February 11, 2020

Private 5G Networks for Industry 4.0: Kick-off for European-Taiwanese research cooperation on future mobile radio applications

At the beginning of December, the European-Taiwanese research project "Private 5G Networks for Connected Industries"  (5G CONNI) started its working phase with a joint kickoff event in Berlin, Germany. Now that the first 5G technologies are beginning to reach market maturity, the goal of this project, funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, R.O.C. (Taiwan), is to demonstrate the benefits of 5G radio, network and cloud technologies for industry 4.0 applications. In an international testbed, European and Taiwanese production sites will be equipped with 5G technologies to investigate their suitability for use cases.

The focus of 5G CONNI is on the emerging concept of private mobile radio networks for industrial applications (“campus networks”). 5G-based Industry 4.0 applications pose new technological requirements on the communication system through KPIs such as latency, packet delivery jitter, reliability or achievable throughput and in terms of systems dependability, i.e. the ability to make guarantees for deterministic behaviour. These requirements are typically quite distinct from those that have traditionally guided the design and deployment of public land mobile networks, especially for mobile broadband use cases. While 5G technologies such as network slicing may accommodate industrial applications in public networks, the generational leap offers the opportunity to re-architect not only the network but also operator and deployment models. Private 5G networks, operating locally and highly optimized towards specific applications, are envisioned by the 5G CONNI partners to be an important component in helping both 5G and Industry 4.0 deliver on their promises.

The first regulatory authorities, especially throughout Europe, have already started spectrum allocation processes for local 5G frequencies, which can then be used to roll out and operate fully private 5G networks. The 5G CONNI project will contribute to this development with studies on specific aspects, such as operator models or network and radio planning.

Coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute, HHI, the 5G CONNI project consortium brings together major players in ICT and Industry 4.0 with the joint vision of paving the way for industrial 5G applications and accelerating deployments. On the European side, it connects Bosch and Athonet, a worldwide leading industrial company and a pioneer in the field of private mobile radio networks. Their technological and application expertise is complemented by academic partners with many years of experience in mobile communications research, CEA-Leti (France) and the University of Rome (Italy). Taiwanese partners include the two major research institutes Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and Institute for Information Industry (III), the largest Taiwanese mobile network operator Chunghwa Telecom and the network equipment provider Alpha Networks.

The project 5G CONNI is part of a European-Taiwanese research cooperation with the aim to accelerate the validation of new 5G technologies for specific applications with special requirements ("vertical use cases"). Within this framework, the partners will work towards an international consensus on standardization, regulation and application requirements between the industries of both regions. The 5G CONNI project is funded by the European Union within the Horizon 2020 programme and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, R.O.C. (Taiwan) with approximately EUR 2 million each. The project will run for three years, starting on 01.10.2019.

The 5G CONNI project will contribute to the validation of new 5G technologies by establishing an international end-to-end test field for wireless industry 4.0 applications. © Fraunhofer HHI