The mobile operator will work with Guildford-based chipset firm Lime Microsystems to develop software-defined cellular radio platforms that support the radio access network (RAN) for 4G and NB and IoT.
Vodafone and Lime demonstrated a low cost radio at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year.
This latest development will be based on Lime’s LimeNET programmable radio platform. The field programmable radio can adapt dynamically to multiple bands.
Francisco Martin, head of radio product, Vodafone Group Technology, writes:
“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…. to build new services and a completely different radio.”
LimeNET uses Lime’s LMS7002M field-programmable CMOS RF transceiver with two transmit and two receive chains (2×2 MIMO possible) for continuous coverage over 100kHz to 3.8GHz with 120MHz RF bandwidth.
Lime says that the comms protocols which potentially could run on the hardware platform includes all regional variants of 2G, 3G and 4G cellular (plus plans for 5G); IoT protocols including LoRa, Sigfox, narrow-band (NB-IoT), LTE-M, Weightless; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and RFID networking standards, and digital broadcasting.
Lime CEO Ebrahim Bushehri, writes:
“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.”