[Connectivity] End-to-end RAN control for a flexible, industrializable solution


The wide-ranging expertise of b<>com's researchers and members enables us to master the entire RAN production chain. The result is a RAN tailored to the integrator's needs without moving away from large-scale production. We take stock with Patrick Savelli, Deputy Lab Manager of the Advanced Connectivity lab.

The RAN (Radio Access Network) represents radio communications operations between a terminal and a base station within a cellular network. It includes protocol exchanges between these ends, signal transmission and reception in different frequency bands, resource sharing between users, flow management, and user connection security. b<>com researchers and members work together on RAN projects at national and European levels.

Patrick, can you present b<>com's RAN activities?

Our RAN R&D activities cover a broad spectrum of expertise. We develop and integrate software layers on hardware platforms (servers, electronic boards designed internally, FPGA components). Signal processing is also a key area of expertise, notably around synchronization issues, transmission channel equalization, and, more generally, improving reception performance in challenging propagation environments (mobility, obstacles, interference, etc.). This range of skills gives us mastery of the entire RAN and, therefore, the various use cases and applications of integrators.

"We take advantage of the complementarity between research and industry to rapidly create solutions adapted to a variety of needs."

Patrick Savelli

Deputy Lab Manager, Advanced Connectivity Lab

Our complementarity between the worlds of research and industry is a real asset. It enables us to apply research results to real-life prototypes and rapidly transform an innovation into a finished product. This flexibility allows us to respond to niche needs. For example, with one of our integrator partners, we have implemented a complete 5G network in an airborne environment to test a private connectivity bubble use case with ground terminals.

In addition, we provide training courses in 5G or IoT, combining theoretical aspects with implementation issues. Finally, b<>com has been part of 3GPP* for several years, which gives us a global view of the telecoms sector beyond the RAN.

*3GPP: cooperation between telecoms standardization bodies.

What are the advantages of the RAN developed by b<>com?

We respond to specific needs for private network use cases and adapt our developments to the highly varied requirements of our partners. Thanks to our mastery of the lower layers, we optimize the allocation of radio resources according to the different qualities of service required for the requested uses (videoconferencing, video streaming, voice-over-IP, etc.). We adjust the signal processing in the base station's reception section to improve throughput under specific conditions, such as high-speed travel. The hardware can be modulated to transmit in different frequency bands and with powers adapted to long-range communications. All this enables us to customize the network deployed while satisfying the requirements set by 3GPP.

The prototypes b<>com developed can then be industrialized and produced on a large scale by integrators.

RAN b-com

What RAN developments are you currently working on?

We're working on limiting RAN consumption, for example, by using embedded technologies and focusing energy in specific directions using MIMO. We are also seeking to reduce the size and weight of the RAN, making it mobile and enabling it to be integrated into a vehicle or aircraft, for example.

We are also progressing on innovations such as full-duplex, i.e., transmitting and receiving radio signals simultaneously on the same frequency band. The final aim is to increase spectral efficiency and network capacity.

In conjunction with our AI lab, we optimize signal processing algorithms using neural networks to improve receiver performance and enable terminal geolocation.

The wide-ranging expertise of b<>com and its members enables us to design, test, and optimize the entire RAN chain, responding to the precise and singular needs estimated by integrators.

Going further: b<>com and IRT Saint-Exupéry jointly lead the xG TN-NTN program to develop 5G exchanges between the transmitting station and a terminal located on a satellite. The aim is to create sovereign connectivity for vital communications.