UK turns on 5G-ENCODE to set LTE baseline for 2021 private 5G tests
Zeetta Networks and the University of Bristol have switched on a private LTE testbed at the UK’s National Composites Centre as part of the government-backed 5G-ENCODE project, which seeks to investigate private 5G as a springboard for Industry 4.0 and new economic growth in the country.
The 5G-ENCODE group are engaged in phase one, currently, around design and deployment of the core LTE setup, to establish a baseline for industrial usage of existing cellular technologies; phase two, scheduled for next year, will expand into private 5G, and benchmark performance against the original phase-one results.
The project will establish and test 5G use cases to make the benefits of 5G a reality for UK manufacturers, said participants. Specifically, it will test 5G for augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) in design, manufacturing and training, as well as monitoring and tracking of time sensitive assets, and real-time in-process monitoring and analytics.
5G-ENCODE is part of the UK government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, and is one of its biggest investments in 5G for manufacturing to date. The goal of the project is to prove the performance and business case for private industrial-grade 5G, against a variety of manufacturing use cases. The group noted Covid-19, forcing much of the industrial sector into lockdown, has made the vision of industrial 5G more compelling and urgent.
“The manufacturing industry has faced uncertain times through lockdown and ambiguous times are here to stay as engineers navigate changing trade laws. A network of this kind will empower manufacturers of all sizes to operate more productively, increasing output and decreasing streamlining operations, thereby helping to safeguard the manufacturing sector against the fallout of a changing landscape.”
Vassilis Seferidis, co-founder and chief executive at Zeetta Networks, said: “Zeetta Networks is proud to be the leading partner for the 5G-ENCODE project. The use cases being explored will be integral to accelerating Industry 4.0. Phase One is just the beginning, and we’re confident that this project will be key to revitalising the UK’s manufacturing industry and safeguarding it against the next global recession.”
Marc Funnell, head of digital and director of digital engineering technology and innovation (DETI) at the National Composites Centre, said: “As a world-class research centre, the NCC is delighted to be the industrial test bed for the 5G-ENCODE consortium of leading industrial innovators. Today’s announcement marks the start of this project delivering real-life impact through the development of specific use cases for the 5G-ENCODE and DETI. We look forward to testing and sharing the results”.
Xavier Priem, senior research fellow at Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol, said: “Smart Internet Lab is proud to support and provide expertise to the 5G-ENCODE consortium. We are delighted to be working alongside communities, telecom and Industry 4.0 experts in this project by providing knowledge on 4G & 5G technologies on the delivery of use cases. Our work will be fundamental in introducing new capabilities into Industry 4.0 processes and systems which will provide more flexibility.”