November 25, 2022

Acceleration of OpenRAN 5G wireless technology


“OpenRAN is a fascinating place right now,” said Tom Cronk, Executive Chairman and CEO of AccelerComm in Southampton, UK. “From geopolitics down to the transistor level, it’s incredibly dynamic.”

“The US government has really woken up to 5G in a meaningful way and what it is funding is great for us,” he said. “The 5G Open Innovation Lab has been a fantastic experience with the pilot companies at Amazon and Microsoft taking a very advanced computing approach that is very different from that of the telecom operators. “

AccelerComm was established in 2016 as a spin-off from the University of Southampton in the UK to develop technology developed by Professor Rob Maunder around forward error correction (FEC) techniques to improve coding performance channels. IP is first used in FPGAs and then integrated into chips.

Cronk joined as president in 2017 after serving as senior vice president and general manager of the processors division at chip designer ARM. The company raised £ 5.8million in October last year to expand the team, bringing the total investment to £ 8.3million (€ 11.5million, 9.6million euros).

“The last wave of funding brought in more experienced people. For me that was a big part of that, developing another great engineering team in UK is important to us and having the university there is a great asset, ”said Cronk.

“In our particular case, we were very lucky. We hit the right people and the rounds went as planned, but I think that’s probably not the norm. We now have a size and can afford to widen the net a little bit, we are forming a subsidiary in the United States now in the valley and we have American customers, ”he said.

There is a lot of investment in cloud computing besides virtual radio and Open RAN, he says, with the United States driving business development and deployment. US government lab requests OpenRAN equipment to assess performance and cost-effectiveness.

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“The most exciting market with 85% of the business is the United States and it’s great, they are big investors and my history with ARM helps me. We tried for a while with China, but we got away from it partly because of the geopolitical situation, but also, it matured to become self-sufficient. What is not necessarily obvious is how prolific supply chains are in China. “

“The ultimate opportunity, although it may take a while, is to integrate the technology into Nokia and Ericsson and we have strong commitments with both, but they are so vertically integrated. They are both engaged with Open RAN now. We have been actively participating for 18 months to two years, we are very interested in the device pilot side and we are part of the active working committee on this subject, ”he said.

“We’re only a small part of a very complex system, so to be successful we need standard interfaces with open source partnership models and OpenRAN is a game-changer in that regard. Because we can demonstrate that what we are doing has economic benefits, we can extend our core competence in signal processing, ”he said.

Another trend is the use of IP in different ways in private 5G networks. “A significant proportion of our earnings are in private networks. Different companies offer different value propositions with different models. Oil and gas with lineup, mining with penetration, factory automation with low latency, ”he said.

“The reason we are under the umbrella of 5G is that it offers a larger market with three markets in one, with private and public networks and IoT. We are integrating this functionality into our configurable RTL, from macrocells to IoT, which will allow us to have a classic segment view of IoT, automotive and industrial automation, ”he said. declared.

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