Supporting European Experts Presence in International Standardisation Activities in ICT

Project overview is an EU H2020 Coordination and Support Action with the central goal of ensuring a neutral, reputable, pragmatic, and fair approach to support European and Associated states presence in the international ICT standardisation scene. This StandICT project aims to include cell-free massive MIMO solutions with respect to the framework needed at the O-RAN architecture. Nowadays 5G networks are in an ongoing transition towards the open-RAN (O-RAN) networks. The O-RAN alliance provides specification documents for future networks based on open protocols. However, the existing O-RAN specifications do not cover the cell-free paradigm, even though it is already proved that cell-free can bring essential improvements to the network’s capacity and improve EMF radiation of the 5G. Cell-free is gaining momentum and there are new calls for proposals by European Commission, 6G-IA, and other institutions that assume dedicated budgets for research and development starting from relatively low TRL onwards. The cell-free paradigm has strong visibility in recent research papers and running EU projects (e.g. H2020 MARSAL, SNS JU 6G-BRICKS, H2020 REINDEER, H2020 6G BRAINS). Moreover, the work of the 5G-PPP alliance with its “6G architecture” whitepaper brings the important role of cell-free. IS-Wireless is one of the pioneering EU O-RAN vendors of a complete fully virtualized RAN based 5G and beyond 5G mobile networks that provide E2E connectivity to customers. IS-Wireless has been actively working on cell-free paradigms and already developed several solutions.

Role of IS-Wireless

In this project, IS-Wireless contributes to the novel extensions to O-RAN architecture for 6G with cell-free and AI/ML based life-cycle management. This will identify optimal ways of contributing to specifications and/or whitepapers in the relevant O-RAN WGs (e.g. WG1, WG3) related to novel network architectures and optimization techniques. Such techniques and solutions will align with the novel research results and have already been preliminarily validated by IS-Wireless in various EC-funded projects (H2020 MARSAL, TeamUp5G) and disseminated to conferences (Globecom2020, Globecom2021) and as well as are based on knowledge gathered through active participation in IPR work in similar areas and in interaction with Customers. IS-Wireless
will validate the possibility of standardizing novel technical concepts enhancing the beyond 5G/6G network designs and also decreasing integration efforts for the vendors compliant with O-RAN architecture. In addition, IS-Wireless seeks to validate the possibility of extending O-RAN use cases with cell-free and life-cycle management cases for disaggregated O-RAN networks, based on research and validations performed in the EC-funded projects and interactions with customers.