In the Port of Hamburg, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), Deutsche Telekom and Nokia have tested new features of the 5G standard with different applications.
From January 2018 to June 2019, the approximately 8,000-hectare site served as a test bed to prove that 5G can address the requirements for industrials. The field test as part of the EU project 5G-MoNArch in Hamburg has now been successfully completed.
The focus of the project in the Port of Hamburg was on the new technology concept “Network Slicing”. Under 5G, there will no longer be “one size fits all network” but multiple virtual networks running simultaneously on the same common infrastructure. The advantage: These networks, so-called slices, can have different characteristics tailored to meet the specific 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 real-world test environments helps to validate and improve the existing concepts. They are incorporated into the ongoing architectural development work for the 5G standard.
Three use-cases with different network requirements were tested in the port: On the one hand, the partners installed sensors on three ships from the HPA subsidiary Flotte Hamburg GmbH & Co. KG.
These sensors enable the real-time monitoring and analysis of motion and environmental data from large parts of the port area. Second example: The Port Road Management Center of the HPA remotely controls the traffic flows in the port of Hamburg via a traffic light connected to the mobile network. This should help, for example, to guide trucks faster and safer through the port area.
The third example tests high bandwidth availability: With the help of the new standard, 3D information is transmitted to an augmented reality application. The 3D glasses allow maintenance teams on site – for example on a construction site – to call up additional information such as building data or receive remote interactive support from an expert.
The goal of the project in the Port of Hamburg was clearly achieved: 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. That was very important to us right from the start,” says HPA project manager Hendrik Roreger. “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 currently 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,” says Antje Williams, Senior Vice President 5G Campus Networks 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”.
Christoph Schmelz, Nokia research project manager and coordinator of 5G-MoNArch adds: “The project in the Port of Hamburg serves as a blueprint for the industrial use of 5G technology. 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.”
The 5G test in the Port of Hamburg is part of the two-year research project “5G-MoNArch” (5G Mobile Network Architecture for diverse services, use cases, and applications in 5G and beyond). The goal of 5G-MoNArch 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 European Union’s Horizon 2020 research framework program is funding 5G-MoNArch as a Phase II project of the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership.