Industry 4.0

Berlin-based Fraunhofer Institutes launch real-time 5G communications infrastructure

As one of the first operational distributed 5G standalone campus networks in Germany with heterogeneous radio technology, it is intended to serve as a test environment for future real-time capable edge cloud applications in Industry 4.0.

The distributed campus networks use fiber optic connections to link an edge cloud at Fraunhofer HHI with Fraunhofer FOKUS and with an extensive machine park as well as 5G radio cells at Fraunhofer IPK in real time. The edge cloud acts as a platform for both the 5G core network (Fraunhofer FOKUS' Open5GCore) and the artificial intelligence (AI)-based software for evaluating sensor data (HHI) and controlling the machines (IPK).

All three Berlin sites feature the IEEE Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) standard for wired real-time communication as well as 5G campus networks. This setup of networked and distributed network infrastructure including machinery offers unique conditions for innovative, realistic proof-of-concept demonstrations. The communication infrastructure is now available to customers and partners from industry and research for joint projects.

"With the infrastructure consisting of a 5G network and edge cloud, we at Fraunhofer IPK have the opportunity to determine the requirements for automation technology in an industry-oriented environment. This allows us to pursue targeted development. Based on the experience gained, we can provide our partners from industry with the best possible advice on the use of similar infrastructure," says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Krüger, head of the Automation Technology division at Fraunhofer IPK.