The Department of Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) has launched a survey today to gather views on the activities of SONIC Labs to date and opportunities for further development beyond March 2024.
SONIC Labs, led by partners Digital Catapult and Ofcom, was launched in 2021 with an objective to grow the UK’s open network ecosystem and support the building blocks for a more diversified supply chain. Supported with funding by DSIT, it has built a commercially neutral environment for collaboration, enabling the telecoms ecosystem to test and explore the integration of multi-vendor architectures, their interoperability, and how they can develop open, disaggregated and software-centric network products, solutions and services.
Working with public and private stakeholders – including Open RAN vendors, system integrators, academia, international governmental bodies, industry bodies, as well as potential adopters of Open RAN – SONIC Labs has been at the forefront of industry, leading conversations and synthesising insights into actionable ecosystem development.
SONIC Labs Year One - key developments and results:
- Programme participants are accessing state-of-the-art technical facilities and Open RAN experts to help them collaborate, develop, integrate and test their products and solutions.
- Established a Strategic Advisory Board , and three Industry Groups bringing together core stakeholders, providing expert insights and alignment from across the ecosystem.
- Several events and workshops have been held to share insights and results, as well as specific engagements with earlier stage innovators.
- Engagements with international stakeholders and other neutral labs to align approaches and activities, supporting the DSIT policy objectives
- SONIC Labs has worked with 13 vendors as part of SONIC-1, Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 so far, with 32 different products, including introducing ARM based systems.
- Cohort 1 ran from July to December 2022.
- Cohort 2 ran from December 2022 to May 2023.
- Cohort 3 began in Spring 2023 and will explore RAN intelligent controllers (RIC), providing the opportunity to have multiple RUs, DUs and CUs, and understand how these components interact. The open call for Cohort 3 began in October 2022, with technical experimentation commencing straight away.
- Cohort 4 open call began in April 2023, with prospective participants invited to interview.
Building on these achievements, work is now underway to scope out activities for SONIC Labs for 2024 and beyond. To ensure that SONIC offers value to the ecosystem, DSIT is looking to gather inputs and suggestions for future activity. To have your say, fill in the survey, open until 5pm Tuesday 20th June.
To find out more about SONIC Labs visit the Digital Catapult website.