Project Proteus is developing an Open RAN solution architecture that abstracts from the underlying hardware platform
Total project funding amount: £3,718,751
Category: Government Funded
Location(s): Bristol, Ipswich
Parallel Wireless UK Limited, British Telecommunications PLC, University of Bristol, Wireless Excellence Limited, Real Wireless Limited.
The “speed of innovation” for emerging 5G RAN infrastructure products from Tier 2/3 Open RAN equipment manufacturers is hampered by their ability to adopt the always changing latest and greatest silicon innovations for the critical base station processing. Not only does this delay continue to create a disadvantage relative to Tier 1 providers but it also makes it more difficult to innovate building Tier 1 capabilities into Open RAN.
Project Proteus is developing an Open RAN solution architecture that abstracts from the underlying hardware platform. Parallel Wireless, deliver market leading capability to develop intelligent applications that break the dependency with the underlying CPU architecture, whilst ensuring radio system performance. Techniques that have delivered success in cloud and server-based industries in media and video processing applications are being evaluated to improve the prospects of open solutions.
These technology and product platform innovations alongside agile approaches to system integration are enabling Open RAN solutions that can use a variety of general-purpose CPUs – enabling the harnessing of inherent processor architecture benefits for cost, power, security, and performance benefits. By pioneering and promoting the Proteus outcomes, UK suppliers, attracted by the emerging global supply chain opportunities based on open standards, will have more freedom in their choice of hardware platforms, whilst increasing the security of supply.
Project Overview from Innovation Briefing Issue 8
Proteus is breaking open the proprietary nature of mobile base stations by creating a flexible layer of software which interfaces directly to the radio hardware. This will allow companies, large and small, outside the handful of big vendors to develop competitive products which are quicker to market, lower cost and have lower -power consumption.
Existing equipment uses designs dictated by the choice of the baseband processor. The Proteus Open RAN architecture will separate, or abstract, the underlying hardware from the baseband processor.
Slotting in a new processor will no longer require a redesign of the whole cell, giving the manufacturer a wider choice of suppliers and the ability to upgrade as new processors become available. The improved choice extends to the ability to use CPUs designed for general computing applications such as PCs and servers, not just dedicated mobile phone baseband processors. This reduces the costs and improves supply chain resilience.
The consortium is led by Parallel Wireless with ARM, BT, the University of Bristol, Wireless Excellence and Real Wireless.
They bring with them a deep understanding of 5G Open RAN, chip design expertise, the largest mobile network in the UK, detailed knowledge and patents on new radio innovations, an existing portfolio of 5G hardware and expertise on the mobile industry.
By abstracting the physical layer from the compute, the new design introduces a freedom to innovate. It means better, cheaper, and more capable equipment can be brought to market sooner. Equipment manufacturers can have a more comprehensive portfolio of products with reduced cost of software maintenance.
Techniques that have delivered success in cloud and server-based industries in media and video processing applications are being evaluated.
Proteus technology and product platform innovations alongside agile approaches to system integration will enable Open RAN devices that can use a variety of general-purpose RISC processing platforms. This will lead to cost, power, security, and performance benefits.
Organisations participating in this project
CableFree Wireless Products are designed and manufactured in the UK, used in over 80 countries for 4G/5G/LTE, Telecommunications, CCTV Security, Campus Connectivity, Corporate, Finance, Education, Healthcare, Industrial and Broadcast. We manufacture 5G Base stations (Macro & Small Cell) & CPEs