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    5G DMN Delivers Intelligent Mining to Jinneng Holding Group's Sanyuan Coal Mine

The 5G Deep Mobile Network (DMN) is an intelligent and comprehensive dedicated mobile communications network for underground scenarios. Featuring ubiquitous connection, superior performance, multi-functional networks, and simplified O&M, the 5G DMN solution supports all-round intelligent mine operations, including sensing, decision-making, and control. The 5G DMN offers a way for mines to innovatively apply 5G technology to aspects such as infrastructure, O&M orchestration, connectivity, and computing.

In October 2022, the Jinneng Holding Group, Huawei, and China Mobile together built the first 5G DMN for the underground mines of Sanyuan Coal Mine Co., Ltd., which set a benchmark for mines worldwide. Sanyuan Coal Mine now deploys a 5G network for various underground applications, such as its fully-mechanized face, chambers, tunnels, vehicle scheduling, and intelligent portal devices. At the 2022 World 5G Convention, this practice was recognized as one of the Top 10 5G Applications globally.

Customer Requirements

The unique geological conditions of the Sanyuan coal mines led to many challenges in network construction:

Challenges to network device functions: The conditions of underground mines are complex, with dust, gas, and other impurities playing a factor. Devices used underground must also be explosion proof and have a suitable transmit power (the RF threshold power of wireless devices must not exceed 6W) to ensure safe and continuous operations. Moreover, the deployment of cables in underground mines poses a significant challenge due to limited space and constantly shifting working faces, necessitating the use of adaptable and movable base stations.

Challenges to network coverage: The narrow and long layout of underground working areas differs significantly from the radio propagation environment above ground. In underground mines, the transmit power is low and the propagation environment is unique, which may mean limited coverage. In addition, the underground structure presents a challenge in deploying base stations without damaging cables, further limiting coverage.

Challenges to network availability: Underground production management and unattended operations require networks to have a strong disaster recovery capability, with minimized network interruption duration. In order to ensure continuous operations and avoid major safety risks, it must be ensured that networks continue running even if a network device fails.

To address these challenges, Huawei worked with China Mobile to build a 5G underground dedicated mobile communications network – 5G DMN – for Jinneng Holding Group, which is an important part of the intelligent mining transformation of Sanyuan coal mines.

Solution and Highlights

Solution deployment scope and characteristics:

5G DMN base stations enable innovation: So far, 6 BBUs and 31 RRUs have been deployed to cover the main production areas of the Sanyuan underground coal mines and support various underground 5G applications. This solution is the only innovative 5G solution in the industry that supports large uplink bandwidth, wide coverage, and low latency.

Large uplink bandwidth: Supports concurrent upload from more than 100 5G intrinsically safe HD cameras on the fully-mechanized mining face and the upload of the remote control data of coal shearers. The uplink transmission rate is greater than 1 Gbps.

Wide coverage: Only two 5G base stations are deployed to cover the entire fully-mechanized mining face, reducing the number of base stations by 50%.

Low latency: The E2E latency of the system is less than 100 ms, meeting the remote control requirements of production devices such as shearers.

5G core network ensures data processing within the campus:

Interconnects with the networks of China Mobile Shanxi and uses the carrier's 5G spectrum in compliance with regulations. Provides unified network management, unified number allocation, external voice, and Internet access services.

5G bearer network is integrated with the industrial ring network:

Six ring network routers (including four underground explosion-proof routers) form a 50GE mine converged IP industrial network, and network slicing helps transport multiple types of services over one network.

A wide range of 5G terminals and applications:

5G intrinsically safe cameras, 5G explosion-proof mobile phones, 5G smart miner's lamps, 5G industrial CPEs, and 5G intelligent inspection robots.

Customer Benefits

Ubiquitous connection: 5G DMN extends 5G network coverage to underground areas, enabling connections in underground operation areas anytime and anywhere, ensuring reliable assurance of key elements such as device control, personnel communication, and safety.

Superior performance: The large uplink bandwidth and stable latency of 5G DMN meet the requirements of massive underground data collection and remote device control.

One network with multiple functions: The 5G DMN-based slicing technology provides slices with different performance for services in different scenarios at a high transmission speed. In this way, one network can transport multiple services.

Simplified O&M: The 5G DMN offers a high level of compatibility. The unified O&M platform solves the problems of difficult onsite O&M and low maintenance efficiency of heterogeneous networks, making deployment and O&M simple.

Reduced workforce and improved efficiency: 5G-based remote control of underground production equipment and automatic robot inspection and environment monitoring help reduce underground operations and inspection personnel and greatly improve production efficiency.