UK millimetre wave system developer Blu Wireless Technology is upgrading its mmWave technology used in a trail network in Liverpool, UK, to add dynamic mesh networking and 5G small cells alongside existing low power LoRaWaN links.
The trial network for the ‘Liverpool 5G Create’ project in and around Kensington, Liverpool, was set up in 2018 to support 5G enabled health, social care and education applications for the local community.
The hybrid network uses a mmWave back-haul to connect low power, long range LoRaWaN sensor gateways and now adds a 5G small cell network with roaming capability from London-based private network operator Telet Research. Blu Wireless develops the chip designs for the modems as well as the software, and integrates mmWave radio modules from other vendors to supply full network nodes.
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“We used the Liverpool deployment as a chance to refine and advance the development of our mmWave networking products. New features, introduced as part of the Liverpool 5G project, that are finding their way into other projects, include new generations of hardware, extended range through multi-hops and the integration with 5G small cells,” said Neill Young, Technical Marketing Manager and Smart City Lead at Blu Wireless, based in Bristol.
This year, the project will also focus on education by supplying 5G support to local schools, homeschoolers, and Kensington Community Centre.
The upgrade will include two modems and antenna systems per node to support higher bandwidth mesh networking via independent channels, as well as improved mounting and environmental protection. This will support fully dynamic mesh capability so that network traffic can be rerouted if the line of sight link for a signal is blocked and so opens up more options for placing the wireless nodes.
A key step is the integration of the 5G small cell nodes. “This integration is vital as mmWave technology can support the creation of wireless mesh networks in indoor and outdoor areas, which can be implemented to address the connectivity needs of cities and communities,” said Young. “Connecting sub 6-GHz 5G networks via mmWave access and backhaul opens up a whole range of new opportunities in dense, urban areas and enterprise deployments, including delivering 5G enabled critical public services, and accelerating the roll-out of IoT applications essential for smart cities.”
The wider Liverpool 5G Create project is testing out a range of technologies, from an AI-supported mobile pressure ulcer monitor and a ‘haptic hug’ for people at care homes to sensors to prevent falls as well as 5G support for education and community groups.
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