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Plan and Play - Reliable ad-hoc 5G campus networks for temporary deployment

In addition to the much-discussed reference use case of stationary 5G campus networks, 5G campus networks for temporary use will also be of very great interest in the future whenever extremely demanding local requirements have to be met by the communications network. One example is major international events (Formula 1, America's Cup), where large amounts of data are required for event operations as well as for "live" audience engagement with low latencies and high reliability. Non-stationary, ad-hoc 5G network operation is also imperative in the field of automated intralogistics for the continuous adaptation of reliable network solutions to very rapidly changing application environments. The resulting challenges for demand-oriented planning and self-configuration capability of the network are to be addressed within the framework of the Plan & Play project, which is funded by means of the Federal State NRW by the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy (MWIDE) as part of the 5G.NRW funding competition. The consortium consists of Riedel Communications, Fraunhofer IML and PIDSO in addition to consortium leader TU Dortmund.

Project duration: 01.01.2021 - 31.12.2023

Logo of the Plan&Play Project © CNI​/​Consortium

Core innovation 1 - PLAN: Development of AI-based automated network planning

The first core innovation of the present project is based on the first version of the so-called 5G Campus Network Planner, which was developed by the Plan & Play consortium leader TU Dortmund within the Competence Center CC5G.NRW. The introduced web-based campus network planner is to be extended to a full-fledged network planning tool for temporary ad-hoc 5G campus networks, so that potential users are effectively supported in the detailed determination of the required network infrastructure. The network planning functions to be used build on state-of-the-art online learning algorithms and will be tested and optimized in two disjoint application areas as part of an agile research process in interaction with the "Play" project segment. For this purpose, a machine learning method based on reinforcement learning is used, which can automatically generate network models (on-the-fly) in a very short time. The planning quality to be maintained is made possible by a step-by-step validation of different real environments.

Core innovation 2 - PLAY: Enhancement of 5G solutions for temporary deployment

The network planning functions to be used are based on the latest algorithms for online learning by means of reinforcement and are being tested and optimized in two disjoint application fields as part of an agile research process in interaction with the "Play" project segment. The project partner Riedel exemplarily considers the application for large events with highest demands on communication services. Due to Riedel's existing development expertise for 5G systems, adaptations and additions to the 5G system technology that go beyond or ahead of the standard are planned. The project partner Fraunhofer IML, on the other hand, is analyzing a highly automated intralogistics scenario in which the high-speed Loadrunner platforms presented at the German Digitalgipfel 2019 are used in dynamically changing intralogistics scenarios and therefore require the planning algorithms to be applied over and over again.

Core contributions of the Communication Networks Institute (CNI)

In addition to supporting the requirements analysis and system design for ad-hoc 5G campus networks, the CNI is primarily responsible for the development and application-oriented validation of the AI-based online network planning tool using reinforcement learning, as well as for the development of an automated application to the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur). In addition, the CNI provides significant support in the further development and integration of existing 5G solutions for temporary use, as well as in the continuation and innovation transfer with regard to the achieved work results.

This project is funded by means of the Federal State NRW by the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy (MWIDE) under the Funding ID 005-2008-0047.

Logo of the Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Innovation, Digitalisierung und Energie des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen © NRW



Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dort­mund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station (“Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop “Dort­mund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dort­mund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.

Site Map of TU Dortmund University (Second Page in English).