What are Europe’s newest 5G research projects?

Europe's 5G-Public Private Partnership research programme has moved into its third phase. 

5G-PPP are projects funded by the EU under its R&I H2020 programme. They are intended to prepare a framework at EU level for 5G deployment. Some Phase One projects have been drawing to a close this year, while Phase Three has just got started and will run until 2021/2.

Phase Three itself is broken down into three parts – “Infrastructure”, “Automotive Projects” and “Advanced 5G validation trials across multiple vertical industries”Three new  projects are already underway, a second set of projects will be announced in August, while submissions are still ongoing for projects to be included in Part Three of Phase Three.

So three projects selected for Phase Three, Part One officially started operation on 1 July. These are EVE, VINNI and GENESIS. All the projects are intended to validate 5G network KPIs through representative network trials, preparing an extensive validation platform for vertical use cases.

5G-EVE – 5G European Validation platform for Extensive trials

Led by TIM, this project is designed to interconnect four existing 5G trial sites in France, Spain, Italy and Greece to give industry verticals the opportunity to validate 5G function performance across and between them.

The 5G-EVE facility will enable experiments with heterogeneous access including 5G NR and licensed & unlicensed spectrum; advanced spectrum management; Mobile Edge Computing; backhaul; core/service technologies, means for site-interworking and multi-site/domain/technology slicing/orchestration.

Industrial verticals will be able to test out how services might work and be monitored, by experimenting with intent-based, and other high-level, interfaces. They will also be able to test  KPI analysis, technology bench-marking and performance diagnosis. A VNF pool, including open source and proprietary, radio/network/service, components will be developed and made available.

5G-VINNI:  5G Verticals INNovation Infrastructure

5G-VINNI will operate trials of advanced vertical sector services. To enable this project participants will design an advanced and accessible 5G end to end facility, meaning it will create several interworking sites.  Facilities include seven national 5G infrastructure instances across Europe. The lead operator is Telenor.

This approach employs NFV, network slicing and an automated testing campaign to validate 5G KPIs under various combinations of technologies and network loads. 5G-VINNI will create and make available an openness framework to give verticals and peer projects easy access to the 5G-VINNI facilities, both legally and technically, e.g. via open APIs. Operational aspects that it will enable include zero-touch orchestration and OAM systems. Again it will validate 5G KPIs and support the execution of end to end trial of vertical use cases. The intention is to demonstrate the value of 5G solutions to the 5G community, and in particular to particularly to relevant standards and open source communities.

5GENESIS:  5th Generation End-to-end Network, Experimentation,  System Integration, and Showcasing

GENESIS is intended to take on a key 5G challenge;  to integrate all the highly diverse results and technologies from R&D projects, to reach the potential of a full-stack, end-to-end 5G platform that is able to meet defined KPI targets.

In this context, the main goal of 5GENESIS will be to validate 5G KPIs for various 5G use cases, in both controlled set-ups and large-scale events. This will be achieved by bringing together results from a considerable number of EU projects as well as the partners’ internal R&D activities in order to realise an integrated End-to-end 5G Facility.

Genesis will have five platforms, which are:

–  Athens: an edge-computing-enabled shared radio infrastructure (gNBs and small cells), with different ranges and overlapping coverage that are supported by an SDN/NFV enabled core, to showcase secure content delivery and low latency applications in large public-events.

– Málaga: automated orchestration and management of different network slices over multiple domains, on top of the 5G NR and fully virtualised core network to showcase mission critical services in the lab and in outdoor deployments.

– Surrey: multiple radio access technologies that can support massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC), including 5G NR and NB-IoT, combined under a flexible Radio Resource Management (RRM) and spectrum sharing platform to showcase massive IoT services.

– Berlin: ultra dense areas covered by various network deployments, ranging from indoor nodes to nomadic outdoor clusters, coordinated via advanced backhauling technologies to showcase immersive service provisioning.

– Limassol: radio interfaces of different characteristics and capabilities, combining terrestrial and satellite communications, integrated to showcase service continuity and ubiquitous access in under-served areas.

Phase Three, Part II – Automotive

Projects for the automotive part are in the process of being selected and announcement of the winning projects is due by the end of August. The projects will address cooperative, connected and automated mobility – realised through cross border trials along 5G corridors potentially including several operator’s domains.

Phase Three, Part III – Advanced 5G validation trials across multiple vertical industries

Part Three proposals are still open, and must be submitted by November.

The challenge is to get the European 5G Vision of “5G empowering vertical industries” closer to deployment with  use cases involving cross industry partnerships. That requires technological and business validation of 5G end-to-end connectivity and associated management from two perspectives: i) within the set of requirements specific from one application domain; ii) across all sets of heterogeneous requirements stemming from concurrent usages of network resources by different vertical domains.