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First consumer testbed for 5G technology

27 February 2018

The University of Southampton is leading a consortium of industry pioneers to launch a 5G testbed for urban scale trials of next generation internet services across European cities.

The consortium, known as the FLAME project, will test 5G technology with consumers for the first time in a real-life environment, with 100s of people taking part in trials throughout 2018. 5G is expected to transform next generation networks by providing faster access to media and new services such as augmented reality.

FLAME will initially launch in the smart-cities of Bristol and Barcelona, with plans to expand to further locations across Europe over the course of the project’s three-year lifespan. The programme will allow players from creative industries, telecommunications industries and smart cities to run 5G trials on an urban scale that improve experience for consumers, reduce the complexity of media service development and reduce the cost of delivering personalised on-demand content.

The project’s coordinator Michael Boniface, Technical Director at the University of Southampton IT Innovation Centre, said: “FLAME’s urban scale 5G testbeds provide unique opportunities to explore the acceptance, viability and performance of 5G networks. By focusing on media services the benefits of 5G can be experienced by consumers whether they are having fun, learning or just exploring the world.

“Success depends on establishing transformative media ecosystems that benefit everyone from consumers and content providers through to the operators of communications, transport and building infrastructures. The launch of FLAME’s testbed for urban scale trials is a major milestone in the evolution and adoption of 5G.”

At the heart of FLAME is a ground-breaking service delivery platform that uses software-defined infrastructures being rolled out across smart-cities. The platform’s advanced networking and service management capabilities allows media services to be dynamically placed and connected in locations where consumers’ need them.