There were a multitude of reasons for Fraport AG, the operating company of Germany’s largest airport in Frankfurt, to build one of the largest European private 5G campus networks: automation, autonomous driving, localization of devices, and processing data in real time. Or as Fraport SVP of IT infrastructure Fritz Oswald puts it: “We definitely see 5G as a key technology for digitalization.”

The motivation to set up its own 5G infrastructure came less from the suffering of a legacy installation and more from the desire to enable new use cases during the digitization journey. At the same time, the network coverage will be extended to the entire airport area. This way, the nearly 30km of perimeter fencing could be monitored with cameras via radio. It would also be possible to spare robots or drones inspection rounds if they patrol independently with 5G support.

And according to Oswald, it’s difficult to adequately illuminate the airport’s large open spaces with the WLAN technology used up to now. “In everyday life, there are always problems with WLAN coverage during under-wing operations, for example, when aircraft wings block reception,” he says.

Oswald adds the importance of illumination for operation because when material or equipment have to be transported to an aircraft over long distances, it’s time-consuming for employees since the speed limit on the apron is 30 km/h. Autonomous vehicles controlled by 5G would help to alleviate this. Another use case could be small robots that transport delayed suitcases to the aircraft rather than be driven by people, as it’s done today. 

Another application is video analytics to visually check the condition of the airport’s runways. A task that, despite edge computing, generates large amounts of data through video streams, which are then transferred to the cloud.

New use cases

Even if new use cases such as autonomous vehicles, patrolling robots, and drones are the focus of the 5G introduction at Fraport, the new technology also brings other advantages like being able to standardize its communications infrastructure. So far, Fraport has operated different radio technologies for voice communication, or to network its IoT devices. Plus, long-term evaluations have been used via public mobile networks, with corresponding SIM cards in other end devices. In the future, though, Oswald intends to continue using WLANs in the terminals themselves, but there are plans to migrate to the more up-to-date and powerful WiFi 6.

“Here, we actually get a licensed frequency we don’t have to share with anyone, so there’s no interference,” he says. “And we can have full use of the allocated frequency band so we can also cover mission-critical topics with 5G.” 

Independence through private 5G

Because of this licensed frequency, network slicing offers from mobile operators were out of the question. As far as slicing is concerned, however, Oswald can imagine that Fraport will later offer its own slicing services for its B2B partners, such as airlines or logistics companies. “The bottom line is that having our own 5G network offers the airport more freedom and more security, because the infrastructure is in our hands end to end,” he says. “In addition, there are fewer dependencies and we control it when we import 5G updates. So we’re not dependent on a carrier and their update plans.” 

The project so far had a research and development phase at the start, which is why Fraport didn’t want to tackle the 5G migration alone, but instead brought in Japanese global telecommunications and technology services company NTT as a partner.

“One thing that spoke in favor of NTT was it had already been able to gain experience of best practices in other 5G projects, such as at Cologne Bonn Airport,” Oswald says.

Azure for 5G as software

Fraport and NTT were also open about the chosen technology approach. “Because we wanted to keep the option open of being able to make adjustments during the project phase, we opted for an open standard and chose OpenRAN as the 5G approach,” says Kai Grunwitz, CEO of NTT Ltd. in Germany. In terms of software, they rely on Azure for 5G, and among other things, the close connection with the IoT world spoke in favor of the Microsoft solution. 

Cisco was also chosen for the network hardware, although the partners are observing the market closely, especially when it comes to antennas, since a number of new developments are still expected. Both Grunwitz and Oswald emphasize that these decisions aren’t set, given that the technology is still in its infancy.

The new technology also had another consequence. Fraport quickly realized that a rollout without careful prior checking for interactions with the existing technology would be too great a risk for airport operations. This gave rise to the idea of ​​setting up a test environment in a kind of sandbox to ensure operations aren’t jeopardized.

At the same time, the test environment acts as an innovation hub to evaluate new use cases for 5G and how these can be rolled out later. There was also a third task: making the new technology visible and tangible for other employees in the company in order to reduce any resistance to 5G that may exist. That’s why Oswald deliberately chose an area around the company headquarters to promote the new use cases that are possible with 5G.

Push-to-talk in the network

So far, the airport operator has used several radio systems with corresponding radio devices, but maintenance is quite complex, which is why Oswald wants to map voice communication via the private 5G network in the future as well. 

“However, our employees in the operations area didn’t want to do without the familiar user experience of the radios because they’re used to just pressing a button and speaking immediately,” he says. What initially sounds insignificant is actually relevant and important in airport practice. And in tricky situations, it can be crucial from a safety perspective whether communication is established within milliseconds, or whether you have to wait for a phone call to be set up. Oswald wants to solve the problem by introducing a modern 5G-capable push-to-talk solution.

Division of labor

Considering the division of labor between Fraport and NTT, Fraport will act both formally and practically as the operator of the 5G network. “Ultimately, it’s also important to us that 5G isn’t seen somewhere as an isolated technology in the future, but is fully integrated into our operational processes,” says Oswald.

Also, Fraport, as a critical infrastructure company, has to ensure security across the entire process chain, from the end device to the backend systems. That’s what Oswald and his team already do by provisioning public 5G SIM cards themselves in the private network to ensure complete documentation. 

NTT also plans to continue their involvement in later operations and to support Fraport as part of a service concept with managed services, or to take over component maintenance. And according to Grunwitz, labor is divided based on a series of levels. “Topics that happen on the apron, such as the question of where and how antennas are operated or the end devices, are our responsibility, while NTT is responsible for the backend area, such as the cloud components, because at Fraport, we take a cloud-first approach,” says Oswald.

Project end 2024

A 2024 end date is understandably ambitious, considering how badly the pandemic crisis hit the airline industry, and Fraport specifically. As a result, the Private 5G project had to be put on hold. But when project work resumed in spring 2022, like many other companies, the company was confronted with supply chain problems of hardware manufacturers. Oswald, therefore, assumes that the entire 5G network won’t be fully expanded until the end of 2024. However, the rollout to the apron should already take place this year.

Cloud Management, Digital Transformation, IT Leadership, Private 5G

Private 5G is the next evolution of networking for mission-critical applications used in factories, logistics centers and hospitals. In fact,  any environment that needs the reliability, security and speed of a wired connection combined with the movement of people, things and data.

The element of movement is often a factor in Industry 4.0 digital transformation – and that’s where private 5G shines.

Private 5G is deployed as an extension of an organization’s WAN. It’s fast, secure, reliable and has low latency. You can rely on it to transmit data. But if you don’t have a computing resource at the edge where the data is collected to create actionable intelligence in real time, you’re missing out on revolutionary possibilities.

Edge computing brings out the real potential of private 5G

Bringing managed private 5G together with managed edge computing enables businesses to analyze situations in the now – no more waiting for data to be collected (often a slow process) and sent to a data center to be processed first.

In manufacturing, this combined-platform approach quickly delivers the right information to where decisions have to be made: the factory floor. This has implications for everything from an evolutionary increase in productivity and quality, to greater flexibility and customization.

Organizations also have to control data sovereignty, ownership and location. Private 5G can protect data by ensuring that all traffic remains on-premises.

While private 5G is a powerful tool, use cases make it exciting

If you switch to private 5G, it helps to avoid Wi-Fi access-point proliferation as well as blind spots in monitoring, as asset-based sensors can collect and transmit huge volumes of data quickly, and we can achieve indoor-positioning accuracy of less than one meter.

It’s also a much simpler exercise to reconfigure connectivity between devices and improve the timing and synchronization of data feeds from sensors.

Last year, Cisco’s Strategic Execution Office ran a study on private 5G in collaboration with Deloitte, titled “Vertical Use Cases Offer Development”, which delves into the main applications of private 5G through use cases.

They found that the highest demand for private 5G is in the manufacturing, logistics and government industries. Their findings match our experience, as these are the sectors in which NTT’s Private 5G and Edge as a Service are most in demand.

Moving from broad themes to specific applications

The study identified four themes: enabling hybrid connectivity; activation and policy setup for varied sensor profiles; advanced intelligence with private 5G and the edge-computing stack; and integrated app and infrastructure to enable business outcomes.

NTT’s experience has taught us that these themes can be translated into five main areas of application:

Group wireless communications (push-to-talk) enable workers to communicate across locations, with real-time location tracking.Private 5G supports augmented reality and virtual reality, allowing for self-assist, work-assist, and remote-assist capabilities.Private 5G makes real-time connectivity and control possible for autonomous guided vehicles.Computer vision for automatic video surveillance, inspection and guidance is faster and more efficient on a private 5G network.Connected devices can remain reliably and securely connected to the enterprise network throughout the work shift without relying on Wi-Fi or portable hot spots.

Exploring the difference 5G will make in manufacturing

The study also explores how private 5G can optimize assets and processes in manufacturing, assembly, testing, and storage facilities. Private 5G allows for faster and more precise asset tracking, system monitoring, and real-time schedule and process optimization using location and event data from sensors and factory systems.

The research provides two examples of private 5G use cases in factories:

Factory asset intelligence: Traceability from parts to product, with increased sensor enablement across manufacturing, assembly and testing sitesDynamic factory scheduling: Closed-loop control and safety applications enabled by real-time actuation, sensor fusion and dynamic process schedules.

As we continue to explore the potential of private 5G, it is clear that this technology has the power to transform the manufacturing industry and pave the way for a more efficient and effective future.

To find out more about the use cases private 5G unlocks and how they can offer business benefits, download NTT’s white paper: Smart manufacturing: accelerating digital transformation with private 5G networks and edge computing.

Edge Computing, Manufacturing Industry, Manufacturing Systems, Private 5G

Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics provide tremendous opportunities to increase efficiency, safety, and sustainability. However, for businesses with operations in remote locations, the lack of public infrastructure, including cloud connectivity, often places these digital innovations out of reach.

Until recently, this has been the predicament of oil and gas companies operating oil wells, pipelines, and offshore rigs in remote, hard-to-reach locales. But the arrival of private 5G for oil and gas has changed this. Here’s how private 5G is transforming oil and gas operations in the field.

Secure bandwidth & real-time monitoring in remote locales

5G is a hardened telco network environment that provides one of the most secure networks in the world. Using this same technology, private 5G delivers an ultra-secure, restricted-access mobile network that gives businesses reliable connectivity and bandwidth to support their data transmission needs.

Private 5G enables a transportable “network-in-a-box” solution that can be relocated to provide connectivity and bandwidth in remote locations. This self-contained network offers the low-latency connectivity needed to configure, provision, and monitor a network. Furthermore, private 5G is also incredibly reliable, especially compared to traditional Wi-Fi, enabling superior communications and bandwidth-intensive, edge-to-cloud data transmission.

Increased productivity and efficiency

This highly reliable network solution is transforming oil and gas companies, which rely on heavy equipment with lots of moving parts, often running 24×7. By implementing intelligent IoT solutions that track vibrations, odors, and other conditions, oil and gas companies can monitor distributed, remote sites and equipment from a central location.

This is a game changer from an efficiency and productivity standpoint. For example, private 5G accelerates time to production for remote locations by eliminating the cost and time associated with coordinating with telco to build infrastructure. Additionally, private 5G helps oil and gas companies keep sites running smoothly, combining IoT solutions with AI and machine learning to enable predictive maintenance. This reduces costly equipment breakdowns and repairs, minimizes operational disruptions, and extends the life of hardware.

Furthermore, private 5G enables operators to diagnose and upgrade firmware and machinery and perform maintenance remotely. This decreases the need for travel and the number of crews in the field and reduces equipment downtime.

Private 5G enables improved safety and sustainability

Private 5G supports advanced solutions that boost workplace safety. Oil and gas companies can apply intelligent edge solutions to monitor for security breaches and safety hazards. IoT sensors can detect gas and equipment leaks, temperature fluctuations, and vibrations to avoid catastrophic events and keep employees safe.

From a sustainability standpoint, private 5G enables solutions that help prevent oil and gas leaks, reducing environmental impacts. Furthermore, oil and gas companies can implement smart solutions that minimize energy and resource usage and reduce emissions in the field.

Unlock the potential of private 5G

Private 5G is transforming oil and gas operations as well as businesses in other industries with remote, hard-to-reach operations. As an award-winning, international IT solutions provider and network integrator, GDT can help your organization design and implement an HPE private 5G solution to meet your specific needs.

HPE brings together cellular and Wi-Fi for private networking across multiple edge-to-cloud use cases. HPE’s private 5G solution is based on HPE 5G Core Stack, an open, cloud-native, container-based 5G core network solution.

To discover how private 5G can transform your business, contact the experts at GDT for a free consultation.


The public cloud offers plenty of tantalizing advantages to enterprise customers. The appeal of scalability, security, and performance — not to mention the elimination of massive capital expenditures — can be hard to resist. Countless enterprise businesses have flocked to the public cloud and never looked back.

Yet, for some, the benefits that looked alluring on paper can prove elusive in practice. That’s because the advantages of the public cloud are not ubiquitously available and synonymous for all. The reality is that while the public cloud works incredibly well for plenty of enterprise customers, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

However, that doesn’t mean that the public cloud’s signature pay-for-use pricing model can’t work in a private-cloud scenario. If you’re seeking the pricing and scalability of the public cloud, an on-demand private cloud may be the solution.

The public cloud is remarkable, but it isn’t for everyone

The public cloud has transformed business and can be an incredibly cost-effective option, especially when it comes to replacing a data center full of end-of-life equipment (or even eliminating the data center itself). The public cloud alleviates massive capital and operational expenditures associated with running a data center and the equipment it houses and spreads the costs into a pay-as-you-go and pay-for-what-you-use model. Organizations can scale up and down quickly and turn off workloads they aren’t using — all without the costs and headaches of on-premises infrastructure.

At the same time, the benefits and suitability vary depending on each enterprise business’s needs, challenges, processes, and infrastructure.

Possible unexpected costs

Predicting public cloud costs can be difficult. For example, we know that, by and large, putting data into the cloud isn’t the problem. Pulling that data out is where costs can add up. Such costs can be tricky to estimate due because needs may fluctuate from month to month or season to season.

Furthermore, well-intentioned organizations relish the idea of scalability and the capability to turn off unneeded workloads. The problem is, they often lack the processes and discipline to proactively manage these resources, and usage volumes and their associated costs can balloon quickly.

Then there’s shadow IT. It’s challenging to monitor unsanctioned applications and workloads in the public cloud, and their associated usage costs (and risks) can pile up.  

Potentially unfamiliar architectures

Public cloud providers have developed excellent solutions to secure data and ensure compliance. However, cloud architecture differs from traditional on-premises infrastructure, and the skillsets required to support these environments vary immensely.

Migrating to the public cloud fundamentally changes the security boundaries, accessibility, behaviors, and skillsets required to support your infrastructure. Employees who are not highly trained in the cloud can inadvertently introduce security gaps and misconfiguration. Because information sits in the public cloud, these risks can pose much bigger threats than they might in a traditional on-premises infrastructure.  

Application behavior impacts

Application behavior can also be an issue, particularly for workloads not optimized for the cloud or workloads that rely on decentralized edge processing. Sometimes, organizations shift their workloads to the public cloud but find that as data gets passed back and forth, application performance decreases as latency increases — as do egress fees for cloud bandwidth — in turn negatively impacting the user experience.

Scalability and pricing of public cloud in a private cloud

Fortunately, cloud-based pricing structures can exist in private data-center infrastructure. Some models allow organizations to enjoy demand-driven, consumption-based pricing without moving to the public cloud and without the need to adopt a CapEx-driven private infrastructure.

Predictable, pay-as-you-go OpEx model

In the on-demand private cloud model, organizations enjoy the flexibility and future scalability of a public cloud without the CapEx outlay of traditional IT infrastructure. This pay-for-use consumption model works well for organizations that understand their future sizing needs but don’t want to assume capital expenditures. The costs are predictable. Furthermore, organizations have increased visibility into resource usage — something that can prove more challenging in the public cloud.

Familiar on-premises architectures

As mentioned, the skillsets required to support public-cloud architectures differ from those needed to support on-premises architectures. By deploying a private-cloud architecture, the enterprise can leverage traditional security architectures, which may better align with an organization’s culture and the available skillsets.

Predictable application performance

Finally, in an on-demand private cloud, there’s no need to move applications, no need to refactor applications to be cloud-native, and no risk of unwanted behaviors turning up unexpectedly. You don’t have to worry about how your move to the public cloud will impact application performance.

GDT delivers on-demand private-cloud solutions on HPE GreenLake

Whether your organization is considering repatriation from public to private cloud or embracing the scalability and pay-as-you-go pricing in a private-cloud model, GDT has experts who can help you assess your needs and architect the right solution for your enterprise.

Leveraging HPE GreenLake, GDT can deliver a purpose-built, on-demand private-cloud architecture that suits your needs today and in the future. GDT has some of the world’s leading, most experienced experts across cloud, data center, and hybrid multi-cloud. Whether you’re looking to move to a private, public, or hybrid multi-cloud, GDT has the experience and expertise to ensure a successful journey. 

Call us today, and we can discuss how to architect a best-in-breed solution to meet your specific enterprise needs.

Cloud Management