Communications Technology

250+ Companies

21,000+ Employees

Ottawa is an established, internationally recognized centre of excellence in communications technology which continues to shape the wireless industry worldwide. Home to the top five mobile backhaul equipment market vendors, the top ten optical network hardware vendors and 90% of telecommunications research, Ottawa is a global leader developing the future of communication networks.

Accelerating the growth of this cluster in Ottawa are a plethora of research and development (R&D) facilities like:

    • Communications Research Centre (CRC), a federally-funded centre of excellence specializing in wireless telecom


    • Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC), the only pure play optical fabrication centre in North America


    • Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN), brings together the supply chain of multinational industry leaders and removes barriers to commercialization by providing access to a world-class platform for validating advanced products, applications and services


    • David Florida Laboratory, the Canadian Space Agency’s spacecraft assembly, integration and testing centre


  • Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), Canada’s leader in defence and security science and technology (S&T)


These R&D centres play a crucial role in complementing commercially deployable research to locally-based companies like Blackberry’s QNX, Huawei, Nokia, Cisco, Ciena which invest in R&D, grow the talent pool, and attract investment.

Examples of Ottawa Communications Technology Brilliance:


Huawei is a global leader in the smartphone market. As one of Canada’s top corporate R&D spenders, Huawei is a major investor in 5G advanced communications research. The imminent breakthroughs of this research are expected to pave the way for autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things, thereby transforming Canada into a technology superpower. Ottawa is home to Huawei’s research and development labs which make up more than half of this company’s Canadian staff. Huawei’s recent investments to expand R&D operations in the national capital are a reflection of the calibre and abundance of talent that exists here.


Ciena is the second largest supplier in the world of optical technology, which is the high-speed core of today’s internet. Since purchasing Ottawa’s former technology giant Nortel Networks’ carrier ethernet and optical networking division in 2010, the company has grown to do the majority of their global R&D in the nation’s capital and has become the region’s second-largest technology employer after Nokia.


Five years ago, this Swedish company established a R&D lab in Ottawa and has since then pioneered cutting-edge products for its customers all over the world. As an example of local technology leadership, in collaboration with the City of Ottawa and Rogers Communications, Ericsson installed wireless sensors in eight rivers and streams in the National Capital Region. These sensors are automated and can monitor temperature fluctuations, water quality, and other variables and thereby detect unusual levels of toxicity in the water supply. If any potential issues with the waterways are detected, the sensors send signal alerts to the city officials. Ericsson’s Connected Water solution is not only efficient, but also brings significant cost savings for the City of Ottawa. Each sensor is estimated to cost $4000 less than other solutions on the market.


Nokia is spearheading next-generation communication services, revolutionizing the future of 5G and internet of things. Nokia’s presence in Ottawa is primarily focused on research and development. Product lines developed in Ottawa focus on high-performance networking that supports the delivery of advanced residential, business, and mobile services. This Finnish multinational has a history of partnerships with local post-secondary institutions in order to nurture tomorrow’s innovators and garner a pipeline of high-quality expertise. For instance, Nokia has virtualized its equipment to allow Carleton University BIT students to access the Nokia lab remotely for hands-on experience with testing, troubleshooting, and configuring networks.


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