5G Diversification Projects

UK 5G DU-Volution

  • Started on 1 Jan 2022

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  • Funding: £4,659,606
  • Location: Glasgow, Leicestershire, York, Ipswich, Southampton
  • Partners: ADVA Optical Networking Ltd, AccelerComm Ltd, British Telecommunications Plc, CommAgility Ltd, University of York, Scotland5GCentre

5G DU-Volution is a project that addresses the key aims of the “Future Radio Access Network: Diversifying the 5G Supply Chain” programme by promoting the integration of growing RAN suppliers at all levels of the architecture, in both software and hardware, of one of the most challenging RAN components.

O-RAN splits the existing equipment into multiple components. One of the most challenging components, in terms of the hardware and software complexity and required performance, is the ‘Distributed Unit’ or DU. This is the device that undertakes much of the signal processing in converting radio signals to traffic that can be transported by the optical and wireline networks to the core network infrastructure.

Our 5G DU-Volution project will evolve DU devices to meet industry requirements including reduced power, smaller form factors, improved spectrum efficiency and reduced latency. We will work with principally UK based vendors, integrating products into an operational DU component ready for deployment in 5G networks.

5G infrastructure and the Future RAN Competition Podcast


Project Overview from Innovation Briefing Issue 8

One of the most challenging components in a mobile network site is the ‘Distributed Unit’ or DU. This performs signal processing, converting radio signals to data traffic that can then be transported by the microwave, optical and wireline networks to the core network infrastructure.

The project will develop Distributed Unit devices to meet industry requirements including reduced power, smaller form factors, improved spectrum efficiency and reduced latency.

Working principally with UK based vendors, it will integrate products into an operational Distributed Unit component that is ready for deployment in 5G networks.

Through this integration, the collaborators will accelerate the understanding of component integration, knowledge which can then be embedded into emerging Open RAN standards.

Open and stable interfaces are at the root of Open RAN, enabling innovation through the selection of component vendors to meet specific market requirements.

Led by ADVA Optical Networking, the consortium comprises AccelerComm and CommAgility, both of whom are experts in the deepest level of cell architecture, along with BT and the University of York. The fifth member, the Scotland 5G Centre, provides project co-ordination and leading collaboration with other projects and organisations. Testing of the DU will initially be conducted at labs in the North of England supported by ADVA UK, with later testing taking place at BT’s Adastral Park facility.

Development of the Distributed Unit through the project will reflect market requirements, for example neutral host deployments, where the innovation of Open RAN delivers benefits over traditional architectures.

Issue 8 & More...

Organisations participating in this project

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