Home » Cutting-edge research in the Erzgebirge: DB and Chemnitz University of Technology complete 5G infrastructure in the “Digital Railway Test Field” | T…

Cutting-edge research in the Erzgebirge: DB and Chemnitz University of Technology complete 5G infrastructure in the “Digital Railway Test Field” | T…

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Cutting-edge research in the Erzgebirge: DB and Chemnitz University of Technology complete 5G infrastructure in the “Digital Railway Test Field” |  T…

TUCcurrent research

After Deutsche Bahn, Chemnitz University of Technology is now also putting its 5G research infrastructure into operation – research into the hybrid use of railway radio and mobile communications is possible for the first time

Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (from left), Dr. Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, Board Member for Digitalization and Technology at Deutsche Bahn, Dr. Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, Rolf Schmidt, Mayor of the city of Annaberg-Buchholz, and Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier, Rector of Chemnitz University of Technology, put the 5G infrastructure into operation with a symbolic push of a button. Photo: Deutsche Bahn/Tine Jurtz Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier, Rector of Chemnitz University of Technology, welcomed the guests in the northern head building of the Lower Train Station in Annaberg-Buchholz, which is an essential part of the new branch of Chemnitz University of Technology. Photo: Hans Günther Dr. Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport: “The 5G mobile communications standard will be a must in the future both for rail operations themselves and for passengers who expect high-quality mobile communications and a consistently stable, high-performance internet connection on the train.” Photo: Hans Günther Michael Kretschmer, Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony, emphasized that this future project would be a great benefit for the science location, for the entire region and for Chemnitz University of Technology. Photo: Hans Günther The mayor of the city of Annaberg-Buchholz, Rolf Schmidt, emphasized that in the Erzgebirge you can find the traditional will for future development and a strongly rooted spirit of research. Photo: Hans Günther Dr. Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, DB board member for digitalization and technology: “Digitalization makes the railway more reliable and therefore more attractive for our passengers. The heart of digitalization is the 5G-based railway radio FRMCS. On the Erzgebirgsbahn route, we are testing the communication system for the first time under real conditions and with a complete 5G infrastructure.” Photo: Hans Günther Alexander Saul, Managing Director of Corporate Customers at Vodafone Germany: “This technology is not available anywhere else in Europe.” Photo: Hans Günther Prof. Dr. Uwe Götze, Vice Rector for Transfer and Continuing Education at Chemnitz University of Technology, presented Chemnitz University of Technology‘s requirements for a 5G research network. Photo: Mario Steinebach Prof. Dr. Klaus Mößner, owner of the communications engineering professorship at Chemnitz University of Technology, expressed his enthusiasm for the demanding train route with its many test options during a train journey between Annaberg-Buchholz and Scheibeberg. Photo: Hans Günther

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(Annaberg-Buchholz, February 8, 2024) With the commissioning of additional modern 5G mobile networks, a complete 5G infrastructure is now available in the Erzgebirge between Annaberg-Buchholz and Schwarzenberg for future-oriented research, especially in the railway sector. Dr. Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport, Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer, Rolf Schmidt as Mayor of the city of Annaberg-Buchholz, Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier as Rector of the Chemnitz University of Technology and Dr. Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, board member for digitalization and technology at Deutsche Bahn, put the 5G infrastructure of the Chemnitz University of Technology (TU) into operation today with a symbolic push of a button. In doing so, they completed the 5G coverage in the “Rail Digital Test Field”.

For the first time in Germany, not only the future 5G railway radio, the “Future Railway Mobile Communication System” (FRMCS), can now be tested along the approximately 25 kilometer long test route of the Erzgebirgsbahn between Annaberg-Buchholz and Schwarzenberg. With the newly built 5G network structure at Chemnitz University of Technology, applications can now also be tested in which public mobile networks complement the FRMCS network in hybrid use.

Along the test route, 22 mobile stations, some of which have been newly built, provide 5G mobile communications, particularly for research purposes. A data center in the Annaberg-Buchholz lower train station receives, distributes and processes the data streams from the public, closed and private 5G networks within the 5G infrastructure with almost no delay. The construction and operation of the 5G infrastructure at Chemnitz University of Technology is the responsibility of the operator Vodafone. The Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV) has funded the development of the 5G network for FRMCS by Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the construction of the 5G infrastructure at Chemnitz University of Technology with a total of around 17.75 million euros.

Dr. Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport: “The digitalization of the transport system is a mammoth task that we are addressing with innovative ideas. At the Digital Railway Test Field here in the Ore Mountains, innovations are being developed that create important foundations for automation and digitalization in the railway sector. The 5G mobile communications standard will be a must in the future, both for rail operations themselves and for passengers who expect high-quality mobile communications and a consistently stable, high-performance internet connection on the train.”

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Michael Kretschmer, Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony: “Today is a good day for Germany as a research location, for Saxony and for rail travel of the future. The unique infrastructure now available here, in combination with practical research, will help to make further progress in this area. We see what is possible when we agree, work closely together and are committed to pursuing a goal. My thanks go to everyone who works here with such passion. I would also like to expressly thank the federal government, which is promoting and supporting this future project. It is a great benefit for the science location, for the entire region and for Chemnitz University of Technology.” Kretschmer also pointed out that a few years ago it was possible to locate the global Vodafone innovation center in Dresden. “This lighthouse shines once again on the Erzgebirge and the Saxon universities.”

Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier, Rector of Chemnitz University of Technology: “We are extremely pleased about the construction of a globally unique 5G infrastructure at the Chemnitz University of Technology branch in Annaberg-Buchholz. It is proof of what is possible when the federal government, state, local authorities, science and strong business partners pull together. With this step, our branch in Annaberg-Buchholz is not only a university location, but also a high-tech location where groundbreaking contributions are made to current future topics such as digitalization and the transport transition.”

Dr. Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, DB board member for digitalization and technology: “Digitalization makes the railway more reliable and therefore more attractive for our passengers. The heart of digitalization is the 5G-based railway radio FRMCS. On the Erzgebirgsbahn route, we are testing the communication system for the first time under real conditions and with a complete 5G infrastructure. In doing so, we are taking an important step towards the digitalized rail operations of the future and are also enabling our customers to have gigabit coverage on the train. Here in Annaberg-Buchholz we are making an important contribution to the strong rail system in Germany.”

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5G networks offer wireless voice and data connections with the bandwidth and speed of fiber optic connections. Current rail radio in Europe will therefore be gradually replaced in the coming years by FRMCS based on 5G technology, which enables data exchange between trains and infrastructure in real time and thus creates the basis for the digital and increasingly automated rail system. In addition to voice and train control information, FRMCS will realize data-intensive functions in the future, such as the transmission of video and sensor information from the train via 5G. The goal is also to process data close to the route with low latency.

There is currently no regular train traffic on the Erzgebirgsbahn test route between Annaberg-Buchholz and Schwarzenberg, so that new rail applications, for example for automated driving, video transmissions, digital maps or train diagnostics, can be tested under real conditions. The DB has already set up a 5G network for FRMCS testing over around ten kilometers in 2023. The topologically demanding route can be traveled at top speeds of 50 to 80 km/h. In addition to other trains, the “advanced TrainLab”, a former DB ICE train that is now used as a laboratory train, is regularly used for measurement runs on the route. In future tests along the route, the reliability, latency, handover, failure and resilience scenarios of various 5G mobile networks will also be researched and tested.

Chemnitz University of Technology is researching future areas of application in transport with different levels of automation and functions. B. their behavior in terms of latency and availability of 5G-based data transmission, the transmission of data in dynamically allocated resources (“slicing”), dynamic configuration options for network functions, cyber-secure transmission and processing of data and alternative location methods.

Multimedia: There is a TV report on MDR Sachsenspiegel here. And also in MDR Saxony radio report the inauguration is reported on.

Mario Steinebach
08.02.2024

All “TUCaktuell” reports
Note: Chemnitz University of Technology is present in many media. The media review gives an impression of how they report about the university.

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