Port of Hamburg Becomes a 5G Testing Ground


Europe's third-largest container port has become the testing ground for 5G, the next generation mobile standard that is set to transform communications.

After six months of preparation, Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom and communication and technology giant Nokia have launched a testbed that stretches across some 8,000 hectares of port area.

The project has installed a base station, a central hub that allows connection to a network, on Hamburg’s 150-metre-tall television tower.

Port of Hamburg’s testbed is set up to test 5G applications in an industrial environment.

5G combines terrestrial and mobile networks to support a wide range of use cases that all have different speed, latency, security and capacity requirements.

It will play an important role in new application scenarios created by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, but telecommunications networks for industrial applications must be ultra-reliable and highly secure as well as support multiple use cases.

Jens Meier, CEO of the HPA, said: “5G offers a level of security, reliability and speed that current mobile networks are unable to match. It provides the HPA with a wholly new set of application options.

“The testbed allows us to study the future technology and co-shape the standard, which will not only benefit the port but the entire city of Hamburg.”

The application needs of the Port of Hamburg are diverse and the requirements on networks are particularly high as they co-ordinate applications such as port traffic lights and in the collection and processing of real time environmental data.

Learn about how Cisco and HPA worked together to make the Port of Hamburg better connected by reading the 'Using Secure IoT for Efficient Smart Port Operations' technical paper by Maciej Kranz, Vice President, Strategic Innovations, Cisco Systems


Frank Horch, State Minister for Economics, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg; Antje Williams, Telekom 5G Executive Program Manager; Jens Meier, CEO Hamburg Port Authority and Wilhelm Dresselhaus, Member NOKIA-management on Hamburg’s television tower where the 5G antennas are installed. Credit: HPA


Hamburg’s 5G trial network divides into virtual networks — so-called network slices — customized to meet specific port application needs as each slice delivers greater network flexibility and supports the port’s numerous and varied use cases.

The Port of Hamburg will be the first location in Germany to test a network with several slices under real life industrial conditions and will form part of the two-year 5G MoNArch research project.

This aims to put 5G mobile network architecture into practice by deploying 5G network slicing in real life test environments to help review and improve existing concepts.

While the testbed in Hamburg is primarily used to trial the integration of 5G into traffic and infrastructure management systems, the second testbed of the project in Turin focuses on multi-media applications.

As a 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP) Phase II project, 5G MoNArch is co-funded by Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Peter Merz, Head of End-to-End Mobile Network Solutions of Nokia Bell Labs, stated: “The 5G trial programme in the Port of Hamburg opens the door to a whole new world of business applications that have the potential to change a lot of sectors.

“The aim is to considerably speed up industrial processes and make them more flexible.

“We will test all that in Hamburg under real life conditions for the first time. The importance of the project simply cannot be overstated.”

Read more: Konecranes has signed a three-year cooperation agreement with data operator Ukkoverkot and Nokia for a private LTE mobile network leveraging 5G concepts and a global digital automation platform to benefit ports and large manufacturing operations

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