December: Funding of the Smart Internet Lab | News & Features


The university’s Smart Internet Lab secures funding for two projects that will transform telecommunications in the UK.

Research by the University of Bristol will help advance and secure the UK’s future mobile networks while, as the Digital Secretary announces, 2G and 3G will be phased out by 2033.

Funding for Bristol’s two new projects is part of the UK government’s £ 50million envelope to boost innovation in mobile network technology. This investment will support the UK’s infrastructure innovation ecosystem and help implement the 5G supply chain diversification strategy.

The University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab is already known for its pioneering 5G research and has played a major role in the government’s £ 200million 5G bench and test program.

The funding announced today by Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries will allow the University to work with two leading technology companies, Cellnex UK and Parallel Wireless, to accelerate the development of a new wireless communication technology known as high performance Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN) solutions.

It is important to note that this technology allows mobile networks to be built using a variety of different equipment vendors, whereas previously all components were provided by a single vendor.

The government has committed £ 36million in funding for fifteen projects under its Future Radio Access Network Competition (FRANC) to develop and test new radio access system technologies in Scotland, Wales and England, so that it can achieve its ambition of 35% of UK mobile network traffic will be carried on Open RAN by 2030.

The O-RANOS project with Cellnex UK is a UK-led consortium of industrial partners developing a new software platform to create a public and private cellular network test bed and the world’s first backhaul on the constellation LEO. As the main academic partner and member of the O-RAN Alliance, the Smart Internet Lab will conduct further research on AI / ML software tools for RAN optimization and provide access to their testbeds, capable of ” host research to effectively maintain complex multi-vendor O. -RAN infrastructure.

The Proteus Project, led by Parallel Wireless, will drive fundamental breakthroughs by developing a whole new ecosystem of vendors to implement the Open RAN strategic diversification vision. Thanks to this diversification, the project will reduce costs and energy consumption and create a portfolio of alternative technologies. The unique research expertise and test network of the Smart Internet Lab is essential to support an open innovation ecosystem of solutions and applications.

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Director of the Smart Internet Lab, said: “We are delighted that the Smart Internet Lab is working with industry partners on these projects which will transform UK telecommunications. Unlocking the potential of Open RAN is a key part of the implementation of the UK’s 5G supply chain diversification strategy and this investment will drive research and innovation on open architectures for the future. mobile networks, marking a step forward towards the next generation, 6G.

It is expected that the projects will attract new 5G RAN vendors to conduct research and development in the UK and foster professional collaborations between potential new entrants into the UK public grid.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “5G technology is already revolutionizing the lives of people and businesses, connecting people across the UK with faster mobile data and making businesses more productive.

“Today we are announcing an additional £ 50million to put the UK at the forefront of mobile connectivity and to ensure our telecommunications networks are safe and secure now and in the future. We can only do this through closer international collaboration, and I will meet our American allies today as we deepen our ties with technology.

More information

About the Smart Internet Lab

The University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab is a £ 100million information and communications technology (ICT) research center that tackles major societal and industrial challenges. With 200 experts in 5G radio / wireless, communications and optical networks, it challenges the complexity of tomorrow’s world by merging research expertise and innovation in a range of research areas such as: IoT, 5G and beyond, Future Transport Networks, Smart Cities, Autonomous Networks, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Network Convergence, Mobile Edge Computing and Network Software. Its unique offering of optical, wireless, IoT and cloud technologies enables its experts to bring together end-to-end network design and optimization and impact regional, national and global ICT innovations.


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