Published: 29 March 2022

5G/6GIC to host NPL timing innovation node

Surrey’s 5G/6GIC Innovation Centre (5G/6GIC) has been selected as the location of one of three innovation nodes which will boost the development of future time-critical technologies.

The innovation nodes are being developed in partnership between the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and host organisations the University of Surrey, the University of Strathclyde and Cranfield University. The innovation node at Surrey will enable the 5G/6GIC and its industry partners to push the boundaries of 5G and 6G time critical applications.

Each location has been chosen based on industry sector engagement potential, location, and suitability of facilities and connectivity.

The announcement coincides with the launch of £4.7m grant funding through the NPL led National Timing Centre (NTC) programme together with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). This funding will be for feasibility and demonstrator projects that contribute to resilient time, frequency and synchronisation and its dissemination and application. Successful applicants will be able to access traceable signals from the innovation nodes as part of their project to enable the development of new products and services.

NPL is the home of UK time, and accurate timing – traceable to UTC (NPL) – is supplied from NPL to key locations. The NTC programme is paving the way for trusted and assured time and frequency across the UK by developing the first nationally distributed time infrastructure, which will aid the acceleration of new technologies such as time-critical 5G and 6G applications, factories of the future, and connected autonomous vehicles.

Each innovation node will provide a combination of traceable timing signals and laboratory space for industry R&D, testing and validation of products and applications. The aim is to support business-led innovation, stimulate the UK supply chain and UK capability in this domain.

Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Director of the Institute for Communication Systems (ICS) and 5G/6GIC at the University of Surrey said: 

“We are excited about the timing innovation node at the University of Surrey’s 5G/6GIC. Thanks to our strategic partner NPL, this timing capability complements our unique 5G testbed facility and will enable us and our industry partners to carry out advanced experimental research and innovation on 5G and 6G time critical applications and use cases.”

Dr Leon Lobo, Head of the NTC programme, said: “The NTC innovation nodes are a significant step toward understanding the requirements for access to resilient, GNSS-independent and traceable time and frequency, for our current and future use cases. We are pleased to be partnering with the host organisations for these nodes, supporting the research and industry ecosystems in place develop the supply chain for new products and services, toward an enduring and sustainable capability.” 

Share what you've read?