UK looks to create sovereign Open RAN supply chain

UK looks to create sovereign Open RAN supply chain

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

AccelerComm in Southampton, UK, is part of two projects for diversifying the 5G supply chain using Open RAN technology.

The £5m Best of British RAN Development project (BoB) will demonstrate a commercial and technically viable Radio Access Network architecture designed, developed and manufactured in the UK. It is aimed at serving private, local government and industrial owned networks which operate within UK Shared and Local Access Spectrum through the development of an innovative small cell within a disaggregated Open RAN network. 

The project will deliver a new 5G radio unit (RU) design using IP from AccelerComm to evolve the current product from cellXica (above) to support 4×4 MIMO 5G. Telet will deploy around 150 of these units to deliver a range of 5G services within a number of its existing test and trial locations in Liverpool, the Chalke Valley and other suburban and rural test beds.

This follows a similar project in Germany to develop a sovereign supply chain with €300m.

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The 5G DU-Volution project aims to promote integration of growing RAN suppliers at all levels of the architecture, in both software and hardware, of one of the most challenging RAN components. The project will evolve DU devices to meet industry requirements including: reduced power, smaller form factors, improved spectrum efficiency and reduced latency.  

Alongside AccelerComm other collaborators and UK vendors include ADVA and CommAgility who will work together to deliver the required DU evolution, performance and environmental benefits outlined above.  The DU will be integrated into the wider network in labs in the North of England supported by ADVA UK, and eventually be tested in BT’s Adastral Park research lab. The University of York will participate to define DU requirements for future use of O-RAN beyond 5G and the Scotland 5G Centre will provide the overall project management and promote dissemination.

“As with previous generations of cellular technology, the research and development work being undertaken in the UK on 5G Open RAN development is both highly innovative and ground-breaking,” said Eric Dowek, Segment Marketing Director at AccelerComm. “We are delighted to have been selected for these two projects, alongside such prestigious partners, that will help accelerate the pace of Open RAN development and deployments.”

Next: Other UK Future OpenRAN projects

Other projects include a £2m AI Powered and Secure Carrier-Grade Open RAN Platform with Microsoft, Intel, Capgemini and the University of Edinburgh, as well as Proteus, a £3.7m project to develop an Open RAN solution architecture abstracted from the underlying hardware platform and use general purpose processors. This includes Parallel Wireless UK, BT, the University of Bristol, Wireless Excellence and Real Wireless.

The Future RAN Radio Test System with AceAxis and MAC will be used by third party radio development vendors designing, building and testing 5G Future RAN radios. 

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