Paving the way for 5G: a super city goes smart!
Aberdeen is a modern and prosperous city, the Oil Capital of Europe, with a clear vision for future growth. An enabler for growth was clear to Aberdeen City Council – put in place the communications infrastructure that will support its stated objective to be an ambitious, achieving smart city. By developing a 5G ready network available to all operators, the city can develop smart services for its citizens as well as cater for the relentless demand for bandwidth to satisfy their always-on, always-available lifestyles.
4site has played a key role in the development and implementation of the 5G ready network, providing detailed survey and design services that played a pivotal part in the successful delivery of the new network.
A challenging construct with good results.
Aberdeen City Council engaged the services of WIG to partner with them to build a pilot that would prove the concept and could provide a model for further development. The challenge was to build a network of metrocell (small cell) sites in Aberdeen city centre connected to existing power and fibre services, be visually unobtrusive and be implemented with minimal disruption to the surrounding area, local businesses and residents.
WIG used an innovative product from Commscope’s outdoor small cell solutions. As a long-term partner and key supplier to Commscope, 4site was engaged to design the physical network. O2 is the first mobile service operator to deliver its services over the new infrastructure and the results are beyond expectations.
Collaboration is key.
The plan was to connect nine sites in Aberdeen to a central hub. 4site surveyed the areas identified and recommended and agreed candidate sites with the city council and its project partners. Detailed design was then produced for site construction. 4site managed all licensing and permits with the council and the relevant utilities companies. Traffic and pedestrian management was also managed as was all electrical and fibre connections. 4site’s team of experienced engineers mounted the antennas, designed the duct routes to connect from cabinet to fibre runs, positioned and mounted cabinets and swopped out poles where necessary.
It took close collaboration with the city council, the Roads Dept., the statutory undertakers (utility companies), infrastructure provider, service provider and the community to ensure a successful project outcome for all.
Lighting the way.
The new infrastructure now deployed comprises a network of small cells attached to street furniture such as lamp posts and traffic lights connecting key areas in the city centre into a central hub site. The network is the first fibre connected small cell network in the UK. In another first for the UK, O2 has deployed C-RAN technology over the infrastructure and while it will initially run advanced 4G services it paves the way for 5G.
Back to the future.
Driverless cars, WiFi enabled park benches, and built in pot hole warnings in roads are just some of the applications that Aberdeen City Council envisage will be enabled with 5G networks. In the meantime vastly improved mobile voice and data coverage as well as increased data capacity and signal penetration are two immediate benefits of the service. There’s room to add more mobile operators and the plan is to extend the service throughout the city in the coming years.
Dom Kimber, 4site’s Programme Manager for Aberdeen said, “4site is proud to have played its role in this great initiative and we look forward to bringing our design-led experience and expertise to bear on similar smart cities projects in the years to come”.