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Spirent and Midlands Future Mobility establish 5G research network

Spirent Communications, a provider of test, assurance and analytics solutions for next-generation devices and networks, is significantly expanding its work with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick via the Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) initiative in the United Kingdom.

MFM will work with Spirent to deploy 5G digital twin technology, which emulates 5G network connectivity for testing in a controlled environment, within a 3xD drive-in simulator operated by WMG, the University’s automotive and manufacturing research group. It will represent the first emulated 5G standalone core network dedicated to researching next-gen mobile use cases, including connected automated mobility, in almost unlimited testing scenarios.

“A full understanding of future 5G-enabled industries and how to operationalise them for business and consumer usage is now possible in a safe, controlled environment,” said Dr. Matthew Higgins, Associate Professor at WMG. “We’ll be able to test with near-limitless potential. For instance, determining how an intelligent vehicle, drone or manufacturing robot would perform on a 5G network that millions of people are using at the same time – a near impossibility on the live 5G networks today that cannot offer an accurate picture of traffic to be expected at saturation years from now.”

MFM will be both a digital and real-world (480km of public roads) ecosystem serving as a springboard for scalable, future mobility technologies and services. It will facilitate access to diverse, public physical test environments with smart monitoring, the latest wireless connectivity and a complete support network. The 5G standalone core network and MFM’s broader 5G program will help industry sectors, including automotive, manufacturing and telecommunications, jumpstart testing applications and processes in both digital and real-world scenarios. Digital twin technology will enable full control and customization to more effectively facilitate engagement and scope future user requirements on real roads.

“5G is rolling out across major cities globally and nearly every industry wants to fast-track the ability to harness these new networks to push the edge of innovation,” said Head of 5G Strategy at Spirent, Stephen Douglas. “Understanding fully how 5G networks can be optimized in support of new use cases through cost-effective testing and emulation is being made possible by Midlands Future Mobility. We’re privileged to be working with MFM on this important initiative that will keep the UK at the forefront of cutting-edge research for connected and automated Mobility.”

Researchers and commercial entities will be able to work with MFM to safely and confidently amass volumes of data from emerging use case experimentation that correlates precisely with a live 5G network’s behavior. This includes everything from determining the maximum responsiveness of autonomous vehicle applications to testing how a robot connected to the network can accelerate a manufacturing task with minimal latency in a safe, reliable and secure manner. In its latest work with MFM, Spirent is providing foundational emulation and testing technologies from Landslide core network validation solution, with the anticipation to eventually include additional components.

Author
Neil Tyler

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