An Empirical Assessment of the Contribution of 5G in Vertical Industries: A Case for the Transportation Sector
Cunha , V. A.
; Paixão, P.
; Elísio, P.
; Antunes, R.
; Marques, C. M.
IEEE Access Vol. 11, Nº 1, pp. 15348 - 15363, February, 2023.
ISSN (print): 2169-3536
Scimago Journal Ranking: 0,93 (in 2022)
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/ACCESS.2023.3243732
5G has been heralded as a critical, decisive technology for verticals’ digital transformation. It targets innovative technical capabilities, allowing dedicated and improved communication mechanisms, going beyond the mere performance increase experienced by past generations’ evolution. Despite the literature already envisaging the application of 5G-enabled solutions in vertical-based deployments, there is still a lack of experimental insights shedding light on the actual feasibility of 5G capabilities in specific vertical deployments. This gap is particularly evident in verticals that did not traditionally rely on mobile network solutions for their communication needs, such as safety-related control signals in railway operations. This paper aims to fill this gap by delivering an extensive empirical analysis performed through a 5G-enabled railway deployment. We designed and implemented a joint testbed, which allows us to faithfully reproduce two important transportation railway use cases that leverage 5G communications involving the vertical, communication service solutions operator, and integration actors. There, we expose the necessary integration engineering behind the enablement of 5G capabilities in such scenarios, considering the highly safety-certified and standardized environment of railway vertical sector regulations (which never considered the utilization of mobile networks in their development). We empirically demonstrate the performance capability achieved by the 5G-enabled network using two different systems, a carrier-grade one and an open-development one, in light of the required key performance indicators. To the best of our knowledge, this is the very first field trial and empirical evaluation of the suitability of 5G with the implementation of a 5G-enabled railway cross-level scenario within the transportation context.