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Why A Different Approach to 5G Infrastructure is Needed Now


Bluespace Launching Partners, June 2017

Bluespace Launching Partners, June 2017

Introducing Bluespace

BlueSPACE is a new three-year European research project, led by Eindhoven University of Technology. The goal is to develop next-generation wireless technologies that are demanded by the market now. We need to vastly improve the performance of the global 5G infrastructure that is currently being planned.

BlueSPACE intends to contribute technologies to increase the speed of the current 4G network by a factor of 100, while at the same time reducing the power consumption of the network by 90%.  


Part of a Major European INITIATIVE for 5G Development

BlueSPACE is one of 21 new projects launched in June 2017 as part of phase 2 of the European Commission's 5G Public Private Partnership programme - 5G-PPP. The challenge for this programme is to secure Europe’s leadership in the particular areas where Europe is strong or where there is potential for creating new markets such as smart cities, e-health, intelligent transport, education or entertainment & media.

The 5G PPP initiative is reinforcing the European industry to successfully compete on global markets and open new innovation opportunities. It will “open a platform that helps us reach our common goal to maintain and strengthen the global technological lead”. Our overall key challenges for BlueSPACE within the projects 5G Infrastructure PPP are:

  • Providing 1000 times higher wireless area capacity and more varied service capabilities compared to 2010.
  • Saving up to 90% of energy per service provided. The main focus will be in mobile communication networks where the dominating energy consumption comes from the radio access network. Photonics (light technologies) will play a major role in achieving this.
  • Reducing the average service creation time cycle from 90 hours to 90 minutes.
  • Creating a secure, reliable and dependable Internet with a “zero perceived” downtime for services provision. 
  • Facilitating very dense deployments of wireless communication links to connect over 7 trillion wireless devices serving over 7 billion people.
  • Ensuring for everyone and everywhere the access to a wider panel of services and applications at lower cost.

The main objectives for Bluespace

BlueSPACE is designed to exploit the added value of Spatial Division Multiplexing (SDM) in the Radio Access Network (RAN). We utilize ultra-efficient optical beamforming interfaces designed for wireless transmission in the Ka-band. Our technologies can be seamlessly integrated into next generation optical access networks infrastructures using massive beam steering capabilities. We are developing software to ensure ultrafast and flexible network management control.

Our goal is to develop a truly viable and efficient infrastructure to support next generation 5G wireless communications. These new networks will mean a 1000-fold increase in capacity compared to 4G, reliable connectivity for over 1 billion users, strict ultra-low latency control, and network software programming. Photonics will play a key role in making this happen.

Focus on delivering relevant innovations

BlueSPACE is a large-scale project with a consortium that consists of fifteen partners in total, all from Eurpoean Union. It already has strong backing from industry. Over the next three years, the team will focus on delivering relevant innovations to ensure a high market impact and scalability at the conclusion of the project in 2020. Ten leading industrial partners are working together with 5 academic partners to ensure a pool of world-class expertise is available to tackle the challenges ahead for 5G networks. We are building a more extensive overview of the 15 partners on other parts of this website.

Photonics technologies are key to achieve the specifications for 5G communications systems in terms of capacity, latency and massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) support. The Electro-optical Communications (ECO) Research Group at Eindhoven University of Technology and the Netherlands Institute for Photonics Integration are contributing with their expertise in optical fiber communications, hybrid optical fiber-wireless systems and integrated photonic circuits.