Testbeds & trials

5G SubConnect

  • Started on 1 Nov 2021
  • Completed on 31 Mar 2022

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The project is supported by DCMS and was carried out by the University of Strathclyde and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT).

Subway maintenance in the Glasgow Subway comprises essentially two main activities:

  1. Periodic inspection of the subway stations, tunnels, traction power supply equipment, and the fleet of rolling stock to assess the current state of assets and infrastructure as part of an ongoing monitoring process to identify areas in need of repair or replacement;
  2. Carrying out the repair or replacement of assets that have been identified as problematic or potentially problematic.

5G SubConnect was borne out of the successful completion of the international collaborative project 5G RailNext, which was completed in March 2021.

5G RailNext aimed to demonstrate the potential of 5G-enabled internet connectivity for passengers travelling on trains in the subway. In addition, the project explored innovative methods of delivering advertising content and infotainment using 5G connectivity and Augmented/Mixed Reality (AR/MR) applications. The project also involved collaboration with an engineering research team from South Korea who developed a complementary connectivity solution for the Seoul Metro.

Within 5G RailNext, the StrathSDR team was responsible for the design, installation, testing and trial of a 5G-enabled end-to-end connectivity solution in the Glasgow subway. The network was a private Mobile Hotspot Network (MHN) comprising a private 5G link connecting track to train, offloading to an on-board Wi-Fi network for end-user connectivity. The overall network topology is illustrated in Figure 2.1.

The 5G network was deployed at Buchanan St station and during the trial was able to provide coverage to a test train travelling on the outer circle between Buchanan St and St Enoch’s stations. During the trial, participants on the train were able to connect to the internet and interact with the infotainment and AR/MR applications.

The 5G network was one of the first deployments of a 5G Standalone (SA) in the UK and was comprised of three components – a 5G Packet core (5GPC), a 5G Basestation (BS) or gNodeB (gNB), and a 5G SA modem or User Equipment (UE). Unlike Non-Standalone (NSA) networks, a 5G SA network consists of only 5G components and does not rely on a 4G anchor.

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