5G took centre stage at Ireland’s MWC 2022 pavilion

16 Mar 2022

The Ireland stand at MWC 2022 in Barcelona. Image: Leigh Mc Gowran/Silicon Republic

Benetel, Druid Software and Cubic Telecom showcased developments in private 5G networks, Open RAN and ‘car-to-cloud’ services.

Wireless tech infrastructure provider Benetel has expanded its focus on 5G open radio access network (Open RAN) technology with the launch of a new radio unit called the RAN650, its “most important product launch to date”.

The Dublin-based company exhibited the new unit at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, at the Irish stand hosted by Enterprise Ireland. A number of Enterprise Ireland-backed companies also shared their latest tech and partnership announcements at the event.

Benetel said its new RAN650 unit is intended to bring 5G to private, campus and industrial networks, along with rural networks and public hotspots. The Open RAN hardware specialist added that the RAN650 can be deployed in different configurations to provide flexibility.

Open RAN differs from traditional radio access networks by allowing different parts of the network’s infrastructure to be built by different vendors. Proponents of the Open RAN standard hope that it will improve flexibility and lower costs through increasing competition and encouraging innovation.

“We are now expanding our OpenRAN portfolio with the RAN650, which can address a broad array of different 5G use cases,” Benetel CEO Adrian O’Connor said. “Our partners have been welcoming this platform already at early trials, making the RAN650 Benetel’s most important product launch to date.”

Benetel senior vice president Americas Olli Anderson and Benetel CEO Adrian O'Connor, showing the RAN650

Benetel US senior vice-president Olli Andersson and Benetel CEO Adrian O’Connor showing the RAN650. Image: Leigh Mc Gowran/Silicon Republic

Benetel used its strategic hardware partnerships with Intel and Analog Devices to develop the new radio unit. Each unit has an Intel semiconductor alongside an Analog Devices 4T4R transceiver.

“Over the years, Analog Devices and Benetel have forged a mutually beneficial working relationship, with our leading RF technology playing a pivotal role in their RU designs,” Analog Devices VP of wireless communications Joe Barry said. “Our involvement in Benetel’s development of the next-generation RAN650 model extends this longstanding relationship further.”

Open RAN has been gaining traction in recent years, with companies such as Vodafone and Accenture taking an active interest in its development in Europe. In 2020, the European Commission ordered a study into Open RAN and stated a desire to promote standardisation and interoperability in telecoms generally.

Last November, a report was released by Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Vodafone urging European policymakers and industry stakeholders to prioritise Open RAN development.

Druid Software

Benetel is not alone in focusing on 5G networks. Druid Software announced a three-way partnership at MWC 2022, collaborating with VMware and private 5G network supplier ASOCS to create new private network options for enterprise customers.

Bray-based Druid said the private 5G network platform was built with 3GPP protocols to provide encrypted security and protection of data to reduce threats.

“This 5G collaboration between Druid, VMware and ASOCS helps to accelerate enterprise innovation and provides next-gen speed and performance,” Druid Software CEO Liam Kenny said. “With this solution, we enable use cases well beyond today’s capabilities.”

Druid said VMware is “an ideal partner” to develop 5G tools with, thanks to its edge computing expertise.

“Enterprise customers are actively moving modern app workloads to the edge,” VMware VP of edge strategy Muneyb Minhazuddin said. “They are betting on 5G to accelerate this journey. And on private 5G as a foundation.

“That’s why VMware is working with partners like Druid and ASOCS to deliver differentiated private connectivity solutions that meet customers’ specific use cases,” Minhazuddin added.

Druid Software said the three companies plan to proceed with global proof-of-concept testing in order to bring “the best 5G cellular edge platform capability” to market. The initial focus is on industry 4.0 use cases for advanced predictive maintenance, video analytics for security, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Cubic Telecom

While 5G was one of the main topics at this year’s MWC, there were many other tech developments showcased at the event. Among them was the announcement by Dublin-based software supplier Cubic Telecom that it has partnered with wireless tech company Qualcomm to develop ‘car-to-cloud’ services.

Cubic Telecom, which provides software to the automotive and IoT industries, said it will enable the visibility, analytics, insights and connectivity behind Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Car-to-Cloud platform.

The Dublin-headquartered company said the integration of its software will allow Qualcomm to extend the cloud-based services to global automakers.

Cubic Telecom CEO Barry Napier said: “Using three of Cubic’s core software products – Plxor for differentiated billing, Insights for real-time device analytics and Pace for seamless connectivity, localised services and compliance – Qualcomm Technologies will be able to power global and regional cloud-based apps, services and content.

“We’re excited that Qualcomm Technologies has chosen the Cubic team to help deliver its next-generation vehicle solutions,” Napier added.

Cubic Telecom’s software is used by more than 8m vehicles across 100 countries for brands such as Volkswagen Group, CNH Industrial and Arrival. In 2019, the company shared details of a connected-car collaboration with Microsoft.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic