Government offers 5G Test Bed Free of Cost to Start-ups and MSMEs
The DoT authorised a financial grant to set up an Indigenous 5G Test Bed in India to meet India's unique requirements and take the lead in 5G deployment.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), part of the Ministry of Communications, has granted free access to the 5G Test Bed to MSMEs and start-ups recognised by the Indian government through January 2024. All 5G stakeholders, including businesses, academia, service providers, research institutions, governmental organisations, and equipment manufacturers, can use this facility for a meagre cost. This information is being released to promote the use of the Test Bed and support the development of homegrown technologies and products in line with the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” vision. Several startups and businesses already use the Test Bed to test their goods and services.
The Department of Telecommunications authorised a financial grant in March 2018 for the multi-institutional collaborative initiative to set up an “Indigenous 5G Test Bed” in India with a total cost of Rs.224 Crore, bearing in mind India’s unique requirements and to take the lead in 5G deployment. IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER), and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technologies were the eight institutions that collaborated on the project (CEWiT).
On May 17, 2022, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave the nation a speech during which he dedicated the Indigenous 5G Test Bed. The Test Bed can also be accessed and used through a web portal, which is located at https://user.cewit.org.in/5gtb/index.jsp.
The integrated test bed for 5G is located at CEWiT/IIT Madras, and there are additional test beds at IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Kanpur, and IISc Bangalore. CEWiT/IIT Madras provides end-to-end testing services for RAN Level, PHY Level, and other test equipments. While IISC Bangalore has the V2X and 5G open-source testbed, IIT Kanpur houses the base-band Test Bed, IIT Delhi houses the NB-IoT and VLC Test Bed, IIT Hyderabad has facilities for gNB Testing, UE Testing, end to end interoperability testing, and NB-IoT Testing.
The international 3GPP standard and the ORAN standard are both adhered to by the end-to-end test bed. Indian academic and industrial R&D teams can validate their products, prototypes, algorithms, and services on the open 5G test bed that the Indigenous 5G Test Bed offers. Additionally, it gives research teams full access to work on unique concepts and ideas that have the potential to become standards both in India and beyond. It offers 5G network facilities for testing and showcasing use cases and applications crucial to Indian society, such as rural broadband, smart city applications, and intelligent transport systems (ITS). It will assist Indian operators in comprehending the operation of 5G technologies and organising their upcoming networks.
The creation of this indigenous test bed is a crucial turning point in India’s progress towards 5G Aatmanirbhar Bharat and self-sufficiency in the field of 5G technology. This Test Bed is giving Indian start-ups, MSMEs, R&D, academic institutions, and industry users the capacity to test and validate 5G devices before they are created. This has dramatically decreased design time and increased cost efficiency, which would likely make Indian 5G devices more competitive in the worldwide market.
This Test Bed has also led to the creation of numerous 5G technologies and intellectual property (IPs) accessible for technology transfer to industry players, enabling the latter to support the quick and seamless deployment of 5G in India.