The Flex5Gware project, funded under the HORIZON 2020 Framework Programme by the European Commission, has now ended. The research goal was to pave the way for a smooth transition from 4G to 5G mobile wireless systems by delivering highly reconfigurable hardware and software platforms.
The focus was on meeting the anticipated surge in mobile data traffic and the varied application requirements that 5G is expected to handle. Challenges such as system design complexities were addressed through what could be described as novel technologies, including analogue components for massive MIMO for mmWave and reconfigurable software architectures.
In terms of hardware, the project concentrated on increasing versatility and reconfigurability. Flex5Gware looked at enabling more efficient operation in both sub-6 GHz and mmWave frequency bands. This involved the creation of advanced semiconductor technologies and new hardware architectures that could accommodate a broad bandwidth and massive MIMO capabilities.
For software, the project aimed to develop hardware-agnostic platforms. The work centered around creating scalable, flexible multi-RAT networks and a programmable architecture. Special attention was given to the control and management planes, ensuring a technology-agnostic operation and effective service deployment. The aim was to make the hardware and software adaptable to the rigorous and ever-changing operational demands of 5G, with a particular focus on Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE).
The project also aimed to significantly increase the overall capacity of 5G communication platforms. Here, the key contributions ranged from enhancing mobile data volume per geographical area to increasing user data rates. Technologies developed covered both the analogue and digital domains, and involved improvements in full-duplex operation, high-speed converters, and other mixed-signal technologies.
In an era when sustainability has become a significant concern, Flex5Gware paid particular attention to energy efficiency. The project managed to make improvements in energy efficiency at both the device and base station levels.
Finally, the project culminated in a demonstration event, involving all consortium partners, to showcase the developed technologies. Performance evaluation activities were essential to the project, and proofs-of-concept were carried out both for standalone technologies and integrated multi-technology solutions.
In summary, the Flex5Gware project has made important contributions to the 5G landscape. Its outcomes are expected to influence the development and deployment of 5G networks, contributing to increased capacity, flexibility, and energy efficiency. With its targeted research and development, Flex5Gware has provided meaningful advancements in hardware and software technologies for 5G systems.