5G telecoms lab for Bristol

July 20, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

The Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult is to open a £2.5m Future Telecoms Hub at the Bristol and Bath Science Park later this year. This will host test equipment to optimise the performance of telecoms hardware and to develop new and advanced devices. 

Driven by the growth of 5G networks and the adoption of next-generation technologies such as AI and the Internet of Things, the telecoms hardware market is forecast to grow in the coming years — the global telecom equipment market accounted for $538.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $967.9 billion by 2030, with a compound growth of 6.9%. 

The CSA Catapult, based over the bridge in Newport, Wales, has also entered into a partnership agreement to deliver a co-ordinated programme with the Satellite Applications Catapult to help support the cluster’s ambitions for growth and will have a presence at the Space Enterprise Lab.

“CSA Catapult’s purpose is to deliver long-term benefit to the UK economy and accelerate UK economic growth in industries where applying compound semiconductors creates a competitive advantage,” said Martin McHugh, Chief Executive Officer of CSA Catapult.

“Expanding across the UK means we can support more companies and bring more products to market through our technology expertise, supply chain creation and building compound semiconductor clusters. Setting up new centres in Bristol, Scotland and the North East will allow us to grow the ecosystem to support these new and emerging technologies in the UK.  

“We will collaborate with universities, start-ups, and larger companies to build new UK-based supply chains in telecoms hardware. We want to support and attract companies leading R&D in the UK. These critical markets, using compound semiconductors, will create significant jobs and growth in the future.” 

The initial focus at the Future Telecoms Hub will be on improving the performance of power amplifiers through load pull testing and design optimisation.  Collaborative research projects with Cardiff University and the University of Bristol will also be undertaken at the Future Telecoms Hub.  

CSA Catapult is working on several telecoms hardware supply chain projects in the UK such as ORanGaN and Secure5G. 

The Secure 5G project is building a flexible platform that will enable companies to roll out and maintain their own quantum-safe private networks, with targeted applications for Industry 4.0, mobile edge computing (MEC), the Internet of Things (IoT) and highly secure environments, such as defence.  

The ORanGaN project is looking to develop a sovereign UK supply chain, manufacturing processes and packaging solutions for radio frequency gallium nitride (RF-GaN) devices that are critical to 5G communications systems electronics hardware. 

“The opening of our Future Telecoms Hub is a significant milestone in the Catapult’s journey as we expand our activities across the UK,” said McHugh. “Bristol has an established network of innovative companies and research institutions located within and around the city, as well as strong links with partners across the Western Gateway, so it was a natural fit for us to place our future telecoms capability here.