ORCIP offers a wide variety of services, such as access to Optical Radio Convergence Testbed Infrastructure, Optical and Wireless Simulation tools, Communications Test Equipment support, FPGA development platforms for wireless and optical communications and Training.
The complexity of current and future optical-radio access systems both at the device and network architectures, combined with variability of the radio environment and the coexistence issues, makes it impossible the a priori characterization based on just analytical tools. Although nothing replaces real deployments, large field trials are very expensive and inflexible, while on the other hand simulations have to rely on models that are always an imperfect abstraction of a more complex physical reality. This provides the impetus for the development of an hybrid development and testing infrastructure, combining on one hand integration of simulators with physical test beds, and on the other hand integration of wireless and optical technologies. In this context, ORCIP provides an hybrid fibre-radio research infrastructure especially suited for this convergence that will provide a framework for advanced research cooperation between universities and industry. The ORCIP targets the new generation of radio and optical access communication systems and aims to research, develop and validate flexible integrated architectures for distribution of broadband optical signals and transparent transport of radio signals. The concepts will help in addressing several key issues that are encouraging operators and manufacturers to re-think network design paradigms. These issues are: improving capacity, reducing Total Cost of Ownership of radio cell sites, better spectral and energy efficiency. The new architectures to be investigated and tested fall under the umbrellas of C-RAN and M2M and represent a cut with the conventional radio cellular concept. ORCIP will provide research and test facilities and brings together expertise from the areas of wireless and optical communications, allowing previously untapped synergies.
The scientific objectives can be divided in the specific objectives related with the development of the infrastructure itself and the scientific objectives for which the infrastructure will be an enabler. Concerning the first point we have:
- Combine the strengths of physical deployments and simulation to provide an environment that allows testing and realistic characterization from the device up to the application;
- Integration of simulated and physical components;
- Development of flexible testbed allowing the characterization of the most important radio systems, future 5G, dynamic spectrum access, M2M as well as the respective integration with the optical networking.
Concerning the second point infrastructure will allow the research community, industry and operators to:
- Evaluate network topologies based on cooperation and characterize the impact of different algorithms at a system level;
- Define and evaluate indoor and outdoor topologies that integrate wireless and optical technologies for the different actors (namely M2M with cellular and energy transmission) to define the path towards convergence of technologies and service integration.