5G open RAN IAB radio stack development via open source solutions
This project aimed to help develop radio systems for 5G mobile phone networks that remove the need for fibre connections between base stations.
Summary: impacts and findings
This project aimed to help develop radio systems for 5G mobile phone networks that remove the need for fibre connections between base stations. Using this technology, a network can be created at sea, using base stations on buoys which are connected together wirelessly.
Having access to effective mobile phone communication at sea will speed up the installation of offshore wind turbines, which is currently hampered by limited communication. There are many other potential applications for such wireless networks.
The project successfully developed and demonstrated an integrated access and backhaul (IAB) mobile termination function, a critical component of an IAB mobile network, based on open source code.
Project aims and approach
The project focused on developing libraries and routing algorithms for 5G integrated access and backhaul (IAB) protocols, as part of a stack of software to run an Open 5G radio access network (RAN) for mobile communications.
JET Engineering Systems Solutions t/a Jet Connectivity
July 2022 to March 2023
Achievements and barriers
The team successfully built a 5G open RAN IAB radio software stack, which avoids the need for fibre connections between 5G base stations.
On land, this can improve “last mile” off-grid connectivity, for example for use by emergency services in rural communities, and can reduce the environmental impact of telecom installations
At sea, it enables communications to work through a maritime floating mobile network. This helps particularly in installing and commissioning offshore wind turbines, when communications are currently limited or non-existent. Removing this difficulty should help accelerate offshore wind development and so speed up the route to net-zero. With better communication and access to data, operations can progress more efficiently and there is less reliance on carbon-intensive surveying using boats or aircraft.
You can watch a short ‘show and tell’ presentation about this project below, recorded in September 2022. Start from timestamp 30:45.
The project has demonstrated that a key element of creating a ‘floating network’ of 5G communications at sea, linking base stations without the need for fibre, is technically feasible.
The next steps include the integration of the IAB Mobile Termination system into JET Engineering Systems Solutions’ final product, before this is then deployed to form mobile networks at sea.