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Lufthansa Technik and Vodafone Business launch 5G private network

Lufthansa Technik and Vodafone Business have built a standalone private 5G campus network at the 8,500 square meters Lufthansa base at Hamburg Airport

Hamburg, 27 February 2020

Lufthansa Technik and Vodafone Business launched a standalone private 5G campus network in an aircraft hangar for the first time today.  This means Lufthansa Technik can now freely configure the network according to its needs, for example in relation to the upload and download speed of information required for its operations. Technicians can also use high-resolution virtual and augmented reality technologies to work even more precisely on the aircraft fuselages. As part of the private network, sensitive data is completely secured, as it does not leave the aircraft hangar.

“We believe the businesses that invest in new technologies today will be at the forefront tomorrow,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO, Vodafone Business “The European economy needs 5G to stay competitive in the future. That’s why we support our customers in bringing 5G to life as early as possible.  From factories, to ports and even airplane hangars, private 5G networks are flexible, scalable and can be tailored to their requirements, helping them achieve what they need”.

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Up to four very large aircrafts can park in the connected Lufthansa base at the same time, requiring very high bandwidth to manage the demand. With a capacity of more than one gigabit per second and latency times of less than ten milliseconds, the private 5G Stand Alone Standard (5G SA) network is the perfect solution.  In an industry first, the private network is also completely independent from the public one, from the server and the core, to the antenna. The data also never leaves the Lufthansa base; it is processed directly on site using multi-access edge computing (MEC) that allows real-time data flow. The 5G frequencies for this project were allocated to Lufthansa Technik by the Federal Network Agency. As a service and technology partner, Vodafone supports the 5G network during both activation and operation.

"Continuous innovation is part of our corporate DNA, which gives us the drive to constantly try new things," explains Sören Stark, Board Member for Technical Operations, Logistics and IT at Lufthansa Technik. “The first two use cases already show impressively the valuable contribution that 5G technology can make to the aerospace industry. In addition, it will pave the way for numerous new innovations at Lufthansa Technik that will benefit our company, our employees and also our customers. ”

During the 3-month joint 5G research  project between Lufthansa Technik and Vodafone Business, Lufthansa Technik is using virtual and augmented reality to visualise the 3D design of the cabin equipment in empty aircraft fuselages on tablets or other devices. This allows the technicians on site to check the current position of all planned components and work even more precisely. In addition, they can work with the component developers in the factories using collaborative video. This was not possible before launching the campus network, as the transfer of the extensive CAD data required high bandwidths, even inside the parked aircraft.

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After an evaluation of the test phase, the project is expected to be rolled out to other Lufthansa Technik divisions in the near future.

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