The Flexible, Efficient and High-Performance 5G Open RAN project creates “Flex-5G”, a solution realising a complete 5G StandAlone network
Total project funding amount: £4,681,242
Category: Government Funded
Location(s): London, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Berkshire, plus other locations across the UK
AWTG Limited, Lime Microsystems Limited, University of Surrey, Vodafone Limited, Commscope Solutions UK Limited, Viavi Solutions UK Limited, Emirates ICT Innovation Center (EBTIC) (non-funded); O2 (UK) Limited (non-funded), Cambridgeshire County Council (non-funded), Amazon Web Services (AWS) (non-funded), Zain Saudi Arabia (non-funded)
The Flexible, Efficient and High-Performance 5G Open RAN project creates “Flex-5G”, a solution realising a complete 5G SA network that is similar in physical appearance to a large computer and might be installed, for example, in premises such as a factory, office or even your home. It can also scale to use in larger mobile operator 5G network deployments that provide coverage and capacity across wide areas.
The Flex-5G solution is fully Open RAN compliant, able to be broken down into constituent modules distributed across different geographical locations and interworking with modules created by others as necessary. This presents vast flexibility and diversification benefits. The solution is at the cutting-edge of what is known as “software radio”, doing everything—down to the most basic level technically possible—in software using general purpose processors such as are in your PC, workstations, or servers, in conjunction with other programmable elements. The flexibility of this software basis is leveraged in Flex-5G to increase the performance and efficiency of the 5G network, and to improve upgradability, customization to use cases, robustness and security through software patches and configuration options, among many other benefits. Other cutting-edge aspects of 5G are also furthered in Flex-5G, most notably key advances on “Massive MIMO” technology—improving the performance and practicality of high-end 5G network deployments.
Use case deployments and trials demonstrating the capabilities and benefits of Flex-5G will likely take place in Surrey, Cambridgeshire and London among other potential locations across the UK, and at major world industry events.
Project Overview from Innovation Briefing Issue 8
Implementing fundamental changes to its complete 5G SA network, Flex-5G has a tagline ofFlexible, Efficient and High-Performance 5G Open RAN. The project’s network or sub-parts thereof that can take many forms, even combining the whole 5G SA network into one box similar in physical appearance to a desktop computer, server or workstation, as might be installed in a factory or office.
Led by systems integrators AWTG, the consortium is impressive for having three mobile operators working together: Vodafone and Virgin Mobile O2, along with Zain from Saudi Arabia. The roll-call adds Lime Microsystems, University of Surrey 5G..6GIC, CommScope, Viavi, Emirates ICT Innovation Center (EBTIC), Amazon Web Services and Cambridgeshire County Council. Five of the members of the consortium are unfunded in that they will contribute to the project without receiving support from the DCMS grant.
Flex-5G is fully Open RAN compliant so can be broken down into constituent distributed modules that can interoperate with modules created by others. This presents vast flexibility and diversification benefits. The solution is at the cutting-edge of “software radio”, doing as much as possible in software using general purpose processors in conjunction with other programmable elements. Flex-5G leverages the flexibility of its software-basis applied to this commodity hardware to increase the performance and efficiency of the 5G network, and to improve upgradability, customisation to use cases, robustness and security through software patches and configuration options. Other cutting-edge 5G innovations are introduced in Flex-5G, most notably key advances on Massive MIMO technology—improving the performance and practicality of high-end 5G networks.
Organisations participating in this project
The 5G Innovation Centre brings together leading academics and key industry partners in a shared vision to help define and develop the 5G infrastructure that will underpin the way we communicate, work and live our everyday lives in the future.
VIAVI Solutions (NASDAQ: VIAV) is a global leader in both network and service enablement and optical security performance products and solutions. Our technologies contribute to the success of a wide range of customers – from the world’s largest mobile operators and governmental entities to enterprise network and application providers to contractors laying the fiber and building the towers that keep us connected.