Vodafone teams up with Lime to get a taste of SDN/NFV innovation

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Vodafone is working with Lime Microsystems to develop new software-defined cellular radio platforms.

The partnership is part of Vodafone's OPEN RAN project to explore virtualised technology. The operator will use Lime Microsystems' app-enabled LimeNET platform to bring together a group of developers who will build new kinds of cellular applications.

The collaboration is aiming to span the entirety of radio access network technology, including the likes of LTE, NB-IoT and enterprise applications.

Vodafone also has a company-wide virtualisation project in place called Ocean, although it is unclear how and where OPEN RAN fits within it.

[Read more: Ocean’s 40: Vodafone looks to minimise hold-ups as it battles with group-wide NFV, SDN project]

Francisco Martin, Head of Radio Product, Vodafone Group Technology said: “Lime Micro is at the forefront of software defined radio wireless technology development, and the platform being app-enabled brings the concepts of agile and feature-rich systems together, unlocking new applications that leverage this radio flexibility and openness to build new services and a completely different radio.”

Lime CEO Ebrahim Bushehri added: “LimeNET is the next phase in virtualising wireless networks and bringing products that operators can use for future real-world deployments. The radio was limited before in terms of the flexibility of providing various frequencies and modes, but we’ve solved that with our field programmable radio that can adapt dynamically to multiple bands.

“Wireless innovation has been limited by access to affordable, easy-to-use, maintainable and upgradeable hardware. By making radio networks software configurable, LimeNET is changing this and is aligning well with Vodafone’s Open RAN initiative to virtualise RAN functionality and enable decoupling of hardware, software and third party applications using general purpose platforms.

"We already have a great community developing apps, and together with innovative operators like Vodafone, with whom we demoed low cost radio in MWC17, we are exploring the commercialisation of these platforms.”

Lime Microsystems is also working with EE in deploying a "network in a box" solution to connect remote parts of rural Scotland.