UK5G, the national innovation network for 5G in the UK, has published the latest issue of its quarterly, the UK5G Innovation Briefing — and has shone a light on two projects funded through the government’s Future RAN Competition (FRANC), built atop a combination of Lime Microsystems’ field-programmable radio-frequency chip technology and commodity open-specification computing hardware.
UK5G Innovation Briefing Issue 8 features a run-down of the projects chosen for funding as part of FRANC, a novel grant tender process designed to provide funding for projects which can push the UK to the forefront of 5G cellular networking and open radio access network technologies. Among the projects selected for funding are two in which Lime Micro is a key partner: the Flex-5G and Secure Wideband PA Platform.
These projects, which aim to provide greater flexibility and interoperability through the use of open vendor-neutral radio access network technologies, are built upon the same mixture of commodity off-the-shelf general-purpose compute hardware and Lime Micro’s field-programmable radio technology as the LimeNET family — itself already proven as a solution for rapidly-deployable and field-reconfigurable radio access base stations for cellular networks.
“The [Flex-5G] solution is at the cutting-edge of ‘software radio,'” the authors of the article explain, “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 upgradeability, customisation to use cases, robustness and security through software patches and configuration options.
“This [Secure Wideband PA Platform] project uses world leading British expertise to develop a more efficient PA [Power Amplifier], 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,” the article continues. “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.”
“FRANC is not just about delivering better and smarter 5G products,” writes Julia Lopez, minister at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, of the competition, in the introduction to the article. “The scheme is looking to stimulate the British telecommunications industry in a new and open way.”
The latest UK5G Innovation Briefing is available to read now via Flickread.