Ferrovial has set up the UK’s first operational 5G standalone private wireless network at the Silvertown Tunnel project, which is connecting the Greenwich Peninsula and the Silvertown district in East London.
The Silvertown Tunnel project is being delivered on behalf of Transport for London by the Riverlinx Construction JV comprising BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction and SK Ecoplant.
The sustainable infrastructure firm said the 5G move was a “technological milestone” as it will make it possible to design future construction projects combining the Internet of Things, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics.
Information and innovation officer Dimitris Bountolos said: “This milestone reinforces Ferrovial’s position to lead the digital transformation of the Construction sector. 5G networks provide unique advantages when implementing other technologies.
“These combined enable great advances in the way we design, build and manage projects, therefore making them safer, more efficient, and more sustainable.”
Working in partnership with Nokia and Telent, Ferrovial became its own 5G mobile operator for the construction site using the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (Nokia DAC) 5G SA solution and the Ofcom shared spectrum (n77 3.8-4.2Ghz) on the southern part of the site on the Greenwich Peninsula.
It now plans to extend the 5G network to the northern area of the Silvertown worksite on the other side of the Thames using an Open RAN approach, and equipment from different vendors. This will be orchestrated through Neutroon’s network management platform.
As well as improving wireless connectivity within the tunnel and boosting site communications, the move may also improve working conditions.
Nokia country CEO for UK&I Phil Siveter said: “Our Nokia 5G Standalone DAC solution provides the scalability, reliability and performance that’s needed on large construction sites to improve communication and collaboration amongst the field team and management, enabling them to be more productive and efficient while working in a safer environment.”