New Opportunities with the 5G Technology
(Source: Swedish Defence Material Agency, FMV; issued June 24, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
Major General Michael Claesson tests the radio-controlled model car with new 5G technology under the supervision of FMV’s Christer Sundin. (FMV photo)
Several initiatives are currently underway at FMV with the new 5G mobile communication standard. It is considerably more reliable than 4G and a number of opportunities open up for FMV to support the Armed Forces. Recently, a full-scale trial of 5G was carried out in a so-called tactical bubble at Muskö and in Enköping a mini vehicle was controlled with the help of 5G.

FMV has recently participated in two functional tests with 5G. One was at Muskö where, under the leadership of Teracom and MSB, a so-called tactical bubble was set up, which is a solitary locally isolated network for special purposes and with protection needs. This was done in early June.

Tactical bubble is also a support for the construction of the second-generation Rakel, which will offer significantly better bandwidth than the current Rakel, which is most suitable for speech.

A few weeks after the full-scale test at Muskö, FMV did a test run with a minivan that was fully controlled with a local 5G network, a tactical bubble. The test run was made at FMV's premises at the Regiment in Enköping. In front of a larger screen were steering wheel and pedals to control the vehicle. The vehicle reacted lightning fast to the commands via the remote control. The high bandwidth and short delay contributed to the rapid transmission of data between drivers and vehicles for analysis, control and other functions.

The continuous fast video feedback to the driver is obviously necessary to control direction and speed. The radio network is supplied by Ericsson. The car has its own router that handles the data flow between its computer and screen, steering wheel and pedals are located elsewhere. The communication link to the car can also be used for other types of data such as AR, (Augmented Reality, augmented with computer generated images as in the Pokemon game) and object recognition technology.

"For the Armed Forces and FMV, the technology for tactical bubbles, which Teracom showed at Muskö, is both interesting as a complement to Rakel G2 and other isolated applications in the Armed Forces," says Christer Sundin, Head of Management System Equipment FMV.

Great knowledge in the radio field

FMV has a great deal of knowledge in the radio field. This comes in handy now when solutions are developed that are based on the new 5G technology. Funds for the 5G projects may be sought from the European Defense Fund EDF.

The mobile operators' 5G expansion is at its initial stage with smaller subnets. After the National Post and Telecom Agency's auction of the large frequency blocks this fall, the rollout will start in earnest.

In the defense context, 4G technology has not been considered reliable enough, but new 5G is considered to be that of many nations. Among other things, 5G has much higher bandwidth, the standard mentions speeds of up to 20 Gbit / s, although in practice it may be around 100 Mbit / s initially for ordinary people.

But it is also about response times (delay) of 1-5 ms compared to 4G of 20-25 ms. It makes a significant difference when something is to be controlled or sensor information is read. The control and the information becomes reliable. A person's response time is usually set to 150-300 ms. A further aspect is that 5G has far more stable uptime and capacity is much larger.

5G is therefore basically limited only by the imagination. Mines can be controlled remotely from ground level, factories can be controlled remotely. Various mobile platforms can be controlled and equipped in different ways with, for example, gripping arms to perform tasks remotely. In armed conflicts, mobile platforms can be equipped with weapons. By extension, this can mean that both defense and war can be performed remotely to some extent.

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