New 5G campus network facilitates trials and pilots
“The 5G test network deployed on the Hervanta campus is basically no different from commercial 5G networks, but as it offers an open and controlled test environment we are free to use it as we see fit,” says Joonas Säe, postdoctoral research fellow in the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences.
The advertisements of telecom companies have already made consumers familiar with 5G, but the University’s test network is intended for industrial applications rather than personal communications. The network was launched to not only support 5G research but also facilitate the R&D activities and pilot projects of partner companies.
“The network provides an excellent testbed for companies that are not focused on telecommunications as their core business but still find it important to keep up with the latest technologies. One such sector is the automotive industry,” Säe says.
There is a great demand for 5G expertise in industry, because the unprecedented speed and performance offered by the 5G network will allow a gradual shift from wired to wireless. This will enable the development of, for example, robots and intelligent machines that are able to move around freely. With equipment controlled over a wireless network, it will be both faster and easier to make changes and improvements.
“5G is already delivering more or less similar performance as broadband and can therefore be used to test even critical functions.”
As part of the 5G-FORCE project, 5G networks similar to the one deployed on the Hervanta campus have also been established in other universities in Finland, such as the University of Oulu and Aalto University. This is convenient for companies that are looking to manage operations across multiple locations at the same time.
Connections for intelligent machines
On the Hervanta campus, researchers will be using the 5G network during the 5G-VIIMA project funded by Business Finland. For example, they will test the applicability of the network for a range of products and services, such as intelligent machines. The 5G-VIIMA project seeks to develop and test solutions that will generate added value for industry. There is a dedicated test site for intelligent machines on the Hervanta campus.
“The reliability and speed of the 5G network are crucially important for the development of smart mobile machines. When working with heavy machinery, it is important to be able to keep them under tight control.”
The new 5G test network will also promote collaboration between the University and companies. Besides researchers, the network may open up a world of new possibilities for students, too.
“We have access to both 4G and 5G networks, which will in the future offer exciting opportunities for carrying out, for example, comparative studies,” Joonas Säe says.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow Joonas Säe, Tampere University, tel. +358 50 323 1108, joonas.sae [at] tuni.fi
Professor Mikko Valkama, Tampere University, tel. +358 40 849 0756, mikko.valkama [at] tuni.fi
Text: Sanna Kähkönen
Photo: Konsta Leppänen