Ferrovial deploys UK’s first 5G private wireless network

by Liam Turner
A futuristic-looking tunnel

Ferrovial has deployed the UK’s first operational 5G SA (standalone) private wireless network at one of its flagship infrastructure projects in London.

The network has been deployed in partnership with Nokia and Telent at the Silvertown Tunnel project, which connects the Greenwich Peninsula to the Silvertown district in East London.

Ferrovial will become its own 5G mobile operator for the Silvertown construction site using the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (Nokia DAC) 5G SA solution and the Ofcom shared spectrum (n77 3.8-4.2Ghz).

The network, already in operation, will soon be extended to the other side of the Thames to ensure global connectivity at the worksites.

An Open RAN approach will be followed for the extension using equipment from different vendors that will be orchestrated through Neutroon’s platform – which allows the managing of all network from one place.

Commenting on the development, Dimitris Bountolos, Information and Innovation officer at Ferrovial, said: “This milestone reinforces Ferrovial’s position to lead the digital transformation of the Construction sector.

“5G networks provide unique advantages when implementing other technologies.

“These combined enable great advances in the way we design, build and manage projects, therefore making them safer, more efficient, and more sustainable.”

Through this initiative, Ferrovial is aiming to enhance the Silvertown project’s communications network and provide site-wide, ubiquitous, and reliable connectivity.

The private 5G network will be used as an innovation test bed for selected use cases.

The Silvertown Tunnel project is being delivered on behalf of Transport for London (TfL) by the Riverlinx Construction JV, which comprises BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction, and SK Ecoplant.

Karl Goose, managing director of Ferrovial Construction UK & Ireland, said: “This initiative is a prime example of how Ferrovial Construction is able to bring additional value to our UK clients, supply chain and teams by working with our global parent company, Ferrovial, on industry-changing innovation projects.

“The Silvertown Tunnel project is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the benefits that this level of connectivity will bring for UK construction and I look forward to seeing the results.”

At present, the solution has been integrated and connectivity is available in the southern part of the Silvertown site, located on the Greenwich Peninsula.

It is expected to reach the northern area, located on the opposite bank of the River Thames, in the next few months.

Gerard Donohue, chief technical officer at Telent, said: “This 5G Private Network project for Ferrovial builds on our well-established history and expertise of designing, building, supporting and managing best-in-class mission critical networks.

“Private 5G networks offer the reliability of an ethernet connection with the flexibility of a wireless connection.

“In addition to deployments such as this in construction, the technology is ideal for applications including manufacturing facilities, logistics and distribution centres, transport hubs, container ports and campus environments.”

Phil Siveter, Nokia country CEO for UK&I, added: “By deploying an industrial-grade private 5G wireless network, Ferrovial is building the foundation for its digital transformation journey to Industry 4.0.

“Our Nokia 5G Standalone DAC solution provides the scalability, reliability and performance that’s needed on large construction sites to improve communication and collaboration amongst the field team and management, enabling them to be more productive and efficient while working in a safer environment.”

Chris Gehlen, CEO and co-founder at Neutroon, said: “A long-term project of this scale today must have the latest technology to be a futureproof innovation.

“Having a private 5G connection is a key point not only for a more efficient and safer construction, but also to make the future of the autonomous and connected car a reality.

“For Neutroon as a company, being able to provide its expertise to Ferrovial in the implementation of private 5G networks is a great step forward, which validates our product and market vision.”

Image: kkssr/Shutterstock


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