Norwegian Armed Forces is currently conducting tests with 5G-VINNI in Norway at Fornebu.
“The participation in 5G-VINNI is giving us deep and very useful information about the possibilities in 5G technology. Currently, we are looking into the possibility of how we can run important applications in our dedicated Defence Network Slice in a remote Edge Computer. Our goal is to create local autonomy for important services like voice and messaging in an area covered by 5G and an Edge Computer. The testing gives us a unique opportunity to explore the potential of 5G and how to overcome possible hurdles,” says Kennet Nomeland, Radio System Architect at Norwegian Defence Material Agency.
One such hurdle could be network disturbance.
“5G is designed to support and serve billions of devices and diverse use cases through one common network. If too many devices connect to the same physical network at the same time, you could experience disturbance. This is where network slicing comes in handy,” Grønsund explains.
Network slicing refers to the process of creating multiple logical networks over the same physical platform. One of the great benefits of slicing is that all slices can function separately without affecting or being affected by the other slice’s traffic.
“For first responders, like the police, paramedics, firefighters, and the army, a reliable network is extremely important. Some of the functions that we validate with them are the network’s ability to create a fully isolated slice that’s not connected to the internet. Other tests include validation of equipping the slice with End-to-End encryption, providing it with a seamless fixed mobile convergence, and giving the slice priority when required,” says Grønsund.
New phase, new objectives
Although the current experimentation focus in Norway is with the military use case, other cases such as fish farming with video analytics, colon cancer detection, and factory of the future, with automation, are also being tested at the facility site.
“Similarly, there are advanced use cases in other sites such as in the UK, where the experimentation currently is focused on health care, industry 4.0 and multimedia broadcasting,” says Grønsund.
Having recently entered a new stage, new objectives for the 5G-VINNI project to pursue have also emerged.
“Our focus areas include implementing StandAlone 5G architecture, as this will realise efficient and real 5G network slicing. Another is implementing end-to-end automation to achieve zero-touch management and operations, which is key when delivering differentiated services to various vertical industries. Much of the time going forward will be dedicated to cooperating with the vertical industries to design, implement and test their use cases,” says Grønsund.
5G-VINNI is scheduled to run until 1 July 2021 and has a budget of EURO 20 million. It’s funded by Horizon 2020, the EU’s biggest research and innovation programme.
The 5G-VINNI’s main facility sites are located in the lager Oslo area and Kongsberg in Norway, Martlesham in the UK, Madrid in Spain and Patras in Greece. Its experimentation facility sites, which provide environments for advanced focused experimentation and testing possibilities on elements and combinations of elements of the E2E model, are located in Aveiro in Portugal and in Berlin and Munich in Germany. 5G-VINNI also has a moving experimentation facility site, which is a satellite-connected rapid response vehicle.
The consortium of 5G-VINNI consist of 23 different partners, including Telenor Group (Telenor Research, Telenor Norway and Telenor Satellite), British Telecom (UK), Telefonica (Spain), SES (Lux), Huawei (Norway and Germany), Ericsson (Norway), Nokia (Norway), Samsung (UK), Intracom (Greece), Keysight (Denmark), Cisco (Norway), Alticelabs (Portugal), Engineering (Italy), AUEB (Greece), UC2M (Spain), Simula (Norway), Uni. Patras (Greece), Fraunhofer FOKUS (Germany), EANTC (Germany), Limemicro (UK), SRS (IR), and Eurescom (Germany).
The journey so far: Telenor’s 5G milestones
- July 4, 2018: Telenor Group is to coordinate the 5G Verticals INNovation Infrastructure (5G-VINNI) initiative, an EU-led project to accelerate the uptake of 5G across Europe
- November 8, 2018: Telenor Norway opens Scandinavia’s first 5G pilot in Kongsberg
- February 25, 2019: Telenor and Nokia begin testing 5G capabilities in Denmark
- February 26, 2019: Telenor Norway announces that it will establish a 5G pilot at Elverum and other locations
- March 27, 2019: Telenor Norway announces that Trondheim will be the first major city to get 5G
- May 27, 2019: Digi and ZTE sign MoU to explore 5G technology in Malaysia
- May 31, 2019: dtac teams up with state telecom agencies TOT and CAT Telecom to test 5G wireless broadband technology
- July 10, 2019: Telenor Norway announces that Askvoll will be its next 5G pilot
- September 9, 2019: dtac launches 5G testbed at its internal Never Stop Café
- September 17, 2019: Telenor opens a 5G base station at its headquarters in Oslo
- September 19, 2019: Telenor’s Malaysian operator, Digi, partners with Cyberview on 5G OpenLab at Cyberjaya
- September 26, 2019: Telenor launches Scandinavia’s largest 5G pilot in Elverum in addition to announcing pilots in nine further locations in the country. Telenor conducts Norway’s first video call over 5G
- October 20, 2019: Telenor launches the world’s northernmost 5G pilot on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard
- December 2019: 5G-VINNI’s test sites open up for end user testing
- December 13, 2019: Telenor selects Ericsson as its 5G radio access network vendor
Stian Kristoffer Sande, Communication Advisor, Telenor Group Communications
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