Other BT PLC sections


Lime Micro Hackathon




BT teamed up with Lime Microsystems, Ubuntu, Quortus, Amarisoft, eurecom, Facebook, EIT Digital, Sysmocom, and TechHub to find small companies and academic institutions who understand the power of Software Definable Radio to completely change the landscape of communications.

The Lime Microsystems Extended Hackathon was the latest in a series of competitions aimed at supporting the best creative talent, helping them to turn their ideas into reality.

Communications networks have traditionally been the province of large engineering companies, producing tailored hardware with long development cycles. With the emerging ability to move many of those hardware components into software, combined with Lime Microsystems flexible SDR hardware, BT wanted to test if the creation of more dynamic and flexible solutions with far shorter development times could be demonstrated.

To that end, BT partnered with Lime Microsystems for the hardware, and OAI, Amarisoft and Quortus for wireless protocol stacks and EPC, to search for innovative teams who were prepared to explore the art of the possible at the leading edge of technology.

We wanted teams to deliver imaginative and effective Proof of Concepts that clearly demonstrate how these technologies will have a significant impact on the traditional mobile network approach.

With over 60 registrations, we selected 8 finalists as below, who were able to demonstrate all that and more in a few short weeks. Follow the links to find out about their work and the Proof of Concepts they have developed.

The University of Edinburgh - Orion : RAN Slicing System over LimeSDR

University of Cape Town - Inexpensive non-radiating ‘radar’ System

University of Vigo - BestNet: SDN enabled converged network optimization. A PoC comprising SDN enabled terminals, Wi-Fi and LTE access networks

EBTIC - Radio-Assisted Drone Navigation for Locating Victims in Indoor Search & Rescue Missions

ProcessGain  - uRadar : A system for detecting interference from cable networks

King's College London  - Functional Splits in Cloud RAN

China mobile - Large scale star network based on LTE standard for rural / remote coverage

Goat Industries - Signal booster

For more information on the latest range of Lime Microsystems devices, see http://www.limemicro.com/ and https://www.crowdsupply.com/lime-micro/limesdr/updates/bt-and-ee-limesdr-hackathon-and-limenet-launch

To contact BT about any issues raised by the competition, please e-mail infinity.lab.trials@bt.com

Lime micro image


We split the competition into 3 categories ;


Best implementation of an existing feature/solution using the LIME development kit while optimising Cost of development, Time to market and/or performance/efficiency.

Entries classed in this category will be used to benchmark the maturity of the new ecosystem versus the existing one, based on the 3 criteria above plus overall SW quality/stability.

Following the Hackathon, a report will be published to highlight the relative maturity of the new ecosystem and to identify areas which require focus, as well as proposing an optimal path to maturity. The report will also attempt to estimate an approximate maturity date. We believe this will be the world’s first report of this kind.


Best application of LIME development kits to solve an existing problem (see list of scenarios below)


Most imaginative and effective use of the programmable features of the LIME SDR chip

For Category B, we identified 6 scenarios ;


Disaster recovery

  • Autonomous ad-hoc networks:
    Following a large-scale natural disaster other event which has caused a regional or local outage, demonstrate how your solution could allow network elements to re-organise set-up a local/regional autonomous network without connectivity to the central core. How could basic services be provided temporarily in the affected area without compromising sensitive customer data or security? How could these network elements re-organise in an optimal way to ensure the widest possible coverage with sufficient capacity, using meshed networking, airborne solutions or similar techniques.
  • Self-Healing networks:
    In the event of a local or regional outage demonstrate how your solution could be used to provide a remote connection for troubleshooting or fault diagnosis of remote elements which have lost contact with the OSS system through normal channels. How could your solution speed up diagnostics and fault analysis and help prioritise actions? Could your solution be used to remotely reboot network elements and also to reconfigure equipment to adjust physical parameters such as antenna tilts in order to mitigate coverage gaps due to the outage?
  • Search and Rescue:
    Following a natural disaster which has caused regional or local network outage, demonstrate how your solution could be used to detect users in distress by picking up signals from their smartphones and pinpointing the individuals locations. Could the solution be enhanced through airborne installation, allowing one or more supporting drones to fly over a remote rescue area, either autonomously or released in a “cluster” from a Search and Rescue team helicopter? 

Remote connectivity

  • Improve Indoor Coverage / “Last Mile” innovation:
    Develop a solution to improve indoor connectivity to homes where there are some/weak macro coverage outside, but no high speed broadband connection indoors – especially in remote / rural areas where a sustainable cost model is challenging.
  • 10MHz of TDD at 1900MHz:
    EE and BT has 10MHz of 3GPP TDD spectrum at 1900MHz. Propose a solution to maximise use of this spectrum to enhance coverage or performance for remote / rural areas, transport routes, embarked solutions or any other innovative use case.
  • Tethered Drone:
    Jack in a box or tethered drone, tethered for power, but maybe also for backhaul. Wake the drone to be released only when there’s an indication that a prospective user is coming into range.
  • Remote coverage:
    Providing managed coverage for a very remote area. Including functions such as being able to automatically kick off or severely limit individual users that use too much bandwidth
  • Device to Device:
    Propose a solution using device-to-device and/or relaying that can allow better connectivity in and around the home. Could they devices relay off each other back to the network?  

Internet of Things Hub

  • In Home:
    A combined Wi-Fi and NB-IOT module for in home deployment. As well as the hub, are there any in-home IOT solutions that you can demonstrate?
  • NB-IoT gateway:
    A stand-alone NB-IOT gateway, with all local IoT data being aggregated, and sent over 4G.
  • Remote Monitoring:
    Demonstrate how EE might be able to remote monitor sites more cost effectively. Can IoT be used to allow for remote configuration and maintenance of a base station? If a base station goes down, could IoT be used to diagnose and repair the fault? 

Enterprise Network as a Service

  • Cloud RAN:
    Examples of architectures giving greater flexibility and / or lower costs, for example enabling multiple carrier remote radio heads. Demonstrating the ability to deploy infrastructure whose resources can be utilised and reconfigured dynamically, dependent on changing demands
  • Converged networks:
    Approaches to balancing traffic seamlessly and dynamically across multiple bearer protocols and links, for example Wi-Fi + LTE + Ethernet
  • SD-WAN
    Method to enable the Lime unit to connect into a corporate overlay VPN using zero-touch configuration and centralised policy control of the Lime’s routing of VPN traffic over WiFi and LTE or Ethernet interfaces. The unit could run an available SD-WAN solution e.g. Nokia Nuage, Viptela, Velocloud etc, as a Virtual Network Function (VNF) or an original SD-WAN solution could be built from open source components e.g. netopeer.
  • Ethernet Interfaces
    Method to support Ethernet connectivity via a USB adapter so that the unit can support mixed fixed and wireless connections. Particularly useful for Enterprises using combinations of fixed and wireless methods in the SD-WAN use case.  

Entertainment: Large-scale TV delivery

  • 4G to 5G Broadcast and multicast evolution:
    Could mobile technology complement or replace fixed DTT transmissions? To date, LTE-Broadcast has not been widely deployed. However, increasing pressure on spectrum means that there is a huge commercial benefit to positioning 5G as a generic technology for all digital radio-based services, including mainstream TV. The starting point could be to create an open source baseline LTE-B system as the starting point for 5G broadcast development.
  • Dynamic use of multicast:
    Multicast Operation On Demand (MooD) offers the potential for highly efficient use of LTE multicast capability. For example, when a popular sports event is on, there will be a huge increase in linear viewing. Can we use broadcast or multicast capability dynamically to ensure the best use of spectrum when such events occur?  

… and anything else!

We were also interested to hear any ideas you have outside of those scenarios, making use of the Lime Microsystems SDR kit.

graphic 1