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Various applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) in airports, automated vehicles on the runway and mobile security systems involve large quantities of data. 5G network enables better connectivity and improved processing of the rapidly growing data flows, which allows the airport, the airlines and the ground handling staff – and also third party companies – to work together more effectively and in a more straightforward way.

Within the framework of a joint research and cooperation project with IT service provider NTT, Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) is taking a big step towards a digital future. The airport is building a completely private 5G mobile phone network across an area of 1,000 hectares. The goal is to push ahead with technological innovations such as intelligent luggage checking and border control and to achieve significant improvements in the airport’s operating efficiency.

The airport management expects that having continuous connectivity and high-speed mobile network would open up a range of new possibilities for its processes and services. 

NTT is currently developing one of Europe’s largest private 5G mobile phone networks for the airport. With complete 5G coverage across the entire premises it will be possible in the future to determine the exact location of devices and people, to transport luggage on self-driving vehicles, and to use autonomous robots to secure the site, as well as to provide intelligent services for the logistics hubs. 

The airport has been granted a license for the project by the Federal Network Agency from the industry spectrum, with frequencies of between 3.7 and 3.8 GHz. In contrast to a so-called dual-slice campus network, setting up a completely private network guarantees stable processes with low levels of downtime and makes it possible to have an individually tailored operational and security strategy, as reported by