SONIC (SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre) Labs programme is a collaborative programme from Digital Catapult and Ofcom, funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), to allow new solution providers to enter the 5G telecoms supply chain in the UK.
The programme aims to create a commercially-neutral and collaborative environment for testing interoperability and integration of open, disaggregated and software-centric network solutions and multi-vendor architectures. It will drive forward the rollout of a new wireless communication technology known as Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN), that enables mobile networks to be built using a variety of different equipment suppliers.This will encourage innovative vendors to participate in the UK telecoms ecosystem and facilitate a more rapid path towards 5G deployment in UK networks, by taking early-stage standalone products, integrating them and supporting commercial engagement.
This eleven-month technical programme (April 2024 – February 2025) will enable vendors to accelerate the technology development of their Open RAN products and solutions through access to Digital Catapult’s SONIC Labs facilities and technical expertise. For the first time, SONIC Labs will include both indoor and outdoor testing in reference networks to evaluate the interoperability, performance, mobility and handover of Open RAN components.
On top of access to SONIC Labs facilities and technical support throughout the programme, participants will also have the opportunity to connect with potential clients and key players in the Open RAN ecosystem, and the space to collaborate with other innovators.