International 5G News Stories

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HPE sets up private 5G and Wi-Fi at Ryder Cup in Rome

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has set up an integrated private 5G and Wi-Fi network at the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome in partnership with Athonet, the Italian firm it acquired earlier this year, and HPE Aruba Networking. The partners designed what HPE described as a groundbreaking integrated Wi-Fi and private 5G network to cover the demands of an event that is set to host 250,000 spectators, as well as organizers, competitors and sponsors, across the 370-acre Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

HPE said its private 5G technology provides wide-area coverage to all corners of the golf course, including the most remote parts, as well as a secure private network dedicated to critical operations staff, adding that the deployment is an early realisation of the company’s vision when it acquired Athonet in June 2023.

The network also uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E technologies to deliver twice as much capacity as the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris via more than 800 Wi-Fi access points. The backbone of the network is built on 200 HPE Aruba Networking CX switches with AI-powered HPE Aruba Networking Central for network management providing a single point of visibility and control across the entire network. 

The private 5G network, meanwhile, covers the golf course with one radio mast located in a central location powered by the Athonet Tactical Cube, a compact and mobile private cellular platform for mission-critical applications. In that regard, HPE noted that although Italy has allocated all 5G spectrum to mobile service providers, the Italian government made an exception for the Ryder Cup, providing access to the 3.8 GHz band.

In addition, the Ryder Cup event will be one of the first global use cases for the new sustainability dashboard on the HPE GreenLake platform that delivers insights on IT energy consumption, carbon emissions and electricity costs, said the company.


Ericsson and Vodafone help Irish rugby team adopt 5G technology to get fast in-play data analysis

Ericsson and Vodafone Ireland have partnered to install a cutting-edge 5G Standalone Mobile Private Network (MPN) solution for the Irish rugby team to supply fast and reliable in-play data analysis ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in September.

Previously the team relied on standard WiFi across stadiums and training facilities both at home and away. Now giving instant feedback on team plays and tactics, the 5G Standalone MPN solution and artificial intelligence technology ensures faster download and upload speeds and lower latency, which can be utilised for real-time performance analysis and decisions on the pitch.

Using this reliable connectivity, up to eight high-resolution video streams are captured by multiple cameras and a 5G connected drone and then analysed in real-time to collate data on team performance. The technology helps to improve the communication between management, coaches and players and maximises the time on pitch where the smallest tweak to a running line or defensive position, can have a significant impact on the weekend’s game.

Vodafone Ireland and Ericsson have worked closely with the IRFU and their Head of Analytics and Innovation, Vinny Hammond and his analysis team of John Buckley, Alan Walsh and Jack Hannon. This collaboration has led to a clear understanding of the specific performance outcomes sought by such an elite sports team and has supported the design and installation of the Ericsson Private 5G solution, which now enables the management team, coaches and players to feel the real benefit of instant feedback to enhance the ability to make decisions quickly.

The new solution has been tested at the Irish team’s High Performance Centre and will be brought to France in a bespoke 5G connected van for the World Cup in September.

Vodafone Ireland Network Director, Sheila Kavanagh says: “At Vodafone, we are so proud of our support for the Irish Rugby team, so we’re delighted to bring further value through the delivery of this cutting-edge technology solution. Performance analysis has experienced massive changes in the past couple of decades. What started with pen and paper-based methods for collecting notational data has evolved to using cutting-edge computer-based technologies and artificial intelligence to collect ever increasing amounts of real-time information. Distilling and delivering this data back to the team at top speed requires a reliable, secure and scalable connectivity solution.”

“This 5G MPN, drone and additional technology will support Vinny Hammond and his analytics team to quickly breakdown and organise unstructured data and present it back in a clear manner to other coaching staff and management – helping them understand the performance of the plays and overall team, without delay. It’s fantastic to see it in use in the HPC, but we’re also really excited to support the team with 5G connectivity throughout their time at the World Cup in France with our fully kitted Connected Van. Our 5G MPN technology is a demonstration of how technology and connectivity innovation can enhance the business of sport and the performance of teams, bringing added layers of data and analysis to coaches, management, and their players.” 

IRFU Head of Analytics and Innovation, Vinny Hammond says: “So much of our roles revolve around moving large quantities of data so we can analyse performance to understand what is working and what is not. Vodafone’s 5G MPN stretches the boundaries of what we can do in terms of how quickly we can analyse multiple high-resolution cameras and drone footage which ultimately informs our strategic decision making. The work John and Alan have done on this project in conjunction with Vodafone and Ericson has enabled us to push new boundaries at this years RWC. Being on our own 5G network also gives us that level of security and reliability that we really need, and we’ll have the added benefit of that connectivity with our 5G Connected Van, linking back to our High Performance centre, to reduce reliance on third party connectivity.”

John Griffin, Head of Ericsson Ireland, says: “5G is the ultimate platform of future innovation and our successful partnership with Vodafone continues to ensure new organisations like the IRFU can benefit from the low latency, high bandwidth, and secure connectivity of a 5G standalone private network. Our global leadership in 5G technology and accelerated software availability mean the IRFU will be one step ahead of their competitors on and off the field, giving them the best chance of success at an elite level of performance and revolutionizing the future of a key function within the sports industry.”


Nokia launches range of ruggedized 5G devices for industry

Kit vendor Nokia is keeping its toe in the devices water with a set of new ruggedized 5G handhelds designed to connect over private networks in harsh and hazardous environments.

Ports, mines, chemical plants and offshore oil platforms are the type of environments Nokia suggests its new series of devices will be useful in. They are manufactured in the US, have a long lifecycle, are IP 68-rated for operation in remote or harsh environments, have dual-SIM and eSIM capabilities, and exchangeable batteries.

Users can customize keys to define a dedicated push-to-talk button, and other features such as large buttons, remote speaker microphones and earpieces enabling push-to-talk are designed to allow workers to communicate without removing safety equipment like helmets and gloves.

To produce these sturdy blowers, the company has partnered with MOBILE, a firm that apparently specialises in explosion-proof mobile devices. We’re told the devices can be safely used in hazardous areas (something called ATEX Zone 1 apparently) or further away (ATEX Zone 2) where flammable atmosphere is not likely but could occur for a short time.

These ruggedized 5G industrial devices can be deployed over Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) in a subscription-based as-a-Service model. Such bundles include Nokia Industrial device management, Nokia Team Comms and Nokia Network Digital Twin. Selling the kit in this way, claims Nokia, allows enterprises to move asset costs from capital to operating expenses and more easily manage the fleet of industrial devices in their plants. More types of devices are promised under the aaS mode in the future.

“At Nokia we are committed to helping enterprises reliably connect workers in the most intuitive ways to keep them safe and productive,” said Martin Beltrop, Head of Industrial Devices, Enterprise Campus Edge Solutions.By extending our portfolio with the new 5G handheld devices and making Nokia Team Comms 3GPP-aligned, we can serve the growing needs of enterprise workers in industrial and hazardous environments as well as public safety teams. And, by leveraging the new capabilities of Nokia Network Digital Twin, teams will have more information than ever before allowing them to make instant informed decisions to maintain efficiency and network reliability in their dynamically changing environments.”

Martin Haaf, CEO of MOBILE adds:Through this partnership, we are pleased to support Nokia with our decades of expertise in explosion-proof mobile devices with our latest 5G developments. The combination of our devices with Nokia’s solutions offers companies a great added value on their digitalization journey.”

While it’s obviously not a return to the nineties and noughties heyday when Nokia phones were a dominant force in the consumer market, having a small niche of industrial focussed devices that can take a tumble in its arsenal presumably acts as a sweetener when pitching private networks to industrial firms with lots of environmental aggro.


Joint sensing, extended VR among killer 6G apps anticipated next decade – study

Joint sensing and extended virtual reality are among the innovative use cases that will win adoption in the 2030s on the back of 6G communication networks, according to a new report from NGMN Alliance. The report sets out a benchmark for the industry to implement IMT-2030 capabilities that also include enhanced positioning services and artificial intelligence. To streamline the delivery of such service offerings, NGMN said that 6G also should natively support network-related APIs by design. 

NGMN, an industry association set up by leading mobile operators, published the bulletin to guide further development of 6G standards. The paper includes a number of “guiding principles” that are expected to sustain 6G adoption. For example, it recommends that 6G networks will need to be able to function without requiring upgrades to existing 5G radio access networks. NGMN believes operators must be allowed to retire 5G RAN intuitively for operating reasons, for example at the end of their operating lifespan or to introduce additional RAN software capabilities.

NGMN outlined five operational priorities for 6G delivery: network simplification, energy reduction, automation, proactive management capabilities, and quantum safe infrastructure. It says existing spectrum capacity allocated to IMT services, typically in the sub-7GHz range, would initially remain essential for delivering 6G-age mobile coverage. However it believes new IMT spectrums could be unlocked in the 6-15 GHz range for IMT-2020 and “beyond” technologies. Eventually, the sub-THz spectrum could be deployed to support IMT-2030 applications, NGMN added.


EU on track to meet gigabit, 5G targets for 2030 with projected EUR 200 billion investment

The EU is on track to meet its targets of gigabit internet available to all premises and full 5G population coverage by 2030, according to the first ‘State of the Digital Decade’ report published by the European Commission. Over EUR 200 billion in additional network investment will be required to meet the digital infrastructure targets by that date. 

The report puts gigabit fibre connectivity at 56 percent of households currently, while 5G reaches 81 percent of the population. The more difficult work lies ahead though, bringing fibre networks to rural areas, expanding availability of standalone 5G services and covering transport corridors. 

Research by Wik Consult for the Commission puts the cost of completing the basic gigabit and 5G coverage at up to EUR 148 billion, while covering roads, railways and waterways will add another EUR 26-79 billion to the bill. As more industries adopt advanced connectivity services, further investment may be required to support the intensive use of networks, the report said. 

The EU states are expected to submit in October their national roadmaps for completing the coverage and meeting the Digital Decade targets. The European Commission said they should map their connectivity gaps and explore financing options to complement private investment in areas that are not commercially viable, including rural and remote areas. 

More work on digital skills, business

The Digital Decade targets also cover digital skills, digitisation of businesses and digitisation of public services. The Commission’s annual report found that the EU risks missing the targets on digital skills and digital business, but is making good progress on ensuring all public services are accessible online by 2030. 

Under the current conditions, only 59 percent of the population will master at least basic digital skills by 2030, compared to the target of 80 percent, meaning more work needs to be done on education and training. The target for over nine in ten SMEs to have a basic level of digitisation is also at risk, with the current trajectory suggesting the EU will reach only 69 percent by 2030.  

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