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More speed for the research of robotic transportation and the Internet of Things – The 5G network has opened in Otaniemi

The new high-speed mobile network will give students, researchers and companies new opportunities to test and develop future technologies.
Graphic Illustration of 5G network with symbols. Graphic design: Safa Hovinen
Illustration: Safa Hovinen

A 5G wireless network with unprecedented speed and almost no latency will revolutionise transportation, industry, communications and entertainment over the coming decade. It will play a key role in many new technologies such as robotic transportation, industrial automation, the Internet of Things and various augmented reality applications.

One of the largest non-commercial 5G networks in Europe has now been opened at Aalto University's Otaniemi campus, making it possible for researchers, students and companies to develop devices and applications for both consumers and industrial users alike. The network will also cover the campus’ surrounding areas.

graphic illustration of 5G speed compared to 4G and 3G. Graphic design Safa Hovinen
5G network is up to tens of times faster than it's predecessor. The network can also support more devices without overloading. Illustration: Safa Hovinen

Last year, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency granted Aalto University a three-year radio permit for 5G research, product development and teaching.

Professor Raimo Kantola, who studies 5G information security, says, ‘On an international scale, this is a unique research platform for new wireless networks, applications and services. With our own frequency permit, we can use our 5G network freely with different research and business partners. The network will also be accessible to the Otaniemi-based start-ups’.

‘Aalto University conducts multidisciplinary 5G research, ranging from network technology and signal processing through to applications utilising 5G, such as autonomous transportation and industrial systems. According to international rankings, our telecommunications research is among the very best in Europe’ adds Jyri Hämäläinen, Dean of the School of Electrical Engineering.

Thus far, 5G technology has been developed specifically for the consumer market, so to meet industrial needs, the technology still needs further research and development.

‘5G has not developed enough yet for use in applications that demand extreme reliability such as for healthcare, transport and industrial purposes. Our research environment allows us to develop and test network and software technology to fulfil this requirement’ says Kantola.

graphic illustration of two robot cars exchanging information
5G’s latency, which means delay in data communication over a network, can be as little as one millisecond. Low latency is crucial for applications such as remote-controlled machines and connected and autonomous vehicles. Illustration: Safa Hovinen.

The 5G network in Otaniemi has been implemented in cooperation with Nokia, and it includes components supplied by Ericsson and open-source components. MediaTek has contributed devices for testing the network.

Each research user can be assigned a specific piece of the network which allows the network to be used flexibly in multiple parallel studies without any interference.  

Among the first research projects to utilise the network are the EU project 5G-MOBIX which studies autonomous driving, the EU project PriMO 5G which investigates the use of drones in rescue operations, and the VIIMA project funded by Business Finland, which develops industrial internet applications such as smart grids.

5G radio permit for Otaniemi

Europe’s top university-based 5G testing and experimental network will accelerate research in the field.

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Aalto University / Datacenter at Otaniemi / photo: Linda Koskinen
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