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The UK’s 5G-ENCODE Project goes live with its first private network

Robot arm at the 5G ENCODE lab.
(Image credit: 5G ENCODE.)

The UK’s 5G-ENCODE Project, a £9 million collaborative project to develop 5G use cases for 5G in the manufacturing industry, has announced that its ‘Phase One’ industrial private 4G network at the National Composites Centre (NCC) is now live.

Although it’s not 5G just yet, this 4G private network will enable the project to establish a baseline for existing technology, with Phase Two including the introduction of an Industrial Private 5G Network, which is expected to go live in 2021.

"Phase One is just the beginning, and we’re confident that this project will be key to revitalising the UK’s manufacturing industry."

Vassilis Seferidis, Zeetta Networks.

“Zeetta Networks is proud to be the leading partner for the 5G-ENCODE project,” said Vassilis Seferidis, co-founder and CEO at Zeetta Networks. “The use cases being explored will be integral to accelerating Industry 4.0. Phase One is just the beginning, and we’re confident that this project will be key to revitalising the UK’s manufacturing industry and safeguarding it against the next global recession”.

The Phase One 4G network

The Phase One 4G network has been created by Zeetta Networks and the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab, and installed at the National Composites Centre, a research facility for companies looking to innovate in the design and manufacture of composites.

“As a world-class research centre, the NCC is delighted to be the industrial test bed for the 5G-ENCODE consortium of leading industrial innovators,” said Marc Funnell, head of digital at the National Composites Centre. “Today’s announcement marks the start of this project delivering real-life impact through the development of specific use cases for the 5G-ENCODE and Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI). We look forward to testing and sharing the results”.

The project is partially funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the UK Government as part of their 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, and is one of the UK Government’s biggest projects concentrating on how 5G can improve and transform the nation’s industrial sectors.

"Our work will be fundamental in introducing new capabilities into Industry 4.0 processes and systems which will provide more flexibility."

Xavier Priem, Smart Internet Lab.

“We are delighted to be working alongside communities, telecom and Industry 4.0 experts in this project by providing knowledge on 4G & 5G technologies on the delivery of use cases,” said Xavier Priem, senior research fellow at Smart Internet Lab. “Our work will be fundamental in introducing new capabilities into Industry 4.0 processes and systems which will provide more flexibility.”

The goal of the 5G-ENCODE project is to provide a real-world business case for the introduction of 5G in an industrial setting, and it includes the use of technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, time-sensitive manufacturing, and real-time in-process monitoring and analytics.


Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.