Purdue Airport creates ‘lab to life’ 5G testing network


Purdue University President Mung Chiang discusses the collaboration with industry partners Ericsson and Saab. A private 5G network will be installed at the airport, allowing companies and university researchers to develop their newest innovations in a real-world setting. (Purdue University/Charles Jischke)

Purdue University Airport, Indiana has partnered with Ericsson and Saab to create a 5G network that will service as a “lab to life” testing ground.

The network will allow academics, researchers and businesses to develop 5G solutions and test new high-performance networks in real life scenarios.

The 5G network is being contributed by communications firm Ericsson, while Saab is investing in the project and installing software to improve safety and efficiency at the airport. The university itself will host the testbed at the Discovery Park District at Purdue, a 400-acre mixed-use development adjacent to the university’s campus.

“This unique collaboration enables trials and industrialisation of 5G applications and use cases that help solve aviation market needs, improving flight safety, enhanced passenger experience, as well as increased efficiencies and cost savings,” said George Mulhern, head of Enterprise Wireless Solutions, Ericsson. “This is just one more example of how different enterprises can work with 5G networks to develop solutions in real-world environments.”

Adam Baxmeyer, manager, Purdue Airport said: “We have built a sterling reputation through more than 90 years of service. Our mission also extends to Purdue students, faculty and staff who hone skills, conduct research and improve upon today’s aviation and transportation technology.

“This collaboration is a natural fit for Purdue Airport as it enables us to study and better understand technologies that will be fundamental to airports of the future.”