Test Center and Test Beds for 5G Technologies

5G Bavaria

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Fraunhofer IIS launches 5G Initiative in Bavaria, Germany

 

In the mobile communications world, preparations for the transition from LTE to 5G are in full swing. The new 5G standard is set to offer superior capabilities compared with the mobile technology users are accustomed to today. 5G will also significantly enhance Industry 4.0 and eHealth applications, smart grids and connected driving. As a result, developers from completely new sectors are entering the arena. They now face the challenge of incorporating the latest mobile technology standards into products and applications that are already in the planning, even though mobile technology providers are yet to roll out such technologies in mobile communication networks. This makes the transition from standardization to application complex, especially given that three to four years could elapse between defining new 5G functions and market availability. During this time, it will be difficult to test and develop future-proof communications applications without suitable test facilities and in-depth knowledge from the ongoing 5G standardization process.

»5G Bavaria« - Expert talk with Karin Loidl and Marco Steglich

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From the virtual world to the real world

 

Fraunhofer IIS’s 5G Bavaria initiative aims to support the transition from research and standardization to application. Companies will have the opportunity to evaluate new functionalities in a fully comprehensive 5G system context. The tools used to achieve this include simulation and emulation in the lab as well as application specific 5G test beds within real mobile communications environments. This will enable companies and users from vertical markets to use and experience 5G and to test and optimize those applications and developments requiring 5G capabilities at an early stage.

The 5G Bavaria Initiative encompasses a test center at Fraunhofer IIS in Erlangen and various test beds in Bavaria.

© Fraunhofer IIS

Test center at Fraunhofer IIS in Erlangen

The test center at Fraunhofer IIS is an ideal starting point for the implementation of planned 5G applications. This is where simulations of new transmission technologies take place, to determine whether they will stand up to the requirements of the planned applications, for example, or to compare the performance of different technological approaches. A team of experts at Fraunhofer IIS is responsible for developing, maintaining and providing the simulation environments. Some of these environments are cloud-based and can be used anywhere in the world.

If the results of the simulation look promising, the developers have already cleared the first hurdle. The next step is emulation, which involves testing the mobile technologies in real time under the most realistic conditions possible. To this end, special software and hardware is used to recreate real-life transmission scenarios and conditions. Given that the process requires specific laboratory equipment, emulation of new transmission technologies is conducted in the lab at Fraunhofer IIS, supervised by the team of experts.

The upshot is that test center users receive timely feedback on the usability of 5G for their specific application, which then gives them time to work on any further improvements they identify.

Test beds in Bavaria

In addition to the 5G test center, Fraunhofer IIS prepares the setup and operation of an Industry 4.0 test bed in Nürnberg as well as an automotive test bed in Rosenheim. Moreover, a pilot study regarding a satellite test bed will be conducted.

The test beds serve to perform specific customer use cases with 5G technology on a trial basis. This helps to test the possibilities and limits of 5G even before its roll-out is completed. The 5G test environments feature real infrastructure such as highways and production facilities to enable the first 5G applications to be rolled out on a small-scale.

Research organizations, universities and businesses can use the test beds for field tests, and the test beds are also available for use in public research projects.

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