Dublin to test ‘neutral’ 5G network

21st February 2019 Jonathan Andrews

Dublin will trial a neutral 5G network to support smart city services around its docklands district.

Built by DenseAir, the network is being designed as a “carrier of carriers” platform operating as a neutral host and is open both to private applications for enterprises and as a platform to support existing mobile network operators.

“We’ve been building the network with property owners and getting it all figured out with our street assets to reduce the ‘messiness’ of deploying 5G,” Jamie Cudden, Smart City Programme Manager, Dublin City Council, told Cities Today.

To be launched in April in the Smart Docklands district, Cudden said that rather than each mobile network operator deploying its own network, creating clutter on public assets and buildings, using just one neutral provider could pave the way for cleaner city ascetics as 5G is rolled out in cities across the world.

Jamie Cudden, Smart City Programme Manager, Dublin

“DenseAir picked Dublin as the first city anywhere to do this and has since bought [5G] spectrums in eight or nine countries,” added Cudden. “They are looking to replicate this across other cities, and it is exciting for us to be at the forefront of that.”

Smart bins

DenseAir is already working with BigBelly bins–which deployed 110 smart bins in the docklands in January–to attach small cell devices.

The bins will also be used to look at other connectivity solutions with WiFi, and aligning it with broader projects in the smart docklands such as tourism information, wayfinding solutions and measuring the advertising potential of the bins.

“We are also creating an innovation platform for entrepreneurs to pilot and deploy new solutions and concepts based on the infrastructure,” added Cudden.

Rather than bought outright by the city, the bins are rented to Dublin City Council, a first for BigBelly. Cudden says the city’s waste management team are interested to see how it works out and compare the difference with the traditional ‘cap-ex’ way versus ‘as-a-service’.

Officially launched in February 2018, Dublin’s Smart Docklands is the headquarters for numerous large tech companies and start-ups. It is also the city’s showpiece testbed for companies, universities and others that want to trial and test smart city services.

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