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SONIC (SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre) Labs is a collaborative environment for testing the interoperability and integration of open, disaggregated, and software-centric network solutions and multi-vendor architectures.

It is designed to help identify enablers and barriers that may influence open network adoption by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), private network owners, neutral-host service providers, and other wireless operators.

The Labs will cover four sites, with parallel, interconnected Open RAN testbeds based on common infrastructure and distributed computing, each with test and measurement capability.

Who’s it for

SONIC Labs supports open network companies who have working products and would like to build an end to end system or solution with open networking products from other vendors, with a view to selling in the UK market.  This is primarily focused on pre-commercial testing in advance of engagements with potential customers or conformance testing.  However, we will include swapability testing with more mature products to confirm interface capabilities.


SONIC Labs will support you with the following

  • End-to-end integration with support for interface testing and performance, in addition to security as it relates to standardised testing.
  • An initial focus on the O-RAN Alliance specs and 3GPP interfaces for:
    • Open RU
    • Open DU
    • Open CU
    • Open RIC
    • Open Front haul split 7.2, FAPI/split 6, F1 interface/split 2, and E2 for the RIC.
  • A continually refined approach to testing and capabilities based on feedback from participants, stakeholders and potential adopters through stakeholder engagement activities.
  • Test automation, to automatically design and replicate key tests, accelerating integration steps.
  • Methods to record and report on results from automated testing.
  • On site engineers, in addition to remote integration and testing.
  • Testing and measurement, with the essential functionality to support new vendors or new products to be integrated and interoperability tested.

The lab will be equipped with the following:

  • Common infrastructure and distributed computing, virtualisation infrastructure, compute network and security infrastructure and services necessary for the integration and interoperability activities for all Open RAN vendors and products.
  • Test and measurement equipment and systems with a focus on end to end interoperability of Open RAN, including automation capabilities.
    • RF Equipment including attenuators, and shielded boxes.
    • RF Spectrum scanner and analyser.
    • UE benchmark test rig.
    • UE emulators.
    • Data traffic emulation.
    • Transport analyser.
    • Core Network emulation.
    • Application server emulation.
    • Future planned enhancements including an open RU emulator and RIC tester.



The main test bed will be in Digital Catapult’s office in London with space for vendors’ technical experts to work and collaborate with each other. In addition there will be a smaller deployment at Ofcom’s lab, and two other locations in order to enable different architectures of local and remote disaggregated network functions.


SONIC Labs is a joint programme between ourselves and Ofcom, funded by DSIT as part of their 5G Diversification Strategy, to foster emergence of new solution providers in the telecom supply chain in the UK.

Register your interest

Interested in getting involved with SONIC Labs and finding out more, register your interest using the form below and we’ll keep you up to date on future opportunities: