Hi Patrick, can you tell us more about your work on embedded 5G?
We have developed a complete compact 5G base station solution. It allows deploying a 5G radio access network (RAN) based on the O-RAN architecture from a hardware prototype developed with FPGA boards based on the Xilinx Ultrascale solution. Enclustra, with whom we have worked for two years, manufactured these boards.
We have chosen a very flexible architecture, which allows adaptation to different frequency bands and MIMO configurations. The embedded technologies will enable us to run part of the RAN protocol stack on ARM processors and accelerate some physical layer processing by implementing them on FPGAs.
Our attention was also focused on energy consumption, by the chosen technologies and by improving the power amplification efficiency, by implementing the Digital Pre-Distortion. The power consumption of the whole system is thus around 100 watts.
This type of technology requires a wide variety of expertise, from software development, signal processing, RF, hardware design, integration, and testing. We benefit from this diversity of skills in the b<>com labs.
What are the benefits of this solution?
These choices allow us to reduce the size and weight of the hardware needed to deploy our b<>com *Dome* 5G private network. We could fit our base station (including CU, DU, and RU components as defined in the O-RAN architecture) and a network core into two fanless metal mini-ITX format cases, each measuring less than 30cm, for a package weighing less than 10kg. The output power reaches 2x5 watts.
Adding a battery allows this solution to be easily transported and deployed in the field. A backpack, a vehicle, or even a drone can carry him.
This approach enables the deployment of a private 5G network in situations where it's impossible to implement a more traditional solution. The use cases are numerous and varied, whether in the civilian or military world.
In what situations does this approach become essential?
It enables the deployment of a private 5G network in situations where it's impossible to implement a more traditional solution. The use cases are numerous and varied, whether in the civilian or military world. For example, applications are possible in public safety to provide local means of communication during incidents or in humanitarian emergencies when existing networks are saturated or deteriorated.
We envisage other uses, such as deploying temporary networks during events organized in areas with poor coverage and where the network is quickly saturated, like music festivals.