Volkswagen’s main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany now has a private 5G Standalone wireless network, thanks to Nokia. The network is operating in the dedicated 3.7-3.8 GHz band for local private wireless networks that the carmaker was allocated by the Federal Network Agency.
According to the vendor, the industrial-grade private 5G wireless network, which uses the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) solution, will provide “reliable, secure, real-time connectivity and enable Volkswagen to trial new smart factory use cases.”
The Nokia DAC solution provides high-bandwidth and low-latency connectivity for sensors, machines, vehicles and other equipment. Volkswagen will initially use the solution to test wireless upload of data to manufactured vehicles and intelligent networking of robots and wireless assembly tools. In addition, all data will remain on the campus, where it will be processed at the network edge in real time.
“By deploying private wireless to explore and develop its potential in manufacturing, Volkswagen underscores its leading position in leveraging digitalization to enhance efficiency and productivity,” commented Chris Johnson, head of Global Enterprise business for Nokia. “We are delighted to support this effort with the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud and our extensive experience in private wireless networks.”
The pilot network will allow Volkswagen to test whether 5G technology helps the company meet the demanding requirements of vehicle production, as well as increases efficiency and flexibility in series production of the future.
“Predictable wireless performance and the real-time capabilities of 5G have great potential for smart factories in the not-so-distant future. With this pilot deployment, we are exploring the possibilities 5G has to offer and are building our expertise in operating and using 5G technology in an industrial context,” said Dr.-Ing. Klaus-Dieter Tuchs, network planning at Volkswagen.
Nokia’s work with Volkswagen at its main German plant aligns with the vendor’s private 5G ambitions, as reported by German newspaper Handelsblatt in 2019. The company said at the time that it expects to provide 5G networks for German companies following the opening of the application procedure for local firms intending to use 5G frequencies on industrial campuses, highlighting not only its intention to offer its service for network planning, but also aims to operate the networks.
Nokia’s private network reach extends beyond Germany of course. The vendor has worked with industrial-type partners on LTE, 5G-ready and IP/MPLS networks around the world including at the Zeebrugge port in Belgium, the Irish Aviation Authority and the Société du Grand Paris (SGP), the state owned industrial company responsible for the Grand Paris Express metro project.