VLAIO Funded Projects Enable Accelleran to Showcase Use of Open RAN Technology

Antwerp, Belgium – 22nd June 2022 – Accelleran has confirmed that it is part of the winning consortia that are about to undertake two major projects. These will validate the use of 5G mobile communications in emerging vertical applications. Both of the ICON projects rely on multi-million Euro financial backing from Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), with Flanders based industrial partners and academic R&D centers also participating.

The VLAIO funded 5GECO project will start this summer and run for 24 months – with the objective being to reduce the capital and operational expenses associated with 5G deployments. The investment needed to build a radio access network (RAN) will be minimized by active sharing of the infrastructure in a neutral host model. Transport using passive optical networking (PON) will also be researched and demonstrated, for further cost reduction. By taking an Open RAN approach and leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) for orchestration and optimization, it will be possible for multiple tenants to share network infrastructure. Each tenant will have resources allocated to them, with updates and reconfigurations being made in real time. This ‘intelligent neutral hosting’ will result in more optimized spectrum usage, compared to current network sharing strategies, so higher service level agreements can be delivered without excessive overprovisioning. Additionally, the infrastructure will not consume as much power – thereby alleviating the environmental impact. It is Accelleran’s dRAXTM RIC and accompanying xApps that will be responsible for monitoring the network and managing the data being fed into the AI algorithms.

Also commencing this summer, the Flanders Make ValArch5G ICON project will conclude in late 2024. Accelleran will supply both hardware and software elements needed for the RAN. High reliability, low-latency 5G networks will be implemented, capable of supporting time-critical industrial applications. Extensive trials will then be done in relation to controlling automated guided vehicles (AGVs) at a factory site on land, plus unmanned marine vessels over an offshore network.

“Through the funding provided by the Flemish government, Accelleran and its collaborative partners will be able to explore the wealth of possibilities that 5G offers beyond conventional mobile services,” notes Simon Pryor, Research & Innovation Program Director at Accelleran. “These two pioneering ICON projects will prove the value of private 5G network installations for key network verticals, based on disaggregated Open RAN architectures, while showing that costs can be managed for affordable 5G solutions.”