November 27, 2023

5G campus networks only unfold their versatile potential in an open, modular form

November 27, 2023

Flexibility, high levels of innovation and more competition – the CampusOS consortium, consisting of 22 partners from industry and research, has published a position paper that highlights the advantages of open, modular campus networks.

5G campus networks are booming. Current analyses assume annual growth of around 57 percent in installations worldwide.* Nowadays campus networks are usually implemented based on single-vendor solutions. The CampusOS consortium, on the other hand, is convinced that open, modular campus networks with a mix of components from several providers offer many advantages and meet the requirements of increasingly diversifying applications, making them possible in the first place. For example, the communication network of a mobile construction site must be robust against weather conditions and transportable, while networking in production (machines, intra-logistics, employees) places high demands on network availability, low latency, scalability and security.

To drive the development of such networks, the CampusOS consortium is supporting an ecosystem for 5G campus networks based on open, modular radio technologies and interoperable network components that are currently being developed. The ecosystem contains a construction kit that can be used to put together a suitable network depending on the application. The project group has now summarized the advantages of campus networks and its experiences with challenges such as cost pressure, interoperability and complexity, in a position paper:

Position 1: Open and modular 5G campus networks support the specific requirements of industrial verticals.

The flexibility in the selection of hardware and software components enables an optimal mix to meet the requirements of different applications and ensure scalability.

Position 2: Open and modular 5G campus networks provide mechanisms to handle complexity over the entire lifecycle.

Automated network orchestration solutions make complex systems manageable.

Position 3: Open and modular 5G campus networks address new markets and enable new business models for suppliers and verticals.

Increased competition among providers leads to more innovation and higher pressure on prices.

Position 4: Development and growth of the ecosystem drive further and take-up of open and modular 5G campus networks.

Offering the complete solution is not the responsibility of just one company. This is a particular advantage for small and medium-sized software and hardware providers and leads to faster development.

The two project coordinators summarize the publication as follows:

Prof. Dr. Slawomir Stanczak, Head of the Wireless Communications and Networks Department at Fraunhofer HHI and Professor of Network Information Theory at TU Berlin, says: “Establishing a new 5G campus network ecosystem based on disaggregation and open interfaces presents challenges such as interoperability, integration complexity and component availability. To overcome these challenges, testing, best practices, architecture -blueprints, and public demos are essential. CampusOS brings these elements together and will make the relevant information publicly available for a seamless transition to open campus network architectures and deployments.”

Prof. Dr. Thomas Magedanz, Director of the Software-based Networks business unit at Fraunhofer FOKUS and Chair of Next Generation Networks at TU Berlin, explains: “Nowadays, we witness that enterprises only have very few choices for planning, setting up and operating their 5G campus networks. The reasons are limited offers and ecosystem actors. However, customizable network solutions in terms of functional scope and operation models are becoming key to manage the digital transformation successfully. With the CampusOS achievements we will enable German and European enterprises to do so in a time and cost-efficient way.”

The position paper entitled “How open and modular 5G campus networks can boost application scenarios in vertical market segments” is available free of charge at the following link: Campus-OS — Publications

The CampusOS project is led by the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS). These are the consortium partners: Atesio GmbH, BISDN GmbH, Bosch, brown-iposs GmbH, Deutsche Telekom, EANTC AG, Fraunhofer FOKUS, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI, GPS GmbH Stuttgart, highstreet technologies, Kubermatic, Node-H GmbH, MUGLER SE, RT Solutions, Rohde & Schwarz, Siemens, Smart Mobile Labs, STILL GmbH, SysEleven GmbH, Topcon Positioning Systems, Technische Universität Berlin, Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU) . 

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) over a period of three years.

*Source: Monitoring Campus Networks, 2023, published by DLR, p. 4.