Deutsche Telekom completes network slicing tests at Port of Hamburg

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Deutsche Telekom, Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) and Nokia have completed field tests demonstrating the benefits of network slicing for industrial applications.

 From January 2018 to June 2019, the 8,000-hectare Port site served as a test bed for industrial 5G applications, as part of the 5G-MoNArch EU project.

The trials focused on network slicing  multiple virtual networks running simultaneously on the same common infrastructure. Each slice can have different characteristics tailored to meet the specific requirements of a particular application or user group. 

One example is the creation of on-demand slice for emergency services in the port area during a storm surge. 

The findings from the test site will now be incorporated into the ongoing architectural development work for the 5G standard.

Three use cases

Three use cases with different network requirements were tested in the port: 

  • The partners installed sensors on three ships from the HPA subsidiary, Flotte Hamburg GmbH & Co. KG. These sensors enable the real-time monitoring and analysis of motion and environmental data from large parts of the port area.
  • The Port Road Management Center of the HPA remotely controlled the traffic flows in the port of Hamburg via a traffic light connected to the mobile network. This should help, for example, to guide trucks faster and more safely through the port area.
  • With the help of 5G, 3D information was transmitted to an augmented reality application. The 3D glasses allow maintenance teams, on a construction site, for example, to call up additional information such as building data or receive remote interactive support from an expert.

Deutsche Telekom, Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) and Nokia say they achieved their goals in demonstrating that complex industrial applications with diverging requirements can reliably work over a common physical infrastructure. 

"We have gained valuable experience, which we have also shared with the port industry and other partners at several events. That was very important to us right from the start," says HPA project manager Hendrik Roreger. "Thanks to the experience gained, we now have a clear technological advantage in the Port of Hamburg. When 5G officially starts, we would be ready to implement even complex applications here." 

"The test field in the Port of Hamburg is extremely valuable for us to gain practical experience with 5G," says Antje Williams, Senior Vice President 5G Campus Networks at Deutsche Telekom. "The research project has shown that with 5G, we can best adapt our network to the customer's requirements. 5G is the intelligent network of the future. Industry and the logistics sector, in particular, will benefit from 5G as a strong lever for a variety of applications".

Industrial 5G

Christoph Schmelz, Nokia research project manager and coordinator of 5G-MoNArch said the project in the Port of Hamburg serves as a blueprint for the industrial use of 5G technology.

“We were able to show in a real-world environment that mobile networks can be quickly and flexibly adapted to the needs of industrial users thanks to network slicing,” he said. 

He added, “5G will become critical infrastructure and change industries as we know them.”

5G-MoNArch

The 5G test in the Port of Hamburg is part of the two-year 5G-MoNArch (5G Mobile Network Architecture for diverse services, use cases, and applications in 5G and beyond)  research project 

A second test field of the project in Turin deals with multimedia applications.