Q&A – bcom’s networks & security director Michel Corriou

French innovation for the common good.

b<>com is a research institute which came about from a public/private partnership including significant investment by the French government. Having opened the doors to it’s Rennes campus in 2012, the initiative aims to ‘innovate for the common good’. It focuses on creating innovations in services, tools and products in 3 main areas – e-health, networks & security and hypermedia (including VR and Smart Content).

It is participating in a number of major European technology projects and is also involved in a wide variety of technology standards bodies including IEEE, OpenStack and ETSI. We caught up with b<>com’s Michel Corriou, Networks and Security director the company to find out more about what they do.

What do b<>com do?

b<>com is a French innovation centre and a tech provider. Its 230 researchers & developers work on 3 main fields: Hypermedia, Networks and Security and e-Health.

Who are you innovating with and for?

We are working with academic research centres and industrial partners like Orange, Nokia, Mitsubishi Electric and smaller companies like Astellia, Kerlink, and Ekinops.

What are the current issues facing 5G?

5G needs to fulfil certain needs, which may be at cross-purposes with one another. On one hand, as a follow-up to 4G, 5G must improve very-high-speed mobile multimedia services while also covering the needs of the Internet of Things (with connected objects that exchange several messages a day, while having a battery life longer than 10 years) and critical communications (with major security challenges).  Another one of the goals is to minimise latency in order to handle several real-time use cases, like touchscreen Internet, connected vehicles, and augmented reality. This goal can only be achieved by combining different improvements, both in the radio access segment and in the core network.  Finally, 5G will need to substantially improve quality of service, not just by raising the maximum speed, but also by ensuring that this speed is more consistent throughout the cell, particularly in its border areas.

What does b<>com decide to focus on?

b<>com has opted to focus on certain key 5G technologies like SDN, cloudification, and the convergence of radio access networks. Through the involvement of our investor-members, we are at the crossroads of issues raised by academic research and needs expressed by industry.

You’re demonstrating your *Wireless Library* this week, what does the technology solve?

More than 20 billion connected things are expected by 2020. While market expectations are huge, a handful of different technologies compete to provide connectivity to IoT nodes, thus leading to potential issues with interoperability, cost, performance and deployment.

For this reason, b<>com has developed a Wireless Digital Front End module that offers outstanding reception performance thanks to cutting-edge digital pre-processing techniques.

Who can use it?

Industrial & Academic Research for prototyping and data processing acceleration, telecom infrastructure vendors for IoT gateways, vendors of monitoring tools and silicon vendors for device integration.

Tell us about the b<>com *Unifier GW*

Corporate and industrial sites are usually covered by both private WLAN and public cellular networks. There are benefits in using both radio technologies for an efficient managed indoor/outdoor radio coverage.

However, current multi-RAT (Radio Access Technology) systems have several drawbacks: they suffer from unbalanced security and features uncoordinated access selection. Also, they use expensive HW facilities that require a strong maintenance effort.


Who can use it?

Rolling out private LTE/WLAN networks in corporate or industrial sites where people need to access to both internet and company collaboration tools. Industrial & Academic Research for prototyping and data processing acceleration It’s also useful in smart cities with heterogeneous communication facilities spread out in various places such as parks, schools, universities, malls and government buildings. Plus hospitals, laboratories and military camps when confidentiality and security are key, not to forget venues, festivals or densely populated places where people would benefit from additional and coordinated radio resources.