Bristol researchers are at the heart of a £6m (€7.78m) project developing the next generation of optical networks to support 5G wireless technology.
“We are very proud to be collaborating with such a group of leading researchers, telecoms operators, innovative SMEs, and influencers in 5G”
The three-year METRO-HAUL project includes software defined networking (SDN) startup Zeetta Networks and the University of Bristol’s High Performance Networking group in the Department of Engineering alongside 19 other organisations around Europe. These include operators BT, Telecom Italia, and 02’s Spanish owner Telefonica, equipment makers Ericsson and Nokia, and German research group Fraunhofer Institute.
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The next generation 5G technology is currently being developed to provide up to 1Gbit/s of download speed, but that will need to be supported by higher performance optical networks. The aim of the project is to design and build smart, cost-effective, optical systems for urban areas that can support increased traffic coming from all kinds of 5G links, whether these are base stations, small cells or connections from the Internet of Things (IoT).
5G testing ground
By 2019 the project will build a 5G network with a range of services in a test-bed, and the software developed will be released as a public repository while the project will actively participate in the standardisation of 5G, promoting the tested solutions to the wider industry.
“We are very proud to have played a key role in this successful EU funding bid and to be collaborating with such a group of leading researchers, telecoms operators, innovative SMEs, and influencers in 5G,” says Vassilis Seferidis, CEO of Zeetta Networks (pictured above). “This project scored very highly with the judging panel recognising its importance and the huge implications it brings to the telecoms industry and the verticals they support. It is another validation of Zeetta’s growing global profile and positions our software-designed networking technology as a highly innovative solution enabling programmability in both current and future networks.”
The SDN software is already being used to help the Ashton Gate sports stadium in Bristol manage the wireless networks that cover tens of thousands of people on match days, and the company is also part of the Oracle Cloud accelerator in the city.
This is just one of several 5G projects that include technology companies from the region. For example, Blu Wireless Technology is part of the XHaul project that is looking at other ways to provide the links that will be needed and recently hosted all the researchers involved to collaborate in Bristol.
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