In order to kickstart the process of diversification and build momentum the UK Government are making early progress by establishing a SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre (SONIC) - that will create a platform for existing and emerging suppliers to come together to test and demonstrate interoperable solutions.
The SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre (SONIC) is a joint programme between the Digital Catapult and Ofcom for testing interoperability and integration of open networking solutions, starting with Open RAN.
SONIC will demonstrate and foster an open disaggregated network ecosystem in the UK, of large and small suppliers along with the telecoms industry, helping to develop a supply chain with multiple suppliers for each element in the technology stack. In addition it will enable UK players to maximise their part in the new supply chain as part of an international effort.
This will enable Government, Ofcom and the Digital Catapult to build a better understanding of technology readiness and maturity and challenges of Open RAN, to inform technology roadmaps and strategies.
SONIC will be live and operational from May 2021, and will evolve over time to create a foundation for broader national testbed and laboratory initiatives.
Specifically the Centre will:
- Provide innovative companies with a neutral environment to come together to test and demonstrate solutions
- Facilitate interoperability testing with organisations involved in standards development and similar - e.g. ETSI, ORAN Alliance, Telecoms Infra Project (TIP)
- Support and link small and large companies to collaborate in a rapidly technology changing landscape
- Operate at a pre-commercial stage at technology readiness levels 5-7