University of Bristol Smart Internet Lab uses Xilinx Technology to build Flexible and Programmable SDN Controlled 5G Network Testbed for Urban Connectivity
University of Bristol, Smart Internet Lab, leverages Xilinx® (NASDAQ: XLNX) silicon technology to deploy and demonstrate the world’s first end-to-end 5G urban network. This flexible and programmable 5G network testbed consisting of 5G NR radio heads connected to the 5G virtualized baseband pool using multiple protocols with dynamic low latency aggregation and elastic bandwidth allocation into the fibre backhaul utilising an end to end SDN controlled environment. Use cases are demonstrated in a hyper-connected Smart City environment, Augmented Reality, Autonomous Transport, and Smart Tourism are being showcased with this 5G network testbed. The project is funded by the UK Government’s Department of Digital Culture Media and Sports (DCMS).
The 5th generation of wireless access networks are expected to meet system and service requirements of the new use cases and applications in 2020 and beyond. Connecting industries and enabling new services is the most significant aspect of 5G in preparation to meet the demands of the information society of 2020. The 4th generation, or 4G LTE, is all about people and places with communication and information sharing being the core theme. 5G extends the scope to machines by adding reliable and resilient control and monitoring to the 4G theme of communication and information sharing. This shift has a profound impact on the system requirements and design principles. 5G vision is all encompassing and touches all aspects of our lives from how we produce goods, manage energy and environment in process of production, transport, store, and consume goods, to how we live, work, commute, entertain, and even relax.
“We have taken the challenge to design and deploy the world’s first 5G urban network at Bristol and demonstrate services to the public on the 17th and 18th of March,” said Dimitra Simeonidou, Director, Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol. “Central to our architecture has been flexibility and programmability of the network edge, including traffic aggregation and computing, as well as disaggregation of hardware hosted network functions across the infrastructure. We widely used Xilinx’s platform to support this architecture. Our 5G open hardware solutions are fully transferable and there are already plans for deployments in other cities across the UK and Europe.”
Xilinx All Programmable FPGA and SoCs are playing a critical role in implementing 5G proof of concepts, test beds and early commercialization trials for eMBB, URLLC, and mMTC use cases. Merchant silicon does not exist and ASICs are not viable this early in 5G standardization phase. The key value proposition of the platforms based on Xilinx All Programmable FPGAs & SoCs is that these systems can be dynamically repurposed to support any function and enhanced algorithmic implementations to address those multiple different use cases.
“Xilinx has a long history of driving innovations, industry standards, proof of concepts, testbeds and successful commercialization of the technology compliant to constantly evolving standards to meet perpetual growth in demand for connectivity and bandwidth,” said Farhad Shafai, VP Xilinx Communications Business. “Xilinx is a leading technology provider for multiple markets such as communications, cloud computing, industrial, automotive, medical, broadcast, and public safety. 5G megatrend is a unique opportunity to leverage years of multi-market leadership and technology investments at Xilinx to enable industry to meet demands of the connected information society of 2020.”
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