Home5GAirspan and Druid, joined at hip, to supply private 5G system for German SI Opticoms

Airspan and Druid, joined at hip, to supply private 5G system for German SI Opticoms

Private networking duo Airspan Networks and Druid Software, providing cellular radio access (RAN) and core network solutions, find themselves together again in Germany, this time with Munich-based system integrator (SI) Opticoms at its new 5G co-creation lab in the Bavarian capital.

Opticoms is betting on high demand for private 5G systems in Germany, quoting research from state-owned IT provider BWI that between 5,000 and 10,000 German enterprises will install 5G campus networks, combining elements of private and public 5G infrastructure, by 2025. Israel-based Fibrolan, a specialist in timing and synchronization systems for industrial networking, is also involved in the new Munich setup.

Airspan Networks and Druid Software appear almost joined at the hip in Germany, where the SI community has joined the private 5G networking fray in recent months with serious intent, following the government’s move to lease 3.7-3.8 GHz ‘vertical’ spectrum direct to enterprises, and a moderate rush of interest from them. They already work together with both Siticom and Umlaut in Germany.

Siticom is bundling private 5G RAN and core from them to sell to local enterprises; Umlaut has joined their systems together at its headquarters in Aachen, to engineer and test 5G applications for the logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, life sciences, and utilities markets. Meanwhile, Opticoms has said it has kick-started a new ‘connected enterprise’ strategy with them both, plus Fibrolan.

Its new 5G lab in Munich will enable industry partners to experiment with 5G kit, and reduce the costs of use case development via quick prototyping of industrial applications in a ready-made industrial 5G environment, it said. The 5G network will utilise an open RAN solution from Airspan Networks, as the only radio supplier in the mix, including centralized unit (CU), distributed unit (DU) and radio unit (RU). Druid is providing its Raemis 4G/5G core network.

The lab will be home to a “multidisciplinary team”, including secondments from its trio of networking partners. A network management solution is being built to carry out tasks like provisioning, slice creation, and performance monitoring, and will operate various connectivity technologies, including LoRaWAN alongside, said Opticoms.

Research will look at Wi-Fi 6, alongside, and show how both can transform industries, and drive the economy, stated Opticoms. It listed key focus areas, notably manufacturing, around greenfield and retro-fit 5G solutions, and 5G combinations with non-cellular tech like BLE, Zigbee, and LoRaWAN (“if needed”) for predictive maintenance, autonomous mobile robots, and condition-based monitoring via sensors

The group will also put focus on: the construction sector, looking at real-time process monitoring, asset management and tracking, connected workers, and remote AR support; warehousing and logistics, and ways to reduce the cost of haulage, and of picking and packing, through usage of asset tracking, image-based quality control, mobile robots, automated storage and retrieval.

The other focus area, said Opticoms, is safety for workers and industrial plants. A statement said: “Refinery processes and chemicals are some key industries which need smart solutions to improve safety and regulatory compliance. Some examples of use cases that could improve safety include robotic gas leak detection, video as a sensor, PA communication, geo-fencing, and lone worker protection.”

Johann Schmid, chief executive at Opticoms, said: “5G opens a new chapter in connectivity and automation to all industries… By embracing 5G, enterprises will not only create actionable insights, but open a path towards full automation. Our 5G Lab is built to help enterprises to define and design their transformation path and help them to build and monetize customized end-to-end solutions for their business.”

Giuseppe Bernini, vice president of business development in Europe for Airspan Networks, said: “We are delighted… to bring innovative solutions for accelerating the deployments of private 5G infrastructure based on Airspan’s OpenRANGE solution. Our participation is another demonstration of Airspan’s focus on providing end-to-end integration, automation, and plug-and-play features for our partners and customers.”

Liam Kenny, chief executive at Druid Software, said: “We are delighted to partner with Opticoms in its ‘connected enterprise’ initiative which is enabling industry partners to experiment and understand the benefits of our Raemis technology for industrial applications in an industry-ready 5G environment.”

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