We embark on a ground-breaking journey to reshape the future of open networks. Our project, led by the visionary Professor Dimitra Simeonidou and funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology is set to revolutionise the telecommunications industry. We are thrilled to introduce you to the Future Open Networks Research Challenge, a collaborative endeavour aimed at driving openness and interoperability within future network architectures.

The vision

In an age where technology is the driving force behind connectivity, we recognise the pressing need to cultivate network infrastructures that not only meet the demands of today but also the uncharted territories of tomorrow. Our vision for the Future Open Networks Research Challenge is a collective effort that unites universities, Radio Access Network (RAN) vendors, and telecom organisations.

Together, we strive to conduct ground-breaking research and development to ensure that openness and interoperability become integral components of future network architectures.

These innovative technologies will not only captivate the attention of large vendors, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), and Venture Capitalists, but also contribute to the diversification of future network landscapes.

The University of Bristol is delighted to lead this partnership and drive the development of future open 6G network solutions in the UK. Our project, REASON, is engaging a consortium of partners representing the entire telecoms R&D ecosystem, including leading UK Universities, large equipment vendors, service and content providers and innovative SMEs.

REASON will address key technological challenges of delivering End-to-End Open Network solutions, considering all segments and functions of the network. The project will pursue breakthroughs on elevating bottlenecks of current systems, such as interoperability, agility, sustainability, resilience, and security, and will position UK-born technologies as candidates for delivering future solutions.

Prof. Dimitra Simeonidou

Project lead, University of Bristol

Our mission

The challenge is designed with the following goals in mind:

  1. Shaping the Future: We aim to influence the future technology roadmap, making openness and interoperability the default standards in network architectures and systems.
  2. Strengthening Influence: We are committed to bolstering the UK’s influence in Standards Development Organisations (SDOs).
  3. Building a Strong Ecosystem: We seek to fortify the UK telecoms R&D ecosystem and enhance its capabilities.
  4. Government Collaboration: Engaging with governmental bodies and initiatives, such as DSIT, UK Research and Innovation/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN), SONIC Labs, and the UK Telecommunications Laboratory (UKTL), we actively contribute to the UK’s evolving future networks and 6G vision.

The challenge winners

The REASON project, funded with a total of £11,993,730, spans across multiple locations and boasts a rich array of partners, including:

  • Bristol (University of Bristol – LEAD, Parallel Wireless)
  • Southampton (University of Southampton)
  • Reading (Thales UK)
  • London (King’s College London, Weaver Labs, Digital Catapult, BBC, Samsung, Ericsson)
  • Cambridge (Nokia Bell Labs)
  • Ipswich (BT)
  • Pulborough (Real Wireless)
  •  Glasgow (University of Strathclyde)
  • Belfast (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • South Wales (Compound Semiconductor Centre)

Project summary

REASON, or Realising Enabling Architectures and Solutions for Open Networks, is an ambitious project that assembles an ecosystem representing the entire telecommunications R&D supply chain. We join forces with three major mobile network equipment vendors to innovate, develop, and industrialise technologies and solutions for future 6G telecommunication networks.

In essence, REASON aims to:

  • develop a roadmap for open 6G network architectures, setting the framework for technological advancements;
  • integrate multi-technology access networks effectively to meet emerging 6G key performance indicators;
  • explore unprecedented network densification and smart technologies that support 6G use cases;
  • leverage state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to develop network-edge and network-wide automation solutions;
  • provide end-to-end service optimisation through cognitive orchestration tools.

Every aspect of our project is founded upon principles of sustainability and security by design, ensuring that the resulting architectural blocks are robust and dependable.