The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) has teamed up with Intel and Analog Devices to develop some O-RAN massive MIMO solutions which will apparently enable the metaverse.

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) has declared it is working with Intel and Analog Devices to develop some O-RAN massive MIMO (mMIMO) offerings which are supposed to enable the metaverse. This collaboration will apparently take the form of a 5G mMIMO Open RAN Radio Unit (O-RU) whitebox, to be distributed by Intel and able to support ‘O-RAN’s workgroup 4 IoT profile’ – whatever that is.

The issue as TIP sees it is that networks will require more capacity and intelligence to support the metaverse and other ‘enhanced reality’ applications, and while Massive MIMO can help with things like beamforming, there are currently no whitebox solutions available with extensive end-to-end capabilities to satiate said demand. So they are building one, goes the pitch.

The whitebox will be powered by Intel Agilex and use its beamforming technology and Analog Devices’ RadioVerse System on Chip (SoC) software defined transceiver, and will be equipped with a ready-to-deploy mMIMO wideband implementation. We’re told the The mMIMO O-RU was conceived as a 32-antenna element wideband standalone radio unit supporting Open RAN interfaces and other software applications.

“By using Intel’s Agilex-based whitebox as a reference solution, customers can customize their product to meet their unique needs, accelerating TTM and significantly reducing RnD efforts,” Mike Fitton, VP & GM at Intel said. “For regional ODMs that are trying to deploy 5G equipment in a country where the government mandates ‘Made in Region’ 5G equipment, Intel’s whitebox model greatly helps the ODM to own the design and IP. For operators, they can connect more devices from a single radio, enabling an efficient deployment of base stations and fiber.”

OpenRAN Platform Manager Andrew Dunkin at Vodafone added: “We are firmly behind the work of TIP and its ambitions to open up the ecosystem. Projects such as this will bring open massive MIMO capabilities to operators and mean the exciting potential of the metaverse is closer to being realised.”

It’s certainly not the first announcement to piggy back on the voguish term of the metaverse in an attempt to elevate what is quite an arcane technical product announcement, and of course you’ve got to find an angle for such things. However we would humbly suggest that as an industry before we pivot any further towards the apparently vital pursuit of laying the technical groundwork for the metaverse’s emergence, we establish whether it’s ever going to be an actual thing in the real world and not just the hobby of Mark Zuckerberg and a few other wide eyed evangelists.

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