SONIC (SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre) Labs is a commercially-neutral, collaborative, environment for testing interoperability and integration of open, disaggregated and software-centric network solutions and multi-vendor architectures.
It has been designed to offer network vendors, operators and integration companies:
- A place for collaborative, peer-assisted, integration and interoperability testing of products and solutions at a pre-commercial development stage, addressing the challenges of multi-vendor end-to-end solutions
- A technical platform. A commercially-neutral, multi-tenancy open network testbed providing real world indoor and outdoor scale environments, including test and measurement capabilities
- A programme focused on helping vendors accelerate technology development and early stage integration work, with targeted innovation and acceleration activities
SONIC Labs aims to help accelerate technology development through ecosystem engagement, vendor support (both technical and business development), integration work, interoperability testing, publicity, sharing lessons learned and successful activities, targeted innovation, and acceleration programmes to bring in new innovators, delivering on the 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy, to create a more open, competitive and diverse telecommunication supply market in the UK.
Enable and encourage innovative suppliers of 5G Open-RAN products to participate in the UK telecoms ecosystem
Provide UK mobile network operators with a pipeline of innovative and competitive suppliers and products
Facilitate interoperability testing and collaboration across supplier products that may not otherwise have been tested for interoperability
Examine the reality of Open RAN and successive relevant technologies to facilitate open interoperability in mobile networks
Evaluate critical and longer-term advanced open and interoperable technologies, in mobile, fixed and media networks
Encourage growth and investment in the UK telecom sector
Build telecoms skills and expertise in the UK
Support international companies to participate in the UK Open RAN market and collaboration with other international Open RAN facilities
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.
It builds on an earlier, one year project (SONIC-1) on how to build, integrate and test Open RAN systems and how to engage with Open RAN companies. By leveraging existing 5G testbed infrastructure, as well as existing innovation and ecosystem knowhow from Digital Catapult and Ofcom, the first integrations between products from Mavenir, Radisys, Accelleran, Benetel, Phluido, Druid, Effnet completed in June 2021.
The first phase of SONIC Labs
Six companies joined the first phase of the SONIC Labs programme in July 2022 to accelerate the development of their Open RAN products. The organisations are working collaboratively with each other, Digital Catapult and Ofcom to integrate and test their products in lab and indoor mobile network settings, accelerating their route to commercialisation.
The companies include Benetel, CableFree, Capgemini, Effnet, IS-Wireless and Phluido.
The second phase of SONIC Labs
In December 2022, nine companies joined the next phase of the SONIC Labs programme. The companies include UK and global Open RAN vendors new to the UK market, such as VVDN based in India, SOLiD headquartered in South Korea and ASOCS based in Israel, as well as six other companies with existing engagement in the UK market, including: Accelleran, CableFree, Effnet, Phluido, Radisys and VMware.
The third phase of SONIC Labs
In March 2023, the third phase of the SONIC Labs programme welcomed nine companies including Accelleran, Airspan Networks, Benetel, Capgemini, IS-Wireless, Phluido, VMware, WNC, and Radisys. These companies provided O-RAN components with vendors offering some of the O-RAN components from O-RU, O-DU, O-CU and RIC.
The fourth phase of SONIC Labs
In September 2023, seven companies joined the fourth phase of the SONIC Labs programme. The companies include two Taiwanese-based companies, G REIGNS and LITEON, as well as five other leading Open RAN companies, including Accelleran, Benetel, Capgemini, IS-Wireless and WNC.
This phase of 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.
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:
SONIC Labs 2022/23 Annual Report
News and Insights
SONIC Labs first outdoor Open RAN testing site launches with Ofcom, Cellnex UK, and Capgemini
SONIC Labs Cohort 2 Insights report discusses the technical journey and the lessons learned of Cohort #2. This report provides…
SONIC Labs establishes new partnerships with leading Taiwanese innovators to drive Open RAN innovation and investment forward
Seven organisations will test their products in lab and real-world indoor mobile network settings.
SONIC Labs Cohort 1 Insights report discusses the technical journey and the lessons learned of Cohort #1. This report provides…
Discover how SONIC Labs has successfully contributed to the ongoing development of UK technical expertise and building the UK’s reputation…