At the beginning of 2021, the city of Jena received funding approval in the 5G Innovation Program of the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV). For the project "5G traffic networking", which deals with the 5G-based networking of all types of traffic participants, Jena together with its cooperation partners received a top rating.
This was preceded by the BMDV's call in 2019 for concept ideas that address proposed solutions for concrete requirements of municipalities and communities based on 5G technology. In a further step in 2020, the BMDV called for these concept ideas to be further developed into concrete implementation projects, thus demonstrating corresponding innovation potentials of cooperation partnerships consisting of local authorities, small and medium-sized enterprises and research institutions. The BMDV has promised funding of up to €4 million per project for implementation within a three-year funding period.
The "5G traffic networking" project in Jena involves partners from regional business in Thuringia and Saxony (Data in Motion, INAVET), from research institutions (TU Dresden, HS Mittweida) and from local government and municipal companies (Kommunalservice Jena, Stadtwerke Jena Netze, Jenaer Nahverkehr).
The accompanying measures for the 5G network expansion were and are of major importance for the eligibility for funding as well as the further success of the project. The city of Jena contacted all mobile network operators active on the German market at an early stage and invited them to cooperate and develop a technological and strategic partnership as part of the 5G project and to strengthen the digital infrastructure in the city. With reference to the 5G project, this cooperation specifically aims to make 5G technology applicable in the urban area as early as possible and across the board in order to create an optimal coverage situation for the implementation of application development within the 5G project.
Since then, intensive technical and constructive cooperation has developed at working level within the framework of this associated partnership and project work, with Telekom already being the first mobile network operator ever to ensure comprehensive 5G network coverage in the Jena city area and neighboring communities by June 2020.
Benjamin Koppe, the department head responsible for the project, explains: "In the interests of providing services of general interest to its citizens, the city of Jena would like to go beyond the project and actively support network operators by simplifying administrative processes, providing geo-referenced data and offering to make municipal properties available for further mobile network expansion if they are suitable in terms of radio technology. To achieve this goal, negotiations with the Telekom subsidiary DFMG, among others, to conclude a corresponding framework agreement were negotiated and approved by the Jena City Council."
"In particular, the '5G traffic networking' funding project is receiving a wide range of additional support from Telekom beyond the establishment of initial 5G mobile coverage in the Jena urban area. Two sub-projects under the umbrella of '5G traffic networking' are now being tested under real-world operating conditions in the Jena urban area following the simulation and laboratory testing phase," reports project manager Dorothea Prell. Deutsche Telekom has provided the corresponding terminals and 5G data connections for this purpose. The respective clients in traffic are thus connected to each other or to a central data instance, the so-called Sensinact data broker, in real time.
"The forward-looking and coordinated approach together with Telekom creates a win-win situation in the best sense for both partners involved. A forward-looking coordinated mobile network expansion goes hand in hand with the development of 5G-based applications, which in turn address specific requirements of the city of Jena. Solutions in the sense of services of general interest are created that offer advantages not only for citizens, but also for commuters or all types of road users," explains Benjamin Koppe.
"The city of Jena approached us at an early stage and provided us with great support for the network rollout. As a result, we were able to deploy the 5G network in Jena very quickly," says Dr. Peter Unger from Telekom Technik. "Through the applications, we can jointly demonstrate the important task that well-developed mobile networks have. We need the support of the cities and communities for the network expansion."
Since the end of May 2022, measurement technology and a 5G router from Mittweida University of Applied Sciences have been operated under real-life conditions in the Westbahnhof transformer station of Stadtwerke Jena Netze. As part of the "Energy and Load Flow Optimization" sub-project, the measurement technology is used to record the current degree of utilization of the transformer station. For this purpose, values such as voltage, current and power are transmitted in real time via 5G. With the help of this information, the charging device connected to the transformer station for e-buses of the Jena local public transport system will be able to release the optimum power in the future without placing an unnecessarily high load on the transformer station or limiting the charging power of the e-bus too high. The selection of the correct charging power already takes place before the charging process begins and, in addition to the "power parameters" of the transformer station, also takes into account information from the e-bus (planned/actual departure and arrival at charging facility, filling level of the battery, etc.). Only by exchanging all relevant data via 5G in real-time communication with a particularly high "Quality of Service" can the city-wide "energy and load flow optimization" be implemented. In the next few months, the Burgau depot of Jena's public transport system will be equipped with 5G measurement technology to optimize the charging processes of the e-buses on the depot grounds.