CONNECT launches new $2 million telecoms research

By Daisy Slater
CONNECT has launched a new $2 million ‘Open Ireland’ research infrastructure to support experiments into communication networks...

CONNECT, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for future networks at Trinity College Dublin, has launched the ‘Open Ireland’ $2 million research infrastructure to help support the research and development of new communication networks in the country. 

The announcement is being made this morning, Tuesday 22nd September, at the IRDG’s ‘5G in Business’ virtual conference by the Associate Professor of Optical Network Architectures in the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin, Dr Marco Ruffini. 

The operation will be managed by Dr Ruffini and the infrastructure will consist of a fibre connection between Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University. There will also be the deployment of macro and small cells which will provide radio coverage. 

The programme is primarily being funded by Science Foundation Ireland’s ‘Research Infrastructure Programme’ and additional funding is believed to come from companies who are set to collaborate with academic researchers to explore new applications and services. 

Dr Ruffini, speaking at the launch, stated that: 

“This is a game-changer for networks research in Ireland: it will allow us to explore real-world situations outside the traditional laboratory environment, and it will open up the full span of the communications network – wireless radio, optical fibre, and data centres – for testing.” 

“Advances in communications networks will drive the digital economy in the years ahead so it is essential that Ireland is a leader in the field if we are to experience benefits in fields such as telemedicine.”

“Our approach is based on open networking solutions, which allow for the continuous improvement of the network. This has the potential to deliver better experiences for users such as the addition of intelligence mechanisms based on machine learning algorithms.”

Dean of Research at Trinity College Dublin, Professor Linda Doyle, also spoke on the matter, stating that research and funding will be a great stepping stone for the country’s networking communications and will also aid the development of the country's existing research ecosystem.

“This is great news for research in communication networks in Ireland. For the first time, researchers will be able to perform end-to-end research across heterogeneous network domains, including mobile networks, optical networks and cloud computing resources.”

“This will be a significant support for applications for major European funding awards, and will enhance the national research ecosystem by providing opportunities for further collaboration between industry and academia.” 

Dr Siobhan Roche, Director Science for Economy, Science Foundation Ireland, also spoke at the launch and highlighted the importance of the research as well as the aims of the infrastructure: 

“The aim of the SFI Research Infrastructure Call is to support the research community in building and sustaining the infrastructural capacity to accomplish high quality, high impact, innovative research, while enhancing and underpinning enterprise competitiveness and societal development in Ireland.”

“This new research infrastructure will accelerate Ireland’s development as a global leader for innovation in next-generation communication networks. It will be a significant asset for attracting research funding and industry investment in Ireland.”


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