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AGH University with its own 5G network

A decorative image which is supposed to be associated with a 5G network; a vision of a network connecting points on a planet

AGH University with its own 5G network

The AGH University is one of very few in Poland to obtain a radio permit from the Office of Electronic Communications to use a private 5G network.

The launch of the 5G network is a result of a finished project “National Laboratory for Advanced 5G Research: PL-5G” implemented by a consortium consisting of the AGH University, the Warsaw University of Technology (leader of the project), the Institute of Telecommunications – National Research Institute, the Wrocław University of Science, and Technology, Gdańsk Tech, and the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center affiliated to the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The overarching goal of the project was to create research infrastructure unique on the Polish scale for conducting practical research on 5G technologies and services.

As emphasised by Professor Jerzy Lis, the AGH University Rector:

“The significance of this project for the dynamic development of technology is enormous. In the near future we may anticipate common implementations of 5G solutions in national operator networks, which will result in a significant development of modern but also previously inaccessible services. Private 5G networks, which will be created by companies and local governments in the coming years, are also expected to grow rapidly. Thus, the 5G network at our university will allow us to carry out a number of tests, studies, and analyses that are relevant from both the operator's and the end user's point of view – such as data transmission delay, speed of transmitted information, possibility of using artificial intelligence algorithms, and connectivity between devices, all in advance."

Under the project, which had a total budget of nearly PLN 225 million (the AGH University had a budget of about PLN 25 million), the university created four laboratories located in the Institute of Telecommunications (Faculty of Computer Science, Electronics, and Telecommunications):

  • 5G network laboratory,
  • Laboratory of 5G simulators and measurement tools,
  • 5G environment laboratory as regards the IoT,
  • 5G environment laboratory as regards multimedia research. 

 As explained by Professor Marek Natkaniec of the Institute of Telecommunications, who coordinated the construction of the laboratories and the implementation of 5G networks at the AGH University:

“Each of our four laboratories is adapted to provide a range of services related to 5G networks. We purchased more than 1,000 devices related to 5G technology, which allowed us to prepare dozens of different laboratory stations. The list of proposed services seems to be endless. Thus, we will be able to conduct world-class research taking advantage of the access to a fully functional 5G backbone and access network, programmable radio equipment, a data storage and processing centre, a 5G network created based on components from various OpenRAN-type manufacturers, various 5G client terminals, and traffic generators. With the deployment of such extensive test stands, we are also able to provide commercial services related to the access to professional diagnostic equipment, radio and virtual space signal attenuation chambers, as well as equipment that allows us to perform objective, quality, and performance measurements of 5G networks.”

All units involved in the project have been connected to each other by the so-called 5G network core. The created inter-regional network works, unlike the 5G operator networks launched in our country so far, based on 5G Standalone (SA) architecture, which means it can operate independently of previous generations of mobile networks. The network launched at the AGH University makes it possible to distribute resources for individuals or services based on the so-called network slicing, which will be of great importance in industry and business. Moreover, the AGH University has also launched a 5G network in the millimetre wave range, which will allow prototyping and testing of new services related to, among other things, precise localisation, access to virtual and augmented reality, control of industrial robots, and all other services requiring very high throughput. The AGH University has also installed a dedicated UPF (User Plane Function) server, which allows for very fast processing of information close to the user, reducing system response delay to as low as 1ms (from the 5ms achieved in typical 5G networks). The university is also the only unit in the consortium to deploy eight 5G network transmitters inside the building, which will enable scientific research related to optimising cell switching as well as the performance of experiments regardless of weather conditions.

The 5G network, from the point of view of a cell phone user, is the fifth generation of telecommunications networks and follows the development of the fourth-generation LTE network commonly used by operators. The latest generation of networks is also a response to the ever-increasing data transmission and network connectivity of a growing number of devices. For the end-user, this translates into a faster connection and more comfort in using smartphones, computers, laptops, and TVs. For entire communities, this means a smoother operation in terms of providing online services, serving businesses, hospitals, schools, and research centres.

The permission to use 5G was given to the project members until 2028.