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Sofia Tech Park’s ICI Lab and Firecell: Advancing Telecommunications Innovation.

Sofia Tech Park, Bulgaria’s first science and technology park, is home to the Intelligent Communication Infrastructures (ICI) Lab, a center dedicated to telecommunications research and innovation. The park, aiming to foster collaboration between academia and industry, hosts 11 high-tech laboratories, including the ICI Lab, which focuses on challenges in telecommunications, particularly in the realm of 5G technology.

The ICI Lab has been instrumental in developing a hybrid Radio Access Network (RAN) solution. This solution combines Oran RIC and Flexric from the Open Air Interface (OAI), addressing critical interfacing and intelligent controller support issues in telecommunications networks.

Firecell’s Labkit has a pivotal part in the ICI Lab’s operations. It serves primarily for demonstration purposes and is used when third parties visit the lab to test their equipment in an open-source private 5G (P5G) environment. This has allowed the lab to function as a practical testing ground for new technologies and has facilitated collaboration with external parties who rent lab time for testing their devices and applications.

A key insight into the lab’s work and impact comes from Atanas Vlahov, an R&D Engineer at the ICI Lab. Vlahov shared, “Labkit is the most stable open source code base on private 4G/5G we have seen. We use it at Sofia Tech Park for demonstrations and, for example, when local enterprises rent lab time at our private 5G lab to test their devices, applications, and use-cases. Also, Firecell’s latest upgrade that included the NMS has made the usage (of 5G) much more convenient and easier. Not only for us but also for our visiting customers.”

Firecell provides cost-friendly and user-friendly Private 5G connectivity for enterprises. Outperforming WiFi, offering robust connectivity for large, complex spaces. Our solutions simplify 5G setup, speeding up returns and cutting cost.

This statement from Vlahov highlights the practical and user-friendly nature of the technology developed and used at the ICI Lab, emphasizing its role in facilitating local enterprises’ access to cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure.

Looking to the future, the ICI Lab is exploring the integration of an O-RAN compatible Labkit and the deployment of a campus network. These steps are part of the lab’s continuous efforts to stay at the forefront of telecommunications technology.

ICI Lab stands as a prime example of how using open source code in practical efforts and within technology and industry partnerships can lead to significant advancements in the field of telecommunications.

For more information about the advancements at Sofia Tech Park and the ICI Lab, visit https://sofiatech.bg/en.