Ireland’s international rugby union squad detailed plans to make use of private 5G at the sport’s forthcoming world cup, teaming with Ericsson and Vodafone Ireland to deploy a standalone (SA) network from a customised van.

Ericsson stated it and Vodafone initially installed a private SA 5G network at an Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) facility to provide coaches and players with real-time video analysis intended to improve decision-making.

The vendor explained the trio tested the technology at the squad’s training camp, with the network now set to be deployed in a “bespoke 5G connected vehicle” at the Rugby World Cup, scheduled to take place in France from next month.

Better than Wi-Fi
Ericsson stated IRFU previously employed “standard Wi-Fi” in stadiums and training sites. It claimed the faster data rates and lower latency afforded by the private network will enhance decision making during matches by providing information from up to eight high-resolution video streams and a 5G-connected drone.

“Performance analysis has experienced massive changes in the past couple of decades. What started with pen and paper-based methods for collecting notational data has evolved to using cutting-edge computer-based technologies and AI to collect ever increasing amounts of real-time information,” Vodafone network director Sheila Kavanagh explained.

Vinny Hammond, head of analytics and innovation with IRFU (pictured in centre, right), noted the private network stretches “the boundaries of what we can do in terms of how quickly” staff can analyse the video and drone footage.

“Being on our own 5G network also gives us that level of security and reliability that we really need”, he added.