Home5GEdzcom taps Athonet for twin private 5G networks at Steveco terminals in Finland

Edzcom taps Athonet for twin private 5G networks at Steveco terminals in Finland

Finnish industrial networking specialist Edzcom has deployed private 5G networks at shipping terminals in Mussalo and Hietanen in Kotka for Steveco, Finland’s largest port operator. Italy-based Athonet has provided the core network and connectivity platform.

The two sites in Kotka, on Finland’s southern coast, are running separate radio access network (RAN) infrastructure, but share the same core network from Athonet. There was no confirmation on the RAN supplier. Nokia has a long-standing relationship with Edzom, and has collaborated already on a private LTE setup at neighbouring Hamina (which forms part of the larger Hamina-Kotka port, with Mussalo and Hietanen), along with Steveco. 

Edzcom is also working with Nokia at the Port of Kokkola and the Port of Oulu, as well as with port machinery maker Kalmar, owned by port automation specialist Cargotec, and mining operator Sandvik. Athonet commented: “This is a ‘brownfield’, where Athonet was brought in to support the critical communications requirement of the core network using the existing radios.” 

Edzcom retains spectrum at 450 MHz, 2.6 GHz, and 5.4 GHz for industrial and public safety networks in Finland. The company has deployed LTE at 450 MHz and 5G at 2600 GHz in both Mussalo and Hietanen; it has also deployed 5G at 5.4 GHz in Mussalo, which is not linked to the Athonet core network. 

The new installations are “local, fully autonomous and geo redundant,” said Edzcom, and geared for “business-critical usage in demanding environments”. Steveco wanted to “secure” operational continuity, improve efficiency, and obtain real-time data about container handling. Edzcom said it is “one of the first providers to implement 5G technology for industrial, business-critical use”. 

A statement said: “Edge connectivity solutions ensure a reliable and continuous connection, allowing terminal operations at Mussalo and Hietanen to flow 24/7 year-round. The geo-redundant autonomous on-site installation provides business resiliency against catastrophic events, natural disasters or other situations that might result in network or data outages for a period of time.

“In addition, the indoor and outdoor coverage for vehicles in the harbor area enables seamless ship-land communication that in turn optimizes port operations. Machine operators now have complete visibility of ships being loaded or unloaded in real time and can monitor operations in the entire terminal area. 

“As a result, security is improved through situational awareness, enhancing operational efficiency. Wirelessly connected cameras on cranes will be able to provide real-time video streaming and analytics to track any damage to cargo in the terminal’s custody and substantiate responsibility for insurance purposes, should such an incident occur.”

Karri Kangas, system analyst at Steveco, commented: “When data doesn’t flow, that causes a domino effect. The initial cost for us would be significant in terms of lost work and lost turnover. Aside from allowing us to manage the continuity of port operations efficiently, Edzcom’s edge connectivity solutions provide security — [so there is] no need to worry about hacking or reliance of public telecom networks since a private core network is in use on our site.”

Mikko Uusitalo, chief executive at Edzcom, said: “It is important to ensure 24/7 year-round continuity of business-critical operations by providing reliable connectivity across the full indoor and outdoor terminal area, and this is what our system empowers Steveco to do. Our focus has always been on providing best-in-class technologies that suit evolving customer needs. 

“We are now enabling our customers to smoothly transition to 5G in a timely manner. We believe that 5G will unlock even greater benefits, especially for enterprises such as Steveco that require continuity for critical operations, efficient assets management, and guaranteed security and safety.”

Nanda Menon, director of corporate development at Athonet, said: “Working with Edzcom on optimizing Steveco’s port operations, Athonet’s connectivity platform manages and controls all of the radios, devices and spectrum throughout the entire ecosystem of each terminal. In essence, we have taken this complex mobile operator technology and our software has made it consumable for Steveco in a simple, intuitive and cost-effective way, without compromising on the reliability.”

The container terminal in Mussalo is the biggest in Finland, and one of the busiest on the Baltic Sea, with an annual capacity of 1.5 million TEUs. It handles the majority of the Finnish export and transit containers.

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