Real-time transmission: First 5G networks at German jacks
After the Bonn University Clinic at the end of 2020 and a Helios Hospital in Leipzig this summer, the Düsseldorf University Clinic is also tackling its own network in the cellular standard. The clinic invites you to put the first antennas into operation this Wednesday (2.30 p.m.).
The 5th generation of mobile communications (5G) is intended to enable hospitals to transmit large data sets of computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) so that doctors from other departments can receive information quickly and treatment can continue without interruptions or waiting times. Networked “augmented reality” glasses for operations should also be easy to use thanks to 5G and improve the virtual representation of body parts. The radio standard should enable smooth and stable transmissions.
Deutsche Telekom launched a 5G campus network at the University Hospital Bonn at the end of 2020. The network is running well and smoothly, says the head of the IT clinic business at Deutsche Telekom, Michael Waldbrenner. Compared to fixed-line internet via WLAN, 5G has the great advantage that it enables stable real-time transmission of immensely large amounts of data. In the partly very old buildings of German hospitals, the cabling for better WLAN is sometimes very complex, which is one of the reasons why 5G is an option. “German hospitals have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to digitization, and 5G is an important key here.”
The clinic business has good prospects, said the telecommunications manager. “We have received numerous requests from hospitals for better network coverage.” In smaller clinics, WLAN could be sufficient, in larger hospitals, however, 5G is the best transmission path.
Vodafone Germany boss Ametsreiter also emphasizes the advantages: “5G is much more precise than WLAN, no data packets are lost and stable transmission is ensured.” In his words, the radio standard has “what it takes to revolutionize medicine, which is still very analog in some cases”. The Telekom competitor is also in talks with other potential customers.
The so-called campus networks only work on the clinic premises, they are not public – and thus protected from outside hackers. “When it comes to data security, 5G campus networks have great advantages,” says Telekom manager Waldbrenner. Separately from this, there is a public 5G network that, for example, establishes a real-time connection with specialists in other cities and can then incorporate their expertise in real-time into operations or treatments.
Natalie Gladkov from the German Medical Technology Association says that the need for high line capacities across the board will increase enormously so that digital processes can develop through the networking of systems and devices. 5G networks at clinics are a step forward, says the digital expert: “The telemedicine sector in particular will benefit from this and establish itself in the long term.”
Telefónica began building a 5G network at a Helios hospital in Leipzig in August 2021, and it should go into operation at the end of the year. Telefónica Deutschland boss Markus Haas sees great potential. Remotely controlled operations would be just as possible as the involvement of experts for data-supported, often life-saving decisions: “5G offers extremely high data speeds and very short response times of up to a millisecond.” (dpa / rs / rw)