5G Diversification Projects

Scalable Optical Fronthaul for 5G OpenRAN

  • Started on 1 Jan 2022

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  • Funding: £1,526,886
  • Location: Cardiff, Ipswich, Nottingham and Birmingham
  • Partners: Rushmere Technology Limited, Teropta Limited, British Telecommunications plc, Compound Semiconductor Centre, Aston University

5G networks critically rely on optical fibre links to connect the radio antennae to the electronic processing basestation equipment. This project will develop ground-breaking, UK-made, scalable, cost-effective optical interface technology to enable dense roll out of optical fibre 5G radio access networks (RANs) with open digital interfaces for interoperability and low latency.


Project Overview from Innovation Briefing Issue 8

Radio antennas are connected to base stations using fibre optic cables. This eliminates the losses which are inherent in an electrical connection. The link between the antenna and base station is known as fronthaul. The project will develop ground-breaking, UK-made, scalable, cost-effective optical interface technology, to enable the dense roll out of optical fibre 5G radio access networks with open digital interfaces for interoperability and low latency.

It is led by Rushmere Technology, working with Teropta, BT, Compound Semiconductor Centre and Aston University. Rushmere is based in Ipswich, and an expert in passive optical networks, using high power lasers to eliminate the need for amplifiers and significantly reducing the cost of deployment.

Nottingham based TerOpta specialises in remote sensing and cloud-based analysis of environmental and pollution data. Its IoT expertise comes from a senior team with experience of R&D at major telecommunications companies such as Marconi and Ericsson, giving TerOpta a great deal of experience in communications, monitoring and control technology.

Compound semiconductors are chips that amplify power and light, and use materials other than silicon. An established technology, semiconductors have been typically used for high power applications, but the fast-switching properties of compound semiconductors make them useful a number of different aspects of 5G network and handset design. The Compound Semiconductor Centre is part of the Cardiff cluster of companies and institutions which are pioneering the development and implementation of this technology.  It is as a joint venture between IQE plc, the leading supplier of advanced compound semiconductor wafer products, and Cardiff University.

Issue 8 & More...

Organisations participating in this project

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