SONIC Labs establishes new partnerships with leading Taiwanese innovators

  • Seven companies join SONIC Labs to test performance and evaluate indoor and outdoor Open RAN products
  • Companies will gain access to Digital Catapult’s leading Open RAN testing facilities opened earlier this year
  • SONIC Labs aims to diversify the telecoms supply chain by helping Open RAN vendors to the UK market

Digital Catapult, working in partnership with Ofcom, has today welcomed seven pioneering new companies to its SONIC Labs (SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre) programme, funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). 

SONIC Labs is a world-leading programme driving forward the rollout of a new wireless communication technology known as Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN), enabling mobile networks to be built using a variety of different equipment suppliers. Its approach has put the UK at the forefront of telecoms innovation globally, and has generated interest from global companies looking to participate. 

G REIGNS and LITEON are two of the new companies with full suites of pioneering Open RAN products that will be joining this phase of the programme. These Taiwanese-based companies will benefit from closer international collaboration and will be joined by other leading companies in the Open RAN space, including Accelleran, BenetelCapgemini IS-Wireless and WNC. Taiwan is home to world-leading Open RAN innovation, given its advanced R&D capabilities and commitment to developing scalable Open RAN solutions. 

All companies will participate in the next activity of SONIC Labs, a technical programme running to January 2024. The programme will look to accelerate the technology development of Open RAN products, and expand the scope of the participating companies’ operations through access to Digital Catapult’s SONIC Labs facilities and ongoing technical support and expertise.  

The focus of the technical activity covers multiple baselines and swaps, with the aim to test the performance and scalability of O-RAN components with multi vendor solutions and multiple units. Seamless mobility while moving from one location which is closer to one radio unit (RU) to another location which is closer to another RU will also be tested, while accessing some video streaming and verifying the quality of experience during this mobility. This will enable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to be measured to enable commercial deployability. The companies will also test the interoperability and end-to-end functional testing of outdoor Open RAN products in the SONIC Labs indoor testing environment. 

Multiple vendors are already carrying out end-to-end Interoperability, performance and scalability testing in the dedicated purpose built space with state of the art testing and lab infrastructure. So far, twenty vendors and fifty nine Open RAN products have collaborated with SONIC Labs, signifying the largest concentration of Open RAN vendors coming together to collaborate in a commercially neutral environment in the UK. 

We’re delighted to be introducing additional Open RAN products from vendors across the globe to this phase of the SONIC Labs programme. We’ll be extending our leading technical expertise and lab facilities to help these nine companies to test their Open RAN products and solutions and support them on their route to market.

“Through our SONIC Labs programme we’re helping to foster innovation across the telecoms sector – diversifying the 5G supply chain market in the UK and delivering fast, secure and reliable connectivity.”

Joe ButlerChief Technology Officer at Digital Catapult

Our £15m investment in SONIC Labs is providing a test bed for telecoms innovation on a global scale, helping to bring cutting-edge wireless technology to the UK market and provide fast, secure, and dependable connectivity across the country.

“By creating a diverse and collaborative environment where different companies can trial their products, we’re ensuring that our 5G supply chain remains robust and fit for the future.”

Sir John WhittingdaleMinister for Data and Digital Infrastructure

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