Huawei, BT and universities kick off UK 5G research projects

Huawei, BT and universities kick off UK 5G research projects

11 November 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Chinese vendor Huawei is to set up a private 5G testbed in the Cambridge Science Park in the UK, working with Cambridge Wireless.

On the same day BT Labs (pictured) says it is to work with two UK universities and telecoms consultancy Vilicom on 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).

The Huawei/Cambridge Wireless 5G testbed will go live in January 2021 at the start of a three-year partnership between between the two companies.

Victor Zhang, UK head of Huawei, said: “The Cambridge ecosystem is recognised as a global leader in technology. … We hope to enable Cambridge Wireless members to reach new heights by allowing them access to our state-of-the-art equipment and markets including China and beyond.”

Cambridge Wireless is a community of 1,000 companies in R&D and application of wireless and mobile, internet, semiconductor, hardware and software technologies.

Simon Mead, CEO of Cambridge Wireless, said: “As home to one of the world’s most advanced R&D ecosystems, Cambridge is perfectly positioned for the rollout of next-generation wireless technology and we’re delighted to be driving this initiative with our partners.

Working with BT Labs and BT’s mobile unit, EE, Vilicom will partner with the universities of Bristol and Loughborough, to work on the definition of business and technology use cases, with a strong focus on using AI for the creation of cognitive 5G networks.

Adrian Sharples, BT’s head of wireless and mobile research, said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with the partners on this collaborative project, which will bring different perspectives to the use of artificial intelligence to optimise the mobile radio access network.”

He added: “We believe the innovative use of network performance data to enhance capacity and, increasingly, differentiate between services offered on the radio network will provide new benefits to customers.”

Vilicom’s data scientists will be working on creating data structures, as well as the integration and development of AI algorithms for descriptive, prescriptive analysis of network operational and user quality of experience data to support decision-making in planning network expansion and optimisation actions.

As a contribution to the development of the technology, Vilicom has added yet another abbreviation: AIMM, for artificial intelligence-enabled massive multiple-input multiple-output.

At Cambridge Wireless, Mead said: “We hope to bring something unique to the Science Park to accelerate use cases and development of this technology. We invite ambitious businesses to get involved and through this exciting three-year partnership with Huawei, we will support their 5G innovation journey.”

Huawei’s Zhang added: “Our commitment to the UK and industry remains as strong as ever and we will continue to offer our expertise and technology to our partners to promote connections and innovation.”