Open 5G connection in Finland’s test network now in use

Open 5G connection in Finland’s test network now in use

The 5G test network of the University of Oulu has now officially moved from the laboratory onto the rooftop, indicating the era of an open 5G connection. The 5G base station was succesfully integrated into the network in accordance with the standardised architecture, and the first 5G data connection has now been established with test devices.  

The 5G network equipment was supplied by Nokia and jointly integrated by Nokia and the university teams.   The open 5G connection is now provided as part of Finland’s 5G test network ecosystem, which the Oulu network is part of.  Commercial terminals will become available this year, operator networks will also be expanded and services will be ramped up more quickly.

-It was great to see that integrating 5G into the same network as 4G was an all-around success. Now it is easier to offer the 5G connection for the needs of various research projects or companies. This is a major milestone for Finnish 5G test networks, says Olli Liinamaa, test network program lead at the University of Oulu.


Time to get excited

As part of the Finland’s 5G test network, the recently deployed, open 5G connection in Oulu operates in the 3.5 GHz frequency band and is structurally similar to the commercial implementations.  The initial focus is on increasing the data transmission capacity, but application research will also gain momentum at the same time. 5G will open up opportunities in many fields of application, and there will be challenges related to research, development and testing them for a long time to come.  Many projects of the University of Oulu, part of the 6GFlagship set of studies funded by the Academy of Finland, involve such activities.

-This new 3GPP compliant, 5GNewRadio -5G NR- operates on 3.5GHz with maximum of 100MHz bandwidth. The whole 5GNR with integrated antenna elements is installed up to the radio tower. While non-standalone 5GNR is supported by LTE -base station functions at start, the whole 5GNR BS can be expected to operate in standalone mode in a near future, says professor Ari Pouttu from the University of Oulu.

In a best-case scenario, 5G will cause societal upheaval that will rival the arrival of GSM, which revolutionised interpersonal communication in its day. 5G provides the opportunity to cut off cables from many devices and platforms which currently stay put due to their data connections.  Machines, vehicles and measuring devices, for example, will become mobile and wireless sensors will be used more effectively.


Researchers and industry in the same boat

Organisations and other interested parties participating in the ecosystem are now able to test their own terminals and the functionality of their applications through a genuine 5G network.  There is still a lot to research in terms of fulfilling the promises of 5G. This is why basic research is carried out in projects such as the national 5G Force project, coordinated by Aalto University. Besides basic research, sights are set on various practical applications, and there are many research projects under way that focus on 5G applications.  Such a project is 5G-VIIMA, which studies the suitability of 5G for industrial sites and applications.

-Finland’s test network aims to provide 5G radio coverage and the latest network technology at the sites of universities, polytechnics and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.  We also offer the know-how of our researchers for experiments in various areas of application related to 5G.  This connection, now opened in Oulu, is a demonstration of the strength of cooperation and a major step towards practical applications. The goal of the universities and VTT is to contribute to the local as well as national ecosystem and strengthen the competitiveness of Finnish technology companies.  Finland is absolutely world-leading in this respect, says Kyösti Rautiola, Principal Scientist of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the 5GTNF ecosystem lead.


5G Force is a horizontal project whose goal is to create a nation-wide research platform for test networks available in Finland. The platform would involve 5G research but also provide a shared platform for the needs of various vertical projects. A good example of vertical projects, meaning application research, is 5G-VIIMA. 5GTN is a stable network, developed since 2014 specifically for scientific research and product development. It is controlled and monitored by 5GTN expert team, which means tests can run in extreme conditions on the edge of the network. It also offers an isolated test environment to enable advanced testing.


Last updated: 16.5.2019