Satellite-supported UK 5G testbed will trial mission critical apps

Juniper Networks and Satellite Applications Catapult are building a 5G testbed in the UK that will be used to trial next generation mobile and IoT services for the UK’s critical infrastructure.

The secure network infrastructure will provide ‘ubiquitous’ terrestrial and satellite connectivity for applications, which could include autonomous systems and health apps.

There are a number of 5G testbeds planned or taking place in the UK, including in Bristol, and another at London's O2.

UK 5G testbed

One of the defining characteristics of Juniper’s testbed is the use of satellite technology which will provide additional connectivity for mission critical apps which need reliability.

The partners claim it could support projects by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which wants the UK to be a 5G leader.

“Communication infrastructure services underpin the development of many next generation innovations and satellite connectivity is a critical element,” said Kieran Arnold, director of 5G at Satellite Applications.

“5G underpins the overall agenda for better connecting digital infrastructure to data sharing devices across the country and hence is a key part of UK Government digital strategy.”

“The deployment and use of 5G testbeds is crucial to enabling the early engagement of infrastructure end-users to provide a way for them to shape the way services will be delivered by 5G infrastructure,” added Tom Ruban, Juniper’s EMEA CTO.

“Having the opportunity to provide many of the key components that enable that delivery in a seamless and secure way is a fantastic way to showcase how Juniper is providing a simplified answer to an incredibly complex problem.”

It is expected the testbed will go live in April.

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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.