Welcome Europe’s First Private 5G SA Network

“When will 5G finally become a reality and what are the possible uses?” For several years now, these have been the most frequently asked questions by customers of our service providers, and it is no wonder that the fifth generation of telecommunications networks promises to completely change the way we use the Internet.

In Spain, experiments with 5G Core (5GC) Services began almost a year ago when we announcements launching Cutting the 5G network a pilot in which operators, technology allies such as Cisco and organizations, including universities, joined forces to demonstrate the ability to cut the network into a 5G infrastructure.

Since then, in collaboration with Telefónica, Securitas, Alisys, ZTE and Universidade de Vigo, we have launched the first European 5G stand-alone private network (5G SA), which is extremely advanced, flexible and adaptable to different types of services, with the ability to cut a transport network end to end for the monitoring sector.

Joint innovations for the future

This innovative project was made possible by a unique collaboration. Cisco has provided the network core of 5G SA and software that facilitates the virtualization, orchestration, and automation of services, along with computing resources such as servers and transportation through state-of-the-art switches.

For its part, ZTE provided 5G SA with natural cutting capabilities. In addition, as a partner of Boston Dynamics in Spain, Alisys supplied the Spot Robot and the software platform for its remote control. As for the Universidade de Vigo, it participates as a research center in 5G networks and was an active contributor in the design, implementation and validation of this demonstration, held on October 21 in Vigo, Spain.

So what is network sharing and what makes it revolutionary? The network fragment is a software instance of the necessary network functions, creating a logical subnet that works independently of the wider network. In this case of use, the flexibility of this software-defined network supports the creation of a mobile network part designed to support the very specific requirements of the robot.

Here, state-of-the-art robotics – the Boston Dynamics Spot robot – is connected to the 5G network to complement the physical security monitoring tasks on the Universidade de Vigo campus, for which a specific part or virtual network dedicated to critical services has been deployed. This ensures the extremely low latency and high bandwidth required for the successful remote control of the Spot robot, which is connected for the first time to a 5G SA network with the possibility of cutting.

It should be noted that network sharing can also be applied to 4G, but 5G offers the ultra-low latency, ultra-high reliability and additional bandwidth speeds needed to work with real-time robotics.

The capabilities of the Spot robot offer two possible scenarios in the field of field monitoring in collaboration with Securitas. In the first, Spot is controlled remotely by a control center located to accompany the guard on her regular tours in a way that complements and expands her physical perceptions by sending multiple real-time video sequences with magnification or thermal / 360-degree vision. In the second, Spot performs a preliminary check in environments that pose a potential physical risk to security.

In both scenarios, the network capabilities support the sending of images and information flows in real time, thus allowing the necessary measures to be taken by the checkpoint.

A precedent for history

This proof of concept sets the tone for what 5G networks will be from now on – ultra-evolved networks that have a direct impact on the digital transformation of business and society as a whole.

To adapt dynamically to different uses, 5G networks need to be flexible and programmable. We at Cisco are proud to provide the opportunity to cut the 5G core network in this pioneering project, which lays the foundation for the features we expect to be available soon.
This development of collaborative innovation will open up a wide range of opportunities for the digitalisation of many sectors in Spain and across Europe. Are you as excited as we are? Leave me comments on your views on the 5G range around the world.

Find out more about our 5G network architecture.