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Orange Belgium has established an innovation hub in the Port of Antwerp and is the first operator, with the collaboration of several industrial partners, to test real-life 5G applications. Thanks to a stand-alone 5G network the partners can discover the full potential of 5G.
5G offers companies a host of extra possibilities, not available with the current 3G or 4G standards.
What does 5G have to offer?
- Higher speeds, 10 to 100 times faster than 4G
- Theoretical latency of just 7 milliseconds
- Improved consistency of the connection
- Connection with up to 1 million devices per km2, with ample possibilities for IoT applications, Smart Wearables and sensor networks
- More efficient energy use
- More accurate location determination
Stand-alone or not?
With 5G there is a fundamental distinction between stand-alone versus non-stand-alone networks. With the non-stand-alone version the new 5G technology is built as an extension to the (existing) 4G infrastructure. This is the simplest method for rolling out 5G for initial implementations, but it may limit performance.
A stand-alone network uses a new network instead of the (existing) 4G network. This is the type of network that is being installed in the Port of Antwerp. In general, a stand-alone network can handle greater diversity in traffic and support more applications with different network requirements, such as greater bandwidth or low latency.
What does the project entail?
What makes Orange’s 5G project in the port of Antwerp so special and interesting?
Collaboration between a variety of business partners, from industrial players like Borealis and Covestro, to consultancy firms like Deloitte.
- Actual cases
The 5G test project utilises real 5G use cases on a stand-alone 5G network. This means that all partners can discover the possibilities of 5G in real life.
- Reliable service custom-tailored to industry
A major difference between stand-alone and non-stand-alone is the fact that a stand-alone network enables what is known as ‘network slicing’. This ensures a reliable, high-quality service, crucial in a production environment where the risk of possible mistakes must be kept to an absolute minimum.
The new 5G network is regarded as the driving force behind the concept of Industry 4.0. In other words, the applications made possible by 5G are particularly important in industry; these are exactly the applications Orange Belgium wants to test in the Port of Antwerp.
The scale of the project, never attempted by any operator in Belgium, demanded a 5G hub that the Port of Antwerp made available. Under the motto ‘Start walking 5G’ all partners can discover the extensive possibilities and the implementation of 5G. As a result, the project fosters innovation in the partners’ own field.
The Orange Industry 4.0 Campus was initially powered by seven sites in the Port of Antwerp. Since June, fourteen sites have gone operational, offering coverage in different locations in and around the port of Antwerp (for a total coverage area of 150 km²). The presence of major players with an interest in industrial 5G applications makes the port a highly suitable location for such an initiative.