Keysight Awarded Two Open Networks Ecosystem Competition Grants from UK Government

16 September 2023

Keysight Technologies, Inc. has clinched dual grants in the Open Networks Ecosystem (ONE) competition initiated by the UK Government's Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology, in collaboration with industry leaders like 5G RuralDorset, Arm, British Telecom, the University of Surrey, Virgin Media O2, and Vodafone.

The ONE competition, launched early in 2023, aims to diversify the supply chain for the nation's wireless networks while advancing Open Radio Access Network (RAN) architectures. A substantial £80 million was allocated for projects addressing three critical barriers to Open RAN adoption: high demand density (HDD) network optimization, RAN intelligent controller (RIC), and other RAN software automation, as well as radio frequency (RF) hardware and component development.

Keysight and its esteemed industry collaborators secured grants for two pioneering programs:

HiPer-RAN Program: In partnership with the University of Surrey, Virgin Media O2, British Telecom, and other industry giants, Keysight will collaborate on developing an exceedingly efficient, secure, and scalable RIC complete with advanced control modules.

5G RuralDorset Program: Joining forces with 5G RuralDorset, Vodafone, Arm, and additional industry partners, Keysight will embark on the joint deployment of an end-to-end Open RAN network, focusing on the co-development of various Open RAN network components. These components will specifically address RIC artificial intelligence/machine learning and security algorithms.

Both projects place significant emphasis on the RIC network component, pivotal for controlling and optimizing Open RAN network performance, allowing the deployment of third-party software applications to automate network functions on a grand scale. Furthermore, these initiatives will tackle critical aspects such as network energy conservation and security.

For testing and optimizing RIC and associated software, both projects will harness the Keysight Open RAN Architect (KORA) solution, renowned for emulating Open RAN networks effectively, accelerating the development, integration, and deployment of O-RAN-compliant equipment.

Dr. David Owens, Head of 5G Technical Trials at Virgin Media O2, emphasized the significance of a RAN Intelligent Controller solution in enhancing network efficiency and security, expressing confidence in Keysight's O-RAN solution portfolio.

James Grayling, Open RAN Product Integration Manager at Vodafone, lauded the potential of a multi-vendor ecosystem to drive operational efficiency and innovation, highlighting the clear benefits of this novel approach.

Mosaab Abughalib, Senior Director, and General Manager for Keysight’s Network Emulation Group, affirmed Keysight's commitment to advancing open network architecture alongside industry and government, focusing on resolving complex interoperability challenges and advancing AI/ML and network security algorithms.