TU Ilmenau builds 5G mobile network for cutting-edge research and teaching

Hand hält Smartphone mit 5G SymbolQuality Stock Arts/stock.adobe.com
TU Ilmenau is setting up a wireless network on its university campus based on the latest, high-performance 5G mobile communications standard

The Technische Universität Ilmenau is building a wireless network on its campus based on the latest, high-performance 5G mobile communications standard. The large-scale research project, which will start on January 1, 2024, will enable the university to conduct research and teaching at the highest international level - for example in the fields of autonomous driving, medical technology and automated production. The project has a total volume of 860,000 euros and is set to run for three years. It is 90% financed by the Thuringian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Science and Digital Society with funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The flexible 5G mobile network, which will enable nationwide mobile signal transmission on the TU Ilmenau campus, will be available to all scientists at the university for research and experimental purposes in the future. Over the next three years, a high-performance outdoor and indoor network will be set up for this purpose - in the outdoor area via nine radio cells covering large parts of the university campus.

Project manager Prof. Andreas Mitschele-Thiel, Head of the Group for Integrated Communication Systems, is confident that the new technical infrastructure will open up completely new possibilities for research at TU Ilmenau: "The technology that we are building on our university campus makes radio transmissions with super-fast data rates of several gigabits per second and extremely low latency possible, i.e. delay times of just one to five milliseconds. In contrast to the predecessor standard 4G, this enables reliable data transmission even in real time and therefore highly ambitious research projects in a wide range of areas." In autonomous driving, for example, research projects on road safety have completely new possibilities: Collisions between vehicles could be avoided with maximum reliability, as could accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians.

Luftbild vom Campus der TU IlmenauTU Ilmenau/Hajo Dietz
The Campus of the TU Ilmenau

The 5G standard also offers new opportunities for medicine, for example in new applications for collaborative medical training operations, where low latency is crucial to ensure smooth collaboration in virtual space. This also allows complex operations to be tested virtually with multiple users at different locations, offering new opportunities for collaboration, training and medical education.

In the field of automated production, 5G makes "Productive Teaming" possible - a completely new concept of human/machine interaction that will enable people and intelligent machines to coordinate their actions empathically and thus organize the entire production process as a real team. In order for humans and machines to work together smoothly, the machine must be able to act and react to human actions without delay. Only with a 5G network can the data collected by the sensors that monitor the teaming area be transmitted without delay. Such sensors and sensor networks are being developed at TU Ilmenau.

Portrait von Prof. Andreas Mitschele-ThielTU Ilmenau/Michael Reichel
Prof. Andreas Mitschele-Thiel, Leiter des Fachgebiets Integrierte Kommu-nikationssysteme und Leiter des „6G Campus Ilmenau“-Projekts

The 5G campus network will not only benefit research at TU Ilmenau, it will also open up new opportunities for teaching. In future, for example, students will no longer only be able to learn about modern mobile radio systems in theory in the lecture hall. They will also be able to carry out practical experiments in a state-of-the-art 5G mobile communications network, for example to investigate the effects of changes to the network configuration on the network's performance parameters.

In the future, there are plans to make the new 5G network available to university staff and students as a supplement to the university's Wi-Fi network. The highly reliable real-time communication will then enable them to use augmented reality applications or make music together in different locations, for example.

By setting up a 5G network, TU Ilmenau is not only driving forward the use of the 5G mobile communications standard in Thuringia, it is also making the state's high-tech industry fit for the future in the field of state-of-the-art mobile networks. Prof. Andreas Mitschele-Thiel and his research team have designed the 5G project in such a way that it can be flexibly extended to the future, even more powerful 6G standard: "Then we will reduce latency to a tenth and achieve transmission rates that exceed 5G by a factor of fifty". And he adds with a grin: "Because of its flexibleflexible expansion capability, we have already taken the liberty of calling the 5G project '6G Campus Ilmenau' - because 6G will not be introduced until 2030."



Prof. Andreas Mitschele-Thiel
Head of the Group for Integrated
Communication Systems
+49 3677 69-2819