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Sunderland smart city to use Open RAN architecture solution


Mark Say Managing Editor

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A planned smart city digital infrastructure in Sunderland will involve the use of Open RAN (radio access network) technology, it has been announced.

Network solutions provider Mavenir has said its MAVedge system, which comprises its 5G OpenRAN and 5G Packet Core solutions, will power the infrastructure, to be provided to Sunderland City Council under a recently announced deal with BAI Communications.

The company said MAVedge enables the secure distribution of private networks and facilitates a digital marketplace of applications and devices to meet many requirements.  It will also provide 5G connectivity to the local community in the city.

The solution is designed with cloud native virtualisation techniques to provide a scalable network with open standard interfaces. It runs of commercial off-the-shelf hardware and will provide BAI with the option of deploying radio units from different vendors.

Unlock innovation

Liz St Louis, assistant director of smart cities at Sunderland City Council, said: “This new partnership between BAI Communications and Mavenir presents a fully scalable network architecture to unlock innovation and shape the future of our leading smart city.

“Together we are harnessing the power of technology and digital transformation for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors to Sunderland. The new network will accelerate the emergence of more smart services including community applications, digital upskilling opportunities and efficiency drives for our advanced manufacturing clusters across the city.”

 The new network is expected to support the development of smart homes, remote connectivity for distance learning and new applications for the automotive industry.

The announcement has come a month after the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport expressed an ambition for 35% of the nation’s mobile network traffic to be carried over Open RAN architectures by 2030.

The networks disaggregate components and functions, in contrast to most existing mobile networks characterised by closed ‘black boxes’ in which all the components are highly integrated and provided by a single vendor.

Image from BAI Communications

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