The SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre
The SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre (SONIC Labs) was announced as part of DCMS’ 5G Diversification Strategy is a joint programme between Digital Catapult and Ofcom to foster emergence of new solutions in the telecom supply chain in the UK, focusing on multi-vendor open, disaggregated and software-centric network products, solutions and services, starting with Open RAN, which will be live and operational from June 2021.
SONIC Labs represents:
- A place for collaborative, peer-assist, 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 programme focusing on helping vendors accelerate technology development and early stage integration work, with targeted innovation and acceleration activities
- A technical platform, a commercially neutral, supported multi-tenancy open network testbed providing real world indoor and outdoor scale environments, including test and measurement capabilities
It has three main objectives:
- Examine the reality of Open RAN and successive relevant open network technologies to facilitate interoperability in mobile networks, identifying and sharing the issues, opportunities and best practice
- Enable and encourage innovative vendors to participate in the UK ecosystem and facilitate a more rapid path towards deployment in UK networks, providing a pipeline of products to operators
- Evaluate critical and longer-term advanced open and interoperable technologies, in mobile, fixed and media networks, encouraging growth and investment in the telecom sector in the UK
SONIC Labs was announced as part of DCMS’ 5G Diversification Strategy, and is funded by the UK government and Ofcom to help achieve a vision of a more open, competitive and diverse telecoms supply chain.
By leveraging existing 5G testbed infrastructure as well as existing innovation and ecosystem knowhow in Digital Catapult and Ofcom, it has been able to quickly make progress. The first integrations between products from Mavenir, Radisys, Accelleran, Benetel, Phluido, Druid, Effnet, Foxconn will be complete by June 2021.
It will develop into a long term platform, evolving over time to inform the broader national telecoms capability and other large scale pilots.
After launch we will be identifying new Open RAN products and vendors to bring in for integration and interoperability experimentation.