Private 5G networks: Four Franco-German cooperation projects launched

Germany (through the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection) and France (through the Ministère de L'économie, et des Finances et de la Relance) are working closely together in the field of "Technical development and application systems for private 5G networks". Four consortia have now been launched in different application areas.

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In the four projects, French and German partners are jointly developing and testing innovations in the field of virtualization of 5G subsystems and the components required for this. In addition, they are investigating their interoperability via open interfaces as well as the possible use of private 5G networks in various fields of application.

The main project 5G OPERA aims to lay a foundation for the digital sovereignty of the European mobile ecosystem and the participating industries. The aim of the project is to ensure that the hardware and software of all project partners can work together technically independently of the respective manufacturer. A platform is being developed that ensures the interoperability of different manufacturers on the basis of an Open RAN architecture and supports a flexible combination of the core components (radio unit, distributed unit and centralized unit) of a 5G campus network. The interoperability of the developed Open RAN solutions will be tested and verified by integration in testbeds in both countries.

The 5G For Business Parks (5G4BP) demonstration project aims to create an Open RAN-based solution for the small and medium-sized enterprises often located in business parks. The 5G campus network is to extend across the entire business park and should be set up and operated by an integrator specializing in this scenario. In order to reach companies even further away from the business park, a directional radio connection will be offered. To this end, 5G4BP will rely as far as possible either on components developed in-house or on components developed by 5G OPERA or the national lead project CampusOS.

The 5G FORUM and 5G OR demonstration projects each aim to develop and test a 5G-enabled system for the operating room in hospitals. Different 5G applications in the operating environment will be developed, which will be deployed interoperably in German and French facilities with 5G campus networks and tested in a realistic clinical environment. Among other things, in 5G OR, the use of data-driven and AI-assisted surgery is expected to improve patient outcomes and patient safety. By networking medical devices, essential medical data (vital signs, endoscopic images) can be collected and processed quickly and in a structured manner. In a clinical control center, the data can be interpreted using AI algorithms and used for telemedicine applications. 5G FORUM investigates the potentials of 5G technology for modular, intraoperative and real-time communication in the operating room and implements them in the form of demonstrators. For this purpose, device profiles for real-time, 5G and robotic applications are defined. The core of a demonstrator in the field of neurosurgery is a navigated surgical system that transmits data via 5G with high reliability and low latency. A 3D tracking camera will capture the position of surgical tools and transmit them in real time to planning software.

All four consortia successfully started their projects with a kickoff. The Franco-German collaboration is intended to support the establishment of development partnerships of network equipment providers and users, and ultimately strengthen the digital sovereignty of both countries by building an ecosystem. It is expected to help lower barriers to entry in Europe and open the 5G communications market to new providers of industry-specific solutions for private 5G networks from France and Germany.

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