Nokia, ABB and Kalmar, part of Cargotec, announced on November 14 that they successfully conducted industrial trials that leverage the low latency capabilities of 5G to support time-critical applications and enhance protection and efficiency in smart electricity grid and harbor automation. The trials, conducted as part of the Wireless for Verticals (WIVE) research project, represent one of the first real-world applications of time-critical 5G applications on electricity grid and harbor automation.
URLLC (ultra-reliable low latency communications) has been identified as one of the three main usage scenarios for 5G due to its ability to transmit data, within a few milliseconds or less, with high reliability. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has standardized the first version of URLLC solutions as part of the Rel-15 New Radio (NR) work.
In the first trial, Nokia and ABB demonstrated how URLLC technology can be applied to protection applications in medium-voltage distribution networks. It is of the utmost importance that severe faults are cleared immediately to keep the distribution network running, guaranteeing the safety of personnel and avoiding damage to equipment. The trial confirmed that 5G/URLLC fulfils latency requirements set by protection applications.
In the second trial, Nokia and Kalmar successfully demonstrated the ability of URLLC technology to advance container yard automation. Reliable and low-latency messages are required, for example, in safety related messages.
“Managing power distribution networks with an increasing amount of distributed energy resources and an increasing need of flexibility requires advanced technology for protection, control and monitoring. The 5G URLLC technology provides an affordable communication platform for deployment of these advanced technologies. The results of the WIVE project are encouraging for future utility-scale implementation of 5G,” said Petri Hovila, program manager at ABB.
Automation research Director Pekka Yli-Paunu from Kalmar, said: “Network slicing in 5G networks brings a higher level of predictability and control for our safety-related applications. 5G connections should work at the same level of reliability, latency, and bandwidth as cables and its management should be simple enough.”
Mikko Uusitalo, Head of wireless advanced technologies research at Nokia, said: “Industry collaboration is essential in fostering innovation around 5G and for enabling different industries to take full advantage of the promises of 5G, especially the low latency combined with high reliability. The WIVE project has provided us with greater insight into the requirements and opportunities for experimentation to test our solutions. In this project, Nokia created concepts of how to make 5G URLLC possible and implemented some of these technologies as a prototype that has been tested. It is great to see the solutions moving towards reality.”
Tomi Sarajisto, Research Manager from Telia Company’s emerging businesses unit Division X said: “Within the WIVE project we are working with participating companies to accelerate the industrial revolution in Finland. Telia has explored new areas where 5G solutions will most likely produce breakthroughs in introducing new, more effective processes. In the trials we studied how lightning-fast 5G will advance electricity grid infrastructure protection and harbor automation.”
“Aalto University has been studying opportunities of 5G technologies in smart grids. A particular focus has been on protection and fault location applications and in packet core performance. We are thrilled about the economic potential that 5G technologies bring to the industrial internet, where low latency and reliable communications are key to elements like safety and automation, remote control of moving machines and distributed green power generation and storage,” said Raimo Kantola, Professor at Aalto University Department of Communications and Networking.
“VTT has examined URLLC requirements for different vertical use cases, and utilized 5G Test Network Finland testbed facilities to both implement and validate different URLLC solutions. Within the project, VTT has collaborated with WIVE partners to build a latency measurement setup to test and develop communication-critical components already in their prototyping stage for grid protection and container yard automation,” said Seppo Horsmanheimo, Principal Scientist at VTT.
The WIVE project is co-funded by Business Finland and involves several industry research units and academic partners such as Nokia, Teleste, Telia, ABB, Kalmar, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), Digita, regulator FICORA, key Finnish universities as well as VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.