Concept and Methodology

The Concept

5G-EPICENTRE aims to lower barriers to 5G adoption and market entry for European SMEs to conduct rigorous experimentation of their products and applications aimed at the public safety market, through the provision of an open, federated, end-to-end experimentation facility. Hence, 5G-EPICENTRE will:

  1. federate multiple constituent 5G platforms into an advanced, user-friendly, zero-touch orchestration single point of control;
  2. oversee these facilities’ cloud-native transformation in support of trans-formational technologies in the realization of the 5G vision for PPDR agencies, such as e.g. MEC;
  3. demonstrate value of the facility to stakeholders, key/emerging players in the public safety market to accelerate widespread adoption of low-entry 5G virtualized experimental environments and vertical-specific network functions configured specifically to service the needs of the modern first responder;
  4. develop feasible business models, so long-term sustainability of project results is ensured even beyond the project funding period.


5G-EPICENTRE will deliver an open end-to-end experimentation 5G platform focusing on software solutions that serve the needs of PPDR. The envisioned platform will enable SMEs and developers to acquire knowledge with regard to the latest 5G applications and approaches for first responders and crisis management, as well as to build up and experiment with their solutions. The 5G-EPICENTRE platform will be based on an open Service oriented Architecture, following the current best DevOps practices (containerization of micro-services) and will be able to accommodate and provide open access to 5G networks’ resources, acting this way as a 5G open source repository for Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) Network Applications. For the assessment of the abovementioned platform, the realization of several use cases is being foreseen which will be realized as a PPDR vertical. The purpose of the use cases is to expand along the entire range of the 3 (International Telecommunication Union) ITU-defined service types (i.e. eMBB, mMTC and URLLC) as well as to provide the floor for overseeing the platform’s secure interoperability capabilities beyond vendor-specific implementation. The engaged SMEs and organizations that will participate into the realization of the use cases constitute active players in the public security and disaster management, thus acting as key enablers for the assessment of 5G-EPICENTRE with regard to the real needs that should be addressed. Finally, through the use cases realization, KPIs relevant to 5G will be measured, especially those that are pertain to services’ creation time.

5G-EPICENTRE will span for 36 months, to allow enough time for the end-to-end 5G experimentation platform federation, prototyping, lab validation and experimentation. Every technical activity, including optimization algorithms, network orchestration APIs, novel analytics ML and visualization solutions will be addressed in an iterative and incremental approach, as proposed by the SCRUM scientific and techno-logical methodology . In total, 3 technical iterations are envisioned, leading up to the execution of 2 series of experiments targeting the applications described in the Work Packages, one to be launched at the end of the second iteration (with first-party experimenters), and a second one at the final iteration (with third parties involved through a hackathon). Each stage will feed the next so that: i) an initial, intermediate and final version of the integrated platform is delivered at the end of each phase, having completed a full development cycle implemented in each phase; and ii) the necessary steps are followed towards successfully validating the experiments’ KPIs using the 5G-EPICENTRE components.

Advantages of 5G over previous generations for PPDR

The 4G standard started to introduce first enablers for Critical communications. One example is the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS), to send the same information to a group of users in the same MBMS area. Another enabler includes the Quality of Service Class Identifiers (4G QCI), which ensure bearer priority in case of radio congestion. 5G will provide PDDR community with the required level of services expected to deliver critical life-saving services by improving the previously mentioned enablers with finer and better configuration (respectively using 5G MBS and 5QI)  but also introduce several new ones.

Actually, 5G provides the telecommunication efficiency required by everyday high-demanding operations of PPDR users, which embraces (but is not limited to) the MCX standard for critical communications, data, video, and other services. The high speed and ultra-reliable connectivity, with extremely low latency and jitter variation, enable PPDR services to be more sophisticated, reliable, and smarter, with for instance almost real-time high-definition video transmission from field users to remote operators. 5G services also rely on PPDR applications being natively developed using cloud architecture and edge computing, enhancing drastically the reliability of the service through micro-services usage and information access time.

5G networks introduce the Slicing feature, allowing PPDR users organization to have their own reserved resources on a shared private, or commercial network. This new feature ensures that, whatever happens (major disaster for instance), the needed part of the bandwidth always remains available for the PDDR applications. Thus, despite public demand for communications increasing drastically during times of crisis, a virtual private 5G network can be created for selected PDDR users on a shared infrastructure. This feature is complemented by the 5G possibility to assign PPDR users a specific category (access identity 2), ensuring their access to the right slice.

Whether the PPDR organizations use the Slicing feature or not, the improved and finer quality of service management offered by 5G networks will easily allow the prioritization of a specific emergency flow of data when required by a life-threatening situation. This will ensure that a particular communication will always be transmitted to the required users.

Also 5G Integrated Access Backhaul (IAB) opens new perspectives to deployable tactical 5G networks, ensuring an “everywhere coverage”, either through well-known PMR relaying functions, or even through non terrestrial network (5G NTN) satellite.

As a PDDR practitioner, 5G is definitively the technology that delivers what you need to perform your daily duty in the best possible way.