Fabriek Logistiek tests 5G-Mobile Private Network

Published on 02/06/2022 in Tech, tips & tricks

Fabriek Logistiek tests 5G-Mobile Private Network

A 5G-MPN (Mobile Private Network) offers the best of two worlds: the reliability and performance of 5G for data traffic, while the data itself stays local. At Fabriek Logistiek, logistics companies test the possibilities of a 5G-MPN.

Factory Logistics is an initiative of the East-Flanders Development Agency (POM). With this project, POM is supporting the expansion of East-Flanders as a logistics hotspot. In practical terms, Fabriek Logistiek was allocated two logistics halls, on a new industrial site in Zwijnaarde. There, companies will get the opportunity to test in practice how they can optimize their logistic processes, including making full use of new technology. 5G has a key role to play in this.

Opportunities in logistics

“Logistics faces many challenges,” says Eric Ibens, Business Development Manager 5G at Proximus, “such as customers demanding ever shorter delivery times, a shortage of personnel and rising transport costs. However, there are also opportunities for the sector, including the increased availability of data, the use of artificial intelligence and more automation. It is in this context that 5G plays a key role.”

Local 5G network

Ericsson is involved in the implementation of the central 5G network. “But Fabriek Logistiek is specifically about implementing a 5G-MPN,” says Serge Vanhoffelen, Head of Customer Solutions at Ericsson. MPN stands for Mobile Private Network. This makes it possible to have a local 5G data network, with all the associated advantages: a very high bandwidth, a very high reliability and a particularly low latency.

A 5G-MPN allows you to enjoy all the benefits of 5G locally – on a private network.

Serge Vanhoffelen, Head of Customer Solutions at Ericsson

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AI in real time

“With a 5G-MPN, we provide a local 5G breakout,” Ibens explains. “Fabriek Logistiek experiments with automated and optimized logistic processes. In addition, large numbers of connected devices continuously exchange large volumes of data. With 5G-MPN this is done via a reliable, high-performance and secure network.” This makes it possible, for example, to have AI applications make autonomous decisions in real time, based on the real-time analysis of local data.

Local data for fewer safety risks

It is essential that the encapsulated and analyzed data remain local on a 5G-MPN and therefore do not run anywhere over the public mobile network, while the actual functioning of the network remains a task of the public 5G network. Vanhoffelen: “By keeping the data local, you can ensure the security of the data even better.” The use of a local 5G breakout at Fabriek Logistiek enables, among other things, concrete tests with automatically guided vehicles, or the use of drones for inventory, real-time applications with smart glasses, etc.

With a 5G-MPN, the data remains local. It doesn’t run over the public mobile network.

Serge Vanhoffelen, Head of Customer Solutions at Ericsson

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5G absorbs Wi-Fi restrictions

“Industrial buildings – such as factories or warehouses – usually have wired networks or Wi-Fi,” says Vanhoffelen. This inevitably creates limitations. A wireless network offers much more flexibility than a wired solution. However, Wi-Fi is not particularly suitable for an industrial environment. “The low latency you need in a real-time environment is not guaranteed with Wi-Fi,” Vanhoffelen explained. “In addition, the connection can be interrupted when a device switches from one Wi-Fi antenna to the next.”

This is not an option for applications with, for example, automatically guided vehicles and drones. “With a local 5G breakout via an MPN, you obviously have that guaranteed low latency,” Vanhoffelen continued. “In addition, data traffic takes place on the allocated spectrum. As a company, you have so much more control than with Wi-Fi.”

Benefits for all sectors

Fabriek Logistiek offers facilities for companies to test their vision of the smart warehouse and, in this way, discover what opportunities new technology can offer them. “Together with Proximus, we are building solutions that make optimal use of the specific characteristics of 5G SA,” said Vanhoffelen. “This is done in close cooperation, through the principle of co-creation.” The arrival of a 5G-MPN can make a difference in many sectors. “Think of image processing in the media, remote diagnostics in healthcare or surveillance with robots,” Ibens concluded. “5G delivers more productivity and performance everywhere.”

Serge Vanhoffelen is Head of Customer Solutions at Ericsson.
Eric Ibens is Business Development Manager 5G at Proximus.

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