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Vodafone details its new photonic silicon chips under development

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vodafone has Share a post today details how engineers at its R&D center in Malaga, Spain, are working on new silicon photonic chip technology designed to replace existing chip technology to power the mobile networks of the future, particularly higher capacity open radio access networks.

Photonic silicon chips, which use silicon as an optical medium and use light instead of electricity, is a technology currently used mainly in fiber optic communication systems. These chips are reported to be much faster, more efficient and more reliable than the current supply of electronic chips in most devices.

The main goal of this development is to place the chips in Vodafone’s mobile base stations, which will then provide its network with ultra-low latency, lower power consumption and greater programmability. It will also be future-proof with support for newer technologies such as generative AI, quantum computing and autonomous vehicles.

Vodafone has named two key partners in its role, Salience Labs (based in the UK) and iPronics (based in Valencia, Spain), which are two of the industry’s leading photonics companies joining Vodafone’s existing partners working to advance the chip architecture. Business.

Silicon photonics enables greater support for the increasing power demands of these more advanced computing technologies, with AI computation alone doubling every three and a half months, and outperforming existing semiconductor technologies according to Salience Labs.

Finally, Vodafone goes on to state that this new technology will allow it to further scale its 5G rollout, thanks to the incremental change in processing power it will provide at the mobile base station.

Salience Labs will primarily work on building the silicon photonic solutions, while iPronics will work on creating a radio frequency beam, which is “the ability to bend and direct a signal to its intended recipient such as a smartphone user.”

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