Digital Catapult teams with Ofcom on Open RAN testing

Digital Catapult teams with Ofcom on Open RAN testing

Ofcom offices

Digital Catapult and Ofcom will partner to open new Open RAN testing facilities as part of its SONIC Labs (SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre) programme, funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

The programme is driving forward the rollout of Open RAN, which allows networks to be built using a variety of different equipment suppliers.

The facilities provide multiple Open RAN vendors with the opportunity to trial, test and accelerate the development of their products in a commercially neutral environment.

The SONIC Labs programme is aimed at supporting the UK government’s 5G Telecoms Diversification Supply Chain Strategy, making it more secure and accessible for new market entrants.

Multiple vendors are already carrying out end-to-end interoperability, performance and scalability testing in the dedicated purpose-built space.

So far, 15 vendors and 36 Open RAN vendors have come together to collaborate in a commercially neutral environment in the UK, with reach to additional companies set to expand further in the coming months.

Julia Lopez, digital infrastructure minister, said: "Our £250 million investment in facilities like SONIC Labs is boosting competition in the telecoms market and driving the development of new mobile technology.

"These new facilities are another example of how the UK is at the forefront of telecoms innovation, supporting our diversification strategy by boosting business and growing the economy."

The programme continues in its evolution and will “push the capabilities of the Open RAN products”.

Field trials in indoor and outdoor environments will help to give a more realistic deployment for Open RAN systems and the maturity of products.

Companies joining the next SONIC Labs activity include Acceleran, Airspan Networks, Benetel, I-Wireless, Phluido, WNC and Radisys, with additional vendors set to join in the coming weeks.

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