Maynooth University has opened Ireland’s National 5G Test Centre. The state-of-the-art facility called RadioSpace, which represents an investment of €1.5 million, is the country’s first large-scale facility for the research and testing of radio and wireless technologies needed for 5G and the future Internet of Things (IoT).
RadioSpace will be open to large industry and SMEs and start-ups, and will provide a unique, large-scale, interference-free facility for scientists and engineers from industry and universities in Ireland and internationally. It will be one of the first of its kind in Europe.
The facility consists of a specially constructed anechoic chamber that provides perfect isolation for radio signals; nothing can enter and nothing can leave. This, with the advanced test equipment and specialist engineers, allows for very sensitive measurements to be made, essential for the development of modern wireless devices.
RadioSpace connects industry and academic researchers with the aim of addressing the full range of challenges in developing new technologies and products for the next generation of wireless devices. RadioSpace is designed to provide a full range of services to developers of 4G mobile networks, IoT-enabled products and future 5G and mmWave devices.
The €1.5 million facility, which has received €638,000 funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), is part of CONNECT – the world-leading SFI Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications.
This service is available to SMEs and access can be facilitated via the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme. This ensures that both SMEs and larger organisations can avail of the technology and expertise of researchers in Maynooth University.
Speaking at the opening of the 5G Test Centre, Minister John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, said: “I am delighted to see first-hand the National 5G test centre at Maynooth University. This high-tech facility is very impressive and will assist Irish industry in developing future smart technology. I welcome the funding by my department through Science Foundation Ireland and look forward to hearing about future technology announcements by industry using this 5G centre. The development of smart technology is not slowing down and I’m delighted that Maynooth University is at the forefront of this research.”
Commenting on the launch, Professor Philip Nolan, President of Maynooth University, said: “This is a very exciting step for Maynooth University and for the country. This facility will serve as the National 5G Test Centre for Ireland, providing a space for next-generation wireless technologies to be tested, refined and applied on an international scale. I’m pleased to say that RadioSpace will be available to all those who can make good use of it, from leading researchers and innovators to students just starting their careers, from the largest multinational to the smallest of start-ups. Until now, Irish industry working in this space has needed to look abroad to avail of similar facilities and I’m proud we are now in a position to provide this centre of excellence right here in Maynooth.”
Professor Ronan Farrell, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering and Director of RadioSpace, said companies will also have access to academic experts in the area of wireless communications. “This facility will provide industry in Ireland and across Europe, as well as academics, a rare and valuable capability to develop new technologies and also to explore exciting questions in radio physics and engineering. We look forward to RadioSpace being a catalyst for increased collaboration between academia and industry, nationally and internationally.”
Dr Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, commented: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support the opening of RadioSpace at Maynooth University. In Ireland we have a rich community of creative and talented experts developing cutting-edge technology that will help us prepare for an ever more data-rich digital future. SFI currently funds an array of research programmes using smart sensors and data-dependent analytics that will be at the core of future jobs and addressing major societal and economic challenges. It’s crucial that we give our community the resources, infrastructure and testbeds to continue to explore, research and create. I’m confident that the new National 5G Test Centre will benefit Ireland’s research and innovation greatly.”