June 16, 2020

New BMWi “5G campus networks guide” provides direction for SMEs

The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) recently published the “5G campus networks guide”. It serves as an important orientation, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), on the question of how to successfully set up a proprietary 5G network operation. The guide is based on the findings of the flagship project "Industrial Communication for Factories" (IC4F), a BMWi project in which the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI is participating as consortium leader.

Since November 2019, companies have had the opportunity to apply for the use of non-public 5G frequencies. This places Germany among the international pioneers in the private use of 5G and the enabling of so-called campus networks. Thomas Jarzombek, BMWi's commissioner for the digital economy and start-ups, states: "High-performance digital communication infra-structures are - among other things - vital for the operation of modern factories. In addition to independence, the in-house operation of infrastructures such as campus networks can enable new requiremenet-oriented solutions and strengthen the digital sovereignty of companies. Moreover, the new market segment of campus networks provides promising opportunities for smaller network suppliers as well as start-ups.”

In this context, the newly published guide aims to support SMEs, most notably the manu-facturing and logistics sectors, in deploying their own 5G campus networks. Due to its universal approach, the guide can be used in a broad range of application areas. The document  discusses important questions related to the deployment and operation of 5G campus networks and provides information on application areas, characteristics and operating models. It serves as an orientation aid for decision-makers of communication infrastructures in various business areas. The guide was developed by designated experts from the participating project partners and the accompanying research commissioned by the BMWi.

With its work on the flagship project IC4F, Fraunhofer HHI made a significant contribution to the results that constitute the guide’s foundation. The IC4F project is focusing on the development of a reference architecture for industrial communication including 5G, with a special attention to IT security, reliability, real-time capability and resilience of industrial communication infrastructures. Furthermore, the guide’s economic and scientific importance is underpinned by demonstrating the potential of various future technologies.

Professor Slawomir Stanczak, project coordinator at Fraunhofer HHI says: "5G will lead to a radical change of business models in vertical industries. In particular campus networks can unleash new possibilities for exploiting the potential of 5G technologies in terms of innovations in industrial applications. With the support of IC4F, it has been possible to incorporate key requirements of new application scenarios of the manufacturing industry into definition and international standardization of 5G systems at an early stage. Technological innovations such as machine learning and software-based virtualized network architectures as well as the trend towards open interfaces expand the performance of 5G campus networks and make them future-proof. The provision of future network and radio technologies for these various application domains is at the core of Fraunhofer HHI's work.”