Ferrovial has deployed at London’s Silvertown road tunnel project what it says is the UK’s first operational 5G SA (standalone) private wireless network.
The network was deployed in partnership with Nokia and Telent for work on the tunnel under the River Thames that will connect the Greenwich Peninsula and 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 5G SA solution and the Ofcom shared spectrum (n77 3.8-4.2Ghz).
A 25-year design, build, finance, operate and maintain contract includes the design of a 1.4km twin-bore tunnel under the River Thames as well as 0.6km of access ramps. When it opens in 2025, users of it as well as the Blackwall Tunnel will pay an as yet undecided toll amount.
Ferrovial’s 5G network for Silvertown is already operative and will be soon extended to the other side of the Thames to ensure total connectivity at the worksites. An Open RAN approach will be followed for the extension using equipment from different vendors to be orchestrated through Neutroon’s platform, a solution that allows management of all network from a single place, easily transforming connectivity (Wi-Fi, LTE, 5G) into smart connectivity through apps.
The Silvertown Tunnel project is being delivered on behalf of Transport for London by the Riverlinx Construction Joint Venture comprising BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction and SK Ecoplant. The network will improve wireless connectivity within the tunnel and boost site communications, access management and perimeter control. It will also enhance environmental monitoring of the project and provide real-time visualisation of construction progress.
Ferrovial noted that, in future, the technological will make it possible to design construction projects combining the Internet of Things, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics. It will also help coordinate the work of infrastructure companies related to 5G networks. The network will allow for “great advances in the way we design, build and manage projects, making them safer, more efficient and more sustainable”, said Dimitris Bountolos, innovation officer at Ferrovial.
A video of the project is available on the Transport for London website; click here.
Ferrovial has also implemented other initiatives involving 5G technology. These include projects such as AIVIA, an initiative to develop 5G smart roads with advanced oversight, sensorisation and simulation technology, in partnership with Microsoft, 3M, Kapsch TrafficCom and Capgemini. The project includes road infrastructure technologies to improve the traveller experience in such areas as safety, reliable travel times and on-board access to infotainment.