INITIATE Is open for collaboration


Lancaster University is part of a newly launched Internet research testbed that will enable businesses and researchers to develop new cutting-edge communications technologies and services.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded INITIATE project will enable testing and research of technologies in the critical computing communication areas of optical networks, wireless and radio-frequency communications including 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualisation (NFV), and cloud computing.

INITIATE offers access to a unique network with access to five of the leading networking labs across the UK – including the Universities of Lancaster, Bristol, Edinburgh and King’s College London, as well as at the Digital Catapult in London.

The testbed, which leverages the combined expertise of the UK network research and innovation communities, is ready to support complex large-scale experiments that are needed to deliver future Internet research, technologies, and future services.

David Hutchison, Professor of Computing at Lancaster University, said: “INITIATE will provide experimenters with a geographically distributed platform for experimentation with advanced networking technologies including SDN, NFV and 5G, as well as practical collaborative opportunities for research in related applications and services.

“Lancaster supports the project through access to advanced networking platforms and communication technologies, and isolation of distinct experimenters’ traffic in experimentation using, for example, large-scale data such as in green energy monitoring.”

The Networking group at Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications has a strong background in developing new computer networking technologies and properties including Quality of Service, Software Defined Networking, cyber security and resilience, and the applications that depend on or can exploit them, such as distributed multimedia systems and multimedia streaming.

The Lancaster networking group also has a long history and expertise in building and experimenting with advanced network testbeds, and currently runs a very large testbed using SDN and NFV technologies as well as the latest routers and switches.

Luis Lopez-Bracey, Portfolio Manager at UKRI (EPSRC) said: “As distributed computing and applications become more prevalent, and in line with UKRI’s strategy to explore challenges related to Networks and Distributed Systems (e.g. reliability, interoperability and scalability), this announcement provides a fantastic opportunity for community engagement and exploitation of this cutting-edge facility. The official opening for third party projects opens the possibility of experimenting with complex, large-scale projects in an interactive fashion. INITIATE will facilitate experimentation required for future Internet research and complement the Government’s £200m allocation towards the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme.”

INITIATE is a four-year project that since 2017 has helped create leading networking and 5G testbeds across the UK and connect them to create a national resource.

The testbeds have been used to demonstrate world-first 5G musical performances, which used the INITIATE infrastructure to test and showcase the potential of ultra low-latency, high bandwidth, and full synchronisation delivery over a 5G network.

Businesses and organisations interesting in working with the testbed can find out more by visiting

Back to News