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Toshiba-led BEACON-5G celebrates innovations in Open RAN for 5G Diversification

Bristol, 19 September 2023

Toshiba’s BEACON-5G project, dedicated to realising high-performance multi-vendor 5G Open RAN system for operation, hosts end of project event to exhibit some of its key achievements, breakthroughs, and technological innovations for 5G Open RAN.

The event celebrated the successful deployment of a multi-vendor 5G Open RAN system at one of the busiest traffic junctions of South Gloucestershire, with an impressive 4.3 km fronthaul link. This local private 5G network, operating in band n77, provides faster connectivity for sensors, CCTV cameras and workforce. As a result, the network plays a crucial role in improving traffic management and road safety as well as empowering South Gloucestershire Council in fulfilling its digital transformation goals.

BEACON-5G is among the winners of the £30 million UK government funding, allocated as part of the Future Open RAN Competition (FRANC) by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), to support the government’s wider 5G diversification strategy. To achieve this, BEACON-5G has been on a journey to deliver 5G Open RAN with native capabilities of openness, intelligence, resilience, reconfigurability, and democratisation, that can operate across dense urban local/private networks as well as public/carrier deployments. 5G Open RAN is key for the evolution of 5G technology and crucial to delivering better and more efficient connectivity to industry and society.

Led by Toshiba, the BEACON 5G project is also supported by a range of partners and suppliers from large scale private technology and telecom firms to public authorities that includes Thales, Accelleran, AttoCore, Benetel, and South Gloucestershire Council.

To bring the technology to life, the BEACON- 5G project team hosted exciting demonstrations to showcase 5G Open RAN in action at the event. This included live multi-vendor 5G Open RAN systems by Toshiba and partners, solutions underpinned by the RAN intelligent controller (network slicing, digital twin, and marketplace integration), Open RAN cyber security, and use-cases exploiting the capabilities of both 5G and Open RAN.

Leading voices gathered to discuss achievements and assess the future of 5G Open RAN from vendors, system integrators, network operators, regulatory bodies, vertical industries, to academia, government, and local authorities. Expert panels and keynote speakers focused on the challenges of Open RAN and business exploitation, as well as looking forward to discuss the exciting potential for the technology.

As per Prof. Mahesh Sooriyabandara, Managing Director of Toshiba’s Bristol Research and Innovation Laboratory, "Toshiba Bristol lab is honoured to collaborate with DSIT and project partners and lead this ambitious BEACON-5G project. This partnership propels our 5G Open RAN solutions forward, enabling us not only to develop an advanced full end-to-end multi-vendor 5G Open RAN system, but also to integrate innovative differentiating features. Our work with South Gloucestershire Council demonstrates the efficacy of 5G Open RAN in one of the South West's traffic hotspots. This initiative has enhanced our knowledge base and forged valuable partnerships, paving the way for numerous exciting future opportunities."

As Dr. Adnan Aijaz, Project Leader of BEACON-5G and Programme Leader at Toshiba’s Bristol Research and Innovation Laboratory explained: “The technologies developed as part of BEACON-5G provide a competitive edge for 5G Open RAN whereas the real-world deployment and the horizontal and vertical trials contribute toward its maturity. The project not only showed the technological viability of multi-vendor 5G systems and RAN democratisation but also the feasibility of operating as system integrator, private network operator, and services/solutions provider in the Open RAN ecosystem, meeting some of the key objectives of the 5G diversification strategy.”

Delivering closing remarks Mr. Masakazu Watanabe, Senior Vice President, Toshiba Europe Ltd., thanked the project partners for realising the vision of BEACON-5G and expressed excitement at further collaboration. He also thanked the UK government (DSIT) for funding support and leadership in open networks programmes.

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