Port of Tyne's 4G/5G Private Network

In an announcement last year, Port of Tyne, one of the UK’s biggest and most important ports, announced that they have gone live with 4G and 5G private network connectivity, bringing together their vision to become a leading smart port that is a model of safety, efficiency and sustainability. The press release said:

Together with partners BT and Ericsson, the Port has deployed a private network with coverage across the entire estate, making it the UK’s first site-wide deployment of 4G and 5G standalone connectivity for smart port applications. The infrastructure is built upon an Ericsson Private 5G solution and BT spectrum, whereby both 4G and 5G will operate simultaneously to support legacy devices as well as power new 5G applications in the port’s future transformation.

The first set of live use cases will begin in November, including video and sensors installed at each gate on the site to use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to securely manage and track vehicle access, as well as 5G-enabled cameras with a 360-degree view at the quayside combined with AI-driven software to provide automated container inspection and identification.

By deploying a private 5G wireless network, the port is positioning itself to integrate a series of future 5G applications and advanced technologies to support new customer requirements and enable the transition to a green smart port. These future applications include:

  • Autonomous Navigation Technology so that vehicles can move cargoes and equipment around the port
  • Remote crane operations that will enable operators to work from simulated cabs with precise location information, full HD+ video and sensory haptics
  • Connected drones at land and sea to autonomously inspect cranes, quayside, buoys and other physical infrastructure
  • Wearable technology and XR devices to be used for immersive training and remote maintenance engineers
  • A connected eco-system of AI sensors, video and data sources from inside and outside the port to generate new business intelligence and improve operational efficiency

The Port of Tyne also has an ambitious vision to become a leader in 5G maritime innovation and provide an industry eco-system testbed to help build a future blueprint of 5G-enabled smart applications to automate manual tasks, improve decision-making and reduce CO2 emissions.

Ericsson has a case study on this here and a bit of other technical details here.

The future of maritime industry innovation was further discussed by the Port of Tyne across three days from 7-9 November at Maritime Innovation Week 2023. A group presentation discussing the building of a blueprint for 5G in maritime is embedded below: 

The best place to learn more about private networks requirements and deployments in ports is at PortComms conference. PortComms 2024 takes place on 9-10 October 2024.

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