Porsche Engineering and Vodafone Business have established Europe’s first 5G hybrid mobile private network (MPN) at Nardò Technical Center (NTC) for the development of intelligent and connected vehicles.
The proving ground in Southern Italy, which is owned by Porsche and operated by Porsche Engineering, now offers its customers a real-time communication network, which promises reduced delays, wider bandwidth, improved security and reliability, and faster deployment time.
Nine basestations for the mobile network connectivity are interlinked via a fiber optic backbone, to guarantee high standards in data security and available bandwidth. The mobile network allows for managed hybrid access, allowing public SIMs to participate, as well as private SIMs managed by NTC.
The 5G technology contributes to enhancing the connectivity of a vehicle by improving multi-level interaction between backend services, roadside infrastructures and other vehicles. This enables the testing of complex traffic situations.
The new mobile network infrastructure enables 4G and 5G coverage throughout the testing center, which occupies an area of more than 700 hectares in the Apulian region and has more than 20 tracks for high-performance testing. With the Vodafone Business 5G solution, NTC aims to enable its customers to efficiently develop and validate a wide range of future business-critical applications, from new connectivity, vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-vehicle and highly-automated driving functions to self-driving vehicles.
As a next generation MPN, the new system features a hybrid infrastructure, using a private network fully integrated into Vodafone’s public mobile network. Due to this innovative design, both private and public coverage is provided at the same location. Thus, the local population can benefit from the availability of the fast 5G public network and at the same time NTC’s customers can make use of a private network that guarantees high standards in data security.
Besides the new mobile network, now NTC also offers its customers a high-performance 1 Gbit/s connection. This allows a fast and direct connection to the cloud, enabling a globally networked cooperation and even more efficient data-driven engineering.
The new network marks another important chapter in the development of the testing center. Since the acquisition of NTC by Porsche in 2012, continuous investments in the modernization and technological upgrade of the proving ground have been made. Besides investments in workshops, safety systems, and other tracks, the 12.6 km circular track, with a diameter of four kilometers, was completely renovated in 2019—including the laying of fibre-optic cables for fast data transmission and for appropriate road signage to validate automated driving.
NTC’s new 5G network is part of broader collaboration initiatives between the Porsche Group and Vodafone that, in August 2021, led to the deployment of a standalone 5G network at the Porsche Development Center in Weissach, Germany.