What is 5G Playground?

The 5G Playground represents a comprehensive end-to-end testbed infrastructure, enabling the deployment of the use cases in a realistic environment as well as enabling the R&D community to understand the complexities of running a complete system.

  • Relying of multiple layers of infrastructure and software components
  • Enabling direct integration of third party components and apps
  • Enabling demonstration and validation of end-to-end use cases

5G Playground relies on the following major layers

  • An integrated outdoor-indoor test field infrastructure around Fraunhofer FOKUS
  • A network infrastructure connecting the radio components to the central data center as well as connecting the FOKUS a high speed optic fiber network.
  • A large set of components managing the network infrastructure – including monitoring, device management as well as fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security management and means for semi-automatic OAM.
  • A layer of software components enabling 5G connectivity – mainly based on the Fraunhofer FOKUS Open5GCore as well as on the proprietary implementation of the software base stations within the commercially available RAN components
  • A layer of software application enablers including support for IoT, enhanced broadband and low latency. The application enablers are mostly chosen from open source projects and integrated into the complete infrastructure
  • A set of generic applications, enabling the easy demonstration of use cases
5G Playground Layers
Fraunhofer FOKUS

Local deployment

The 5G Playground deployment at the Fraunhofer FOKUS premises includes a large number of state of the art components (more will be acquired in the near future):

  • Spectrum allocation – Fraunhofer FOKUS has received test licenses from the local regulator as well as from all the German operators to enable with the required spectrum the testbed facility.
  • Radio equipment – equipped with 5G and 4G femto- and large scale base stations, the 5G Playground can be customized for a specific area coverage. The testbed is based on large vendor equipment as well as into equipment provided by small providers which provided to be very suitable for the portable deployments;
  • Local backhaul – the 5G Playground uses a high capacity optical network and internet connectivity, the best-effort enterprise network of Fraunhofer as well as mmWave backhaul technologies to be able to interconnect the base stations to the core network;
  • Edge nodes – 5G playground uses SFF Atom-class nettop PCs with Ubuntu OS for the deployment and experimentation with edge components. For a larger edge node, workstations could be also used.
  • Data center – the 5G Playground is based on a small scale data center using OpenStack enabling the deployment of x100 slices and the concurrent usage of 3-5 of them depending on the specific load. With this, medium scale trials can be executed in parallel by multiple verticals
  • For connectivity to remote locations, the 5G Playground will be extended with satellite connectivity, through this freeing the testbed for any locally specific backhauling requirements. 

Software components

On top of the infrastructure, the 5G Playground includes a large number of software components, enabling the proper experimentation across the environment.

The following components were developed within Fraunhofer FOKUS:

  • 5G/4G packet core – 5G Playground uses the Fraunhofer FOKUS Open5GCore, a highly versatile implementation of the 3GPP core network which can be configured and adapted for the requirements of the applications and deployed as multiple parallel slices
  • Device management – 5G Playground uses for device management the FOKUS Open5GMTC toolkit which enables the easy configuration of end devices;
  • Management and orchestration – the 5G Playground the FOKUS OpenBaton toolkit which enables the deployment and orchestration of multiple customized slices;
  • Comprehensive north-bound API of the 5G system – to be able to configure the different slices, the Open5GCore was extended with a Network Exposure Functionality (NEF)
  • Comprehensive testbed management tools including monitoring and data presentation enabling the easy understanding of the current status of the trials and forensics of different situations
  • Backhaul management – a Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution was integrated able to determine available backhaul connections and securely communicate with the central location. Currently supported backhauls include: satellite networks, 4G public wide area operator networks, fixed network connectivity as available at the specific deployment location
  • End-to-end orchestration – an additional end-to-end orchestration was implemented enabling the deployment of slices split between the portable 5G and the central location
  • End-to-end network management – the edge nodes are managed through a comprehensive system from the central entity including fault, configurations, performance and security management.  
Figure 2 - Typical Deployment of the 5G Playground with Local Edge at Use Case Premises
Fraunhofer FOKUS

Backhaul: Integration into Germany's high-speed fibre network

For research and development purposes, the 5G Playground is directly connected to a Germany-wide fibre glass network. FOKUS employs state-of-the-art, high-end optical wavelength devision multiplexing and demultiplexing to realize backbone connectivity of several 100Gbps.

The fibre-based connection allows to connect the playground existing, state-of-the-art access networks that are remotely deployed, as well as to prototype installations of upcoming 5G New Radio access technologies. Besides, the fire connection allows to tightly integrate with remote sites of research and development facilities of other partners and with remotely deployed backend storage and compute facilities.

Remote locations, which may be integrated in the 5G Playground, include for example the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute providing one means of new radio access technologies, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology providing a shop floor environment for experiments focusing on time-sensitive-networking (TSN).

5G Backhaul
Fraunhofer FOKUS