Vodafone, Coventry University Develop 5G SA Media Innovation Lab

Vodafone, Coventry University Develop 5G SA Media Innovation Lab

Vodafone and Coventry University have collaborated to open the UK’s first 5G Standalone (5G SA) Media Innovation Lab in Coventry.

Broadcasters and other media companies, as well as the software development community, will be invited to the lab to develop 5G use cases for the media industry, working alongside Vodafone engineers and Coventry University academics.

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The next generation connectivity environment will be powered by a 5G SA network. Originally deployed in 2020 to enable healthcare students to take immersive, real-time AR and VR tours of the human body, Vodafone and Coventry University will now expand the remit of the 5G SA network to support digital transformation and 5G adoption within the media industry.

5G Standalone: Unlocking the true power of digital
Andrea Dona, Vodafone’s UK Chief Network Officer, explains the thinking behind Vodafone’s 5G Standalone trial – testing a new technology that promises much higher speeds, lower latency, with better reliability and security.
The 5G Standalone environment will offer lightning-fast download speeds, near-real time latency capabilities, and network slicing. The lab will support proof of concepts, as well as allow development and testing of end-to-end solutions in a safe and configurable environment.

Network slicing is a new capability enabled by 5G Standalone to allow telecoms operators to create separate and isolated networks for different use cases. Each slice can be configured differently. As they are isolated from each other, the performance on one would not impact another.

In the broadcasting industry, this is an exciting development for two reasons. Firstly, a minimum upload speed threshold can be set to guarantee that content is uploaded quickly and reliably for live streaming.

Secondly, it removes the risk of network congestion impacting performance. This is particularly relevant for mass events such as sports, demonstrations or festivals, as well as for live content contribution in isolated locations.

Danny Kelly, Head of Innovation at Vodafone Business UK said: “This is another UK-first brought by Vodafone as we continue to explore the myriad powerful benefits of 5GSA, helping the UK to become a leader in this new technology.

“Finding 5GSA uses for the media makes perfect sense as the technology is well suited to this sector. It enables faster speeds, less latency (buffering) and is more reliable and secure. This makes it ideal for media – who create digitally dense content at high volume. Especially in isolated locations or at large scale events where the public network is crowded.

“We look forward to working with Coventry University and different media over the coming months to test and explore the different innovative uses for 5GSA.”

Professor John Latham CBE, Coventry University Vice Chancellor, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to extend our collaboration with Vodafone following the development of the standalone 5G network that has been so successfully used by our healthcare students.

“This new project will expand our work with Vodafone into the media arena and we are excited to see how our experts can work with the broadcasting industry on how this technology can be put to use.”

Ericsson research suggests 25% of 5G use cases will require network slicing to work reliably and securely. This new service will prove to be a catalyst for innovation in all industries, as it enables Vodafone to configure the connectivity experience to best-suit the use case. This has not been possible to date and will support the growth of specialised 5G services across all industries.

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Different between 5G Standalone and 5G Non-standalone?

5G Non-standalone is when 5G radios sit on an existing 4G network. It offers speed upgrades, but is still limited in performance by the underlying 4G infrastructure.

5G Standalone is an end-to-end 5G solution, from the core to the radio units. This upgraded infrastructure allows telecoms operators to realise the benefits of 5G which have been spoken about at length for many years, such as low latency capabilities, for example, as well as introducing new services such as network slicing.