The SONIC 5G programme is set to become fully operational in May 2021, and aims to test interoperability and integration of open networking solutions, through coupling laboratory capabilities with real world indoor and outdoor deployments.
SONIC, organised by Ofcom and Digital Catapult, plans to begin with Open Radio Access Networks (RAN), and focus on open software-centric networking.
The solution providers taking part in SONIC include Accelleran NV, Phluido Inc, Effnet AB, Benetel Ltd, Mavenir, Foxconn, NEC and Radisys, with more membership to come.
The new members will bring a variety of solution models and maturity of products, and will collaborate to combine and deploy Open RAN solutions.
Through this programme, while vendors and integrators are looking to build new 5G products and solutions through experimentation, Ofcom and Digital Catapult seek to gain understanding of readiness of Open RAN for application in the real world.
In addition to telecoms solution providers of all sizes, SONIC will supply insights to network providers – including national operators and smaller private and neutral networks.
Large businesses will be able to explore future deployments, such as private and virtual networks, while smaller companies can test the integration potential of their early stage products.
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Joe Butler, chief technology officer at Digital Catapult, said: “SONIC will foster an ecosystem in the UK of large and small telecoms suppliers, with multiple providers for each element in the technology stack.
“Providing a neutral environment for testing and demonstration with eight solution providers will surface the opportunities and challenges of interoperability.
“We will collectively learn what works and what does not in terms of integration, technology and processes.”
Simon Saunders, director of emerging & online technology at Ofcom, commented: “With the first vendors on board and more expected to follow, this is an exciting step in the journey of the SONIC project.
“SONIC offers a unique opportunity to shape what the UK’s supply chains of the future could look like and support innovation. So we encourage companies across the telecoms industry to express their interest in participating, as we get set for the project to go live in May.”
The UK government recently introduced a new bill, in a bid to keep telecoms networks secure, which will be enforced by Ofcom.
Interest in the SONIC programme can be registered here.