Visually striking €1.5m 5G test centre opens at Maynooth University

30 May 2019

From left: Prof Ronan Farrelll, RadioSpace and Maynooth University; and Méabh Loughman, Maynooth University. Image: Maxwell Photography

As one of the first of its kind in Europe, Maynooth University’s new 5G test centre aims to bolster Ireland’s capabilities in IoT.

Maynooth University has officially launched its new 5G test centre, complete with a distinctive blue, angular interior. It is the country’s first large-scale facility for the research and testing of radio and wireless technologies needed for 5G and future internet of things devices (IoT).

Named RadioSpace, the €1.5m centre will be open to large industry, SMEs and start-ups, giving access to large-scale facilities for engineers and scientists to test their technology in.

The site consists of a specially constructed anechoic chamber that provides total isolation for radio signals, meaning no signals will be able to enter or leave the facility as is key for this type of research. Maynooth University hopes that RadioSpace will help address the full range of challenges that come with developing new technologies, particularly in 4G mobile networks, IoT-enabled products and future 5G mmWave devices.

The interior of the test centre covered in blue, sharp conical shapes and a testbed in the right foreground.

The interior of the RadioSpace 5G test centre. Maynooth University

Crucial facility

With €638,000 in Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funding, the centre will now be part of the agency’s Connect Centre for future networks and communications.

Prof Ronan Farrell, Maynooth University’s dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, will be RadioSpace’s director. Speaking at the opening this morning (30 May), he said: “This facility will provide industry in Ireland and across Europe, as well as academics, a rare and valuable capability to develop new technologies and also to explore exciting questions in radio physics and engineering.

“We look forward to RadioSpace being a catalyst for increased collaboration between academia and industry, nationally and internationally.”

Also commenting at the launch event was Dr Ciarán Seoighe, deputy director general of SFI, who said: “In Ireland we have a rich community of creative and talented experts developing cutting-edge technology that will help us prepare for an ever more data-rich digital future.

“It’s crucial that we give our community the resources, infrastructure and testbeds to continue to explore, research and create. I’m confident that the new national 5G test centre will benefit Ireland’s research and innovation greatly.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic