This project is developing a unique and novel 5G O-RAN platform able to provide better efficiency, higher security and a wide frequency range enabling it to be ready for future 5G bands
Total project funding amount: £1,097,950
Category: Government Funded
Location(s): Newport, Surrey, London, Shipley
Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, Lime Microsystems Limited, Slipstream Engineering Design Limited, Arqit Limited
This project is developing a unique and novel 5G O-RAN platform able to provide better efficiency, higher security and a wide frequency range enabling it to be ready for future 5G bands.
Current software defined radio platforms for O-RAN are typically bespoke solutions able to cover only a narrowband of operation. With the opening up of the spectrum towards 10GHz there is a need to develop systems that are flexible in their frequency range but are able to output the powers needed for a communication platform for dense environments.
The consortium is developing a novel modular platform able to output powers of up to 10W (initially) using a new Software Defined Radio (SDR) chip able to operate up to 10GHz coupled with a very efficient, wideband power amplifier. As well as developing a more flexible and scalable platform the team is also integrating a new security layer based on Arqit’s QuantumCloud™ platform that is providing security by default in the operation of the system by using stronger, simpler encryption that is unbreakable – even with a quantum computer.
Project Overview from Innovation Briefing Issue 8
The Power Amplifier, or PA, is the chip which puts the energy into a radio signal. It’s an essential part of all mobile phone base stations.
This project uses world leading British expertise to develop a more efficient PA, for base stations with a power output of up to 10W, along with the hardware and software needed to drive it in a flexible and secure manner. This will work alongside a radio architecture devloped by the project.
Led by The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, the consortium also comprises Lime Microsystems, Slipstream Engineering Design, and quantum cryptography experts Arqit.
The consortium will develop a 5G Open RAN platform that uses Software Defined Radio to produce a signal across a wider range of frequencies, up to 10 GHz, than is typically available. This will allow infrastructure manufacturers to build more efficient mobile base stations which work across more frequency bands. It’s a solution which is particularly necessary in dense urban environments.
Compound Semiconductors are particularly well-suited to Power Amplifiers, providing the fast switching needed for 5G, and high efficiency between the amount of power put into the circuit and that radiated by the antenna. Bradford based Slipstream Engineering Design is an RF design company, while Lime Microsystems has a portfolio of Software Defined Radio products.
As well as developing a more flexible and scalable radio the team will also integrate a new security layer based on Arqit’s QuantumCloud platform that will provide security by default in the operation of the system by using stronger, simpler encryption that is unbreakable even with a quantum computer.