Luleå University of Technology is strengthening its collaboration with Telia by joining the NorthStar 5G innovation program launched by Telia and Ericsson in February.
The program gives the university access to a specially developed test network equipped with the very latest 5G technologies from Ericsson.
The goal of the NorthStar program is to accelerate the use of 5G in industry, with a particular focus on the development of smart and sustainable transport solutions. Luleå University of Technology will connect its existing 5G test bed to the innovation network, thereby gaining access to new technologies such as positioning, network slicing and edge computing, as Magnus Leonhardt, Head of Strategy and Innovation at Telia Sweden’s B2B business, explains.
“It feels extremely good to be able to welcome Luleå University of Technology to the NorthStar program,” Leonhardt says. “This is another big and important milestone in our collaboration, which is also important for the region. The massive investments that are now being made in industry and the green transition in Norrbotten and Västerbotten place great demands on robust and secure digital infrastructure. Here, 5G plays a key role, as it was developed for both industrial applications and socially critical services.”
Telia, Ericsson and Luleå University of Technology have collaborated closely on 5G for many years, having inaugurated the first joint test environment for 5G on the university’s campus in 2019. Since then, the trio has tested 5G applications in a number of different industries, ranging from mining to healthcare and, most recently, energy, as Karl Andersson, professor and dean at Luleå University of Technology, explains.
“Today, the test bed is used by both small and large companies to explore future services and applications,” Andersson says. “It also fulfills an important function for both research and collaboration at both the national and international level.”
Electrification is a crucial component of Sweden’s green transition. VISA/5G, a project that aims to explore and demonstrate how 5G can be used in smart electricity grids to optimize electricity supply and increase operational reliability, will take advantage of the new technological capabilities that the university’s 5G testbed now has access to through the NorthStar program. A collaboration between Luleå University of Technology, Telia, Vattenfall, Ericsson, Hitachi Energy, Metrum and IETV, VISA/5G runs from January 2023 through December 2025.
Currently, a handful of selected partners are participating in the NorthStar program, including AstaZero, a full-scale test environment for automated transport systems outside Gothenburg that is run by the RISE research institute.
Technically, the NorthStar innovation network consists of a new 5G core network that is integrated with Telia Sweden’s existing, public 5G network, which is being rapidly rolled out across the country and currently covers 75% of the population.
Partners can also build local networks at, for example, test sites or research facilities and connect them to the innovation network, regardless of where they are in Sweden.