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TU Kaiserslautern demos automatic eSIM download for standalone private 5G network

German engineering and science-focused research university demonstrates the interoperability of compatriot global security group’s eSIM management technology

In what is said to be a European first, the Technical University of Kaiserslautern (TUK) has conducted a successful automatic eSIM download to a smartphone over a private 5G standalone network.

Situated on the edge of the Palatinate Forest, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (TUK) is an engineering and science-focused research university with international rapport. It offers its students future-oriented degree programmes and fundamental scientific education with a contemporary modern infrastructure, and, in addition to in-house research, it also hosts science collaborative research centres and trans-regional partnerships funded by the German Research Foundation. Application-oriented research is conducted in close cooperation with a number of research institutes on-site.

The TUK’s test scenario comprised a Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphone, the AirOn eSIM management platform from Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) and a standalone private 5G network, based on Nokia technology. The network, located on the TUK campus, uses Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) and was provided by Nokia’s European reseller, Smart Mobile Labs. 

The 5G standalone parameters were provided by Nokia, and G+D created the eSIM profiles which are required to connect the smartphone to the network. These profiles were then imported into the G+D AirOn management portal for the test. From there, the smartphone could download the profile automatically and securely “over the air”. To start the download, a QR code needed to be scanned.

The eSIM scenarios tested by the TUK are designed to enable numerous practical applications. For example, automatic profile download via QR code scanning lets visitors to conference centres or stadiums easily connect to private 5G networks in those environments. TUK also said such “seamless” connection switching across multiple networks can support intralogistics applications, in which autonomous vehicles connect to each of the various 5G networks on a company’s premises in turn as they move between different areas.

In a separate scenario, the university successfully tested on-the-fly switching between two networks. As the smartphone transitioned from one private Nokia 5G standalone network to the other, it was able to seamlessly connect to the second network. To achieve this, the local profile assistant on the smartphone was used, enabling the smartphone to manage multiple eSIM profiles and switch automatically. The next phase of the project will see TUK test switching between 5G standalone networks from different manufacturers.

“Automatic downloads of eSIM profiles play a critical role in delivering frictionless services on non-public 5G networks,” said Hans Schotten, from the chair of wireless communication and navigation at the TUK. “They enable more flexible use of these networks and support a wide variety of use cases. That’s why we are very pleased to be able to test and demonstrate this concept alongside our partners.”

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Carsten Ahrens, CEO of G+D Mobile Security, said: “The impressive tests at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern demonstrate that G+D and Nokia have an interoperable system. This greatly simplifies the deployment of private 5G networks for system integrators and enterprises. As a leading provider of eSIM technology, we will continue to support private mobile networks with our solutions and expertise.”

The TUK initiative was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport through its 5x5G Strategy, intended to enable the testing of innovative 5G applications and support the efficient introduction of new mobile technology.

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