Started four years back in 2018 March with total cost of Rs 224.01 crore, the ‘Indigenous 5G Test Bed’ will provide an open 5G test bed that can enable Indian academia and industry to validate their products, prototypes and algorithms and demonstrate various services.
Providing test bed with complete access for research teams to work on new concepts or ideas holding potential for standardization in India and on global scale, the department strives to make a test bed available for Indian operators to understand the working of 5G technologies along with security aspects and plan their future networks is among other major goals of the ‘5G Test Bed’.
Besides, the project is aimed at facilitating 5G networks for experimenting and demonstrating applications or use cases of importance to Indian society, implement and demonstrate IoT (Internet of Things) based systems and services in the country.
“Keeping in view India’s specific requirements and to take lead in 5G deployment, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) approved financial grant for the multi-institute collaborative project to set up ‘Indigenous 5G Test bed’ (Building an end-to-end 5G Test Bed) in India in March 2018…The test bed is expected to be ready by October 2021,” mentioned a Ministry of Communications document, accessed by IANS.
“The test bed is likely to enhance national capability in telecom technology, develop indigenous Intellectual Property (IP) and give fillip to Indian telecom manufacturers.”
With the launch of 5G test beds, the Ministry said it will be in the category of the US, the UK, European Union, Sweden, Finland, Thailand, China, Japan and South Korea which are among some of the countries that have announced the launch of 5G.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER), and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT) are among the eight collaborating institutes involved in the project.
The test bed is planned to be realized in stages over four versions — version 0 (V0) to version 3 (V3), the Ministry further said.
“The initial two stages have been completed. The design of next version (V2) has started. Significant progress has been made by the Institutes in system hardware and algorithm design. It is anticipated that the third version (version 2) will be completed by March 2021 and final version (version 3) by October 2021.”
During 2020-21, Rs 45 crore had been allotted out of which Rs 3.1855 crore has been disbursed and utilized, said the Ministry, adding “it is expected that the balance fund shall be utilized within the stipulated time”.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lock down and closure of the academic institutions, the Ministry informed to a parliamentary committee that the work of hardware design, fabrication and testing was adversely affected.
As per the Ministry, software development is on track and it is expected to complete the delayed process regarding testing and integration of the software with hardware by October.