The Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), through the Institute of Telecommunications and Multimedia Applications (iTEAM), leads a European project to offer 5G networks on demand, a private “super WiFi”, with “revolutionary” features for the industry and other environments such as hospitals or universities. The project FUDGE-5G is funded by the Horizon 2020 EU programme, and has a budget of six million euros.
"Private 5G networks will be similar to WiFi networks, with the difference that spectrum is not shared, which would guarantee greater benefits. Together with the technical characteristics of 5G, it will be possible to provide full network coverage, Gigabits per second speeds and very low response times, without depending on the public network of a telecommunications operator. Another of its advantages is its privacy, since all the information inside these networks would only be accessible to their owners. These 5G networks will be a great revolution”, highlights David Gómez Barquero, researcher at the Mobile Communications Group (MCG) iTEAM-UPV and project coordinator.
These networks are designed for closed scenarios with many users and/or connected devices, not for individuals. They are of special interest to the industry, and other environments such as hospitals and universities. But these networks need a dedicated spectrum. Germany was a pioneer in reserving spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band locally for private 5G networks at the end of 2019, and by 2020 they have already allocated 88 licenses. Several countries have followed Germany’s steps, but in Spain the entire 3.5 GHz band spectrum is already assigned, so we must wait for the assignment of new 5G frequencies so that spectrum is reserved for private networks”, explains David Gómez Barquero.
Gómez Barquero, professor at the EPS in Gandia of the UPV, stresses that the FUDGE-5G project will establish the guidelines for deploying private 5G networks in the cloud in order to reduce the cost of infrastructure and increase the flexibility of the deployment, so that it adjusts to the needs of the end user.
“FUDGE-5G opens a new market for the telecommunications sector; it will provide the opportunity for a customised configuration of 5G networks, with all the benefits that this entails”, points out the MCG-iTEAM researcher from the Universitat Politècnica de València.
The project started in September and will run until February 2022. It includes the development of different pilot tests for the deployment of these private 5G networks, which will all be carried out in Norway, with the operator Telenor.
The scenarios in which they will be carried out are a hospital (eHealth use case), the Norwegian public television NRK (multimedia use case), the Defence Agency of the Nordic country (security use case), the multinational company ABB (case of industry 4.0, where the performance of these networks for connected robotics applications will be evaluated), and in a university. "In the latter case, our goal is to connect the UPV campus with the campus of Oslo metropolitan university and the Fraunhofer FOKUS German research institute in Berlin, deploying an Eduroam-style network with private 5G networks in different countries connected to each other", says David Gómez Barquero
The project partners also include the Valencian start-up Fivecomm, which will coordinate the implementation tests of this network at ABB