CONNECT has brought together leading industry partners in the 6g ONE consortium to research a new way to build networks called Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN). Open RAN networks are built to be ‘open’ by using standardised, off-the shelf components instead of proprietary hardware and software from a single vendor.
Led by Professor Marco Ruffini, CONNECT Principal Investigator at Trinity College Dublin, projects of €600,000 will develop open network hardware and software that will allow multiple companies to share resources and infrastructure, breaking down barriers to entry in the telecommunications market as companies will be able to develop single parts of the overall solution.
An open infrastructure creates new opportunities for startups who could easily enter the market without needing to build a whole solution, creating a market for smaller, innovative companies to solve network problems using specific expertise such as Artificial Intelligence. The partners will also focus on key issues related to the widespread adoption of Open RAN technology in Ireland and its long-term sustainability. The use of open, interoperable and modular network components can lead to lower operational costs, reduced vendor lock-in, and less e-waste.
The industry partners working in this field include; Benetel, HEAnet, Intel, Software Radio Systems, and VMware, who will work in close collaboration with Trinity College Dublin. Leveraging a Test & Trial Ireland 5G spectrum licence issued by the Irish Communications Regulator, they will utilise the award-winning Science Foundation Ireland OpenIreland testbed infrastructure at the CONNECT centre and the Dublin Azure data centre. Professor Ruffini’s work on developing the OpenIreland Testbed earned him the 2022 Outstanding Academic Achievement of the Year Award at IBEC’s Technology Ireland Industry Awards.
“The future of networks is open, and I am excited to see partners come together to research and work on this important topic,” said Professor Ruffini. “The market impact of this has the potential to be significant and it will need industry and academia to come together develop the full stack of innovations needed to bring it to life”
Professor Dan Kilper, CONNECT Director and Professor for Future Communications at Trinity College Dublin, welcomes this work saying:
“We are at a crucial point in the history of networks. At CONNECT, we work in 6G and quantum technology-based networks, and we see that the fundamentals of mobile infrastructure are changing, and Open RAN is an important part of that change.”
“By bringing in multiple industry partners, CONNECT is looking to reshape networks, from the core to the edge, to focus on the needs of people, and the planet, using Open RAN technology”
CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.