Covid has stalled output in many sectors, Liverpool 5G Create, alongside Blu Wireless, has created new IP (intellectual property) to help a range of industries thrive beyond the pandemic. The Liverpool 5G Create project, part of the DCMS-funded 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, built a private, independent 5G network in and around Kensington, Liverpool, to support 5G enabled health, social care and education applications for the local community.
Partners, Blu Wireless, developed unique mmWave technology for the Liverpool 5G project, to provide coverage in densely populated city streets. Liverpool 5G’s ‘network-of-networks’ is itself a unique technology. A hybrid consolidation, it uses mmWave back-haul, LoRaWan, and more recently, Telet Research’s 5G small cell network and roaming technologies. Designed using a bespoke simulation-based network planning tool and supporting multiple, innovative health applications, the project has already generated significant new IP.
Neill Young, Technical Marketing Manager and Smart City Lead at Blu Wireless, says the Liverpool project has been a great proving ground for how the mmWave networking equipment performs in a dense, urban environment: “We used the Liverpool deployment as a chance to refine and advance the development of our mmWave networking products. New features, introduced as part of the Liverpool 5G project, that are finding their way into other projects, include new generations of hardware, extended range through multi-hops and the integration with 5G small cells.
This is great news in terms of Liverpool 5G Create’s success, but also proves its legacy beyond its government-funding as a viable, commercial entity. The creation of multiple new IP such as copyrights, patents, or trademarks, indicates a business is developing market-ready innovations to generate revenue and potential opportunities across other businesses or industries.
Upgrading and expanding Liverpool’s independent, private 5G network continues apace. This year, the project will also focus on education by supplying 5G support to local schools, homeschoolers, and Kensington Community Centre. Blu Wireless continues to upgrade the mmWave network in Liverpool (deployed during the original DCMS funded 2018 Testbed and Trials Programme) with its latest generation of wireless networking modules, whilst Telet Research adds its small cell network for 5G user and device access.
This generational upgrade, carried out by Blu Wireless, allows for more flexible deployments by including two modems and antenna systems per node, as well as improved mounting and environmental protection. The network range is extended by transferring data across multi-hops, so that hard-to-reach areas can have multi-gigabit access and backhaul network speeds without needing line-of-sight across the network. This will extend to fully dynamic mesh capabilities, meaning that traffic paths can be rerouted if a signal is blocked by, for example, a truck parking in front of a node.
Perhaps the project’s most significant development is the integration and deployment of 5G small cells, used by operators to create 5G wireless networks for consumers. Neill Young further explains: “This integration is vital as mmWave technology can support the creation of wireless mesh networks in indoor and outdoor areas, which can be implemented to address the connectivity needs of cities and communities. Connecting sub 6-GHz 5G networks via mmWave access and backhaul opens up a whole range of new opportunities in dense, urban areas and enterprise deployments, including delivering 5G enabled critical public services, and accelerating the roll-out of IoT applications essential for smart cities.”
Liverpool 5G Create supports a range of health, social care, and education applications including: an anti-anxiety app for younger children (on wearables); AI-supported mobile pressure ulcer monitor; a ‘haptic hug’ for people at care homes; sensors to prevent falls; and 5G support for education and community groups. The 5G connectivity is provided free to people taking part in the project, reducing the digital divide, and ensuring the community has equal access to the life-changing technologies they need.