Berlin boost for O-RAN interoperability testing

Berlin boost for O-RAN interoperability testing

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The i14y Lab in Berlin has held a PlugFest to boost the interoperability of Open RAN (O-RAN) services and platforms.

The Joint European O-RAN and TIP PlugFest aims to accelerate network disaggregation and Open RAN by building a European and German ecosystem of vendors and system integrators. It is supported by Deutsche Telekom and European Advanced Network Test Center (EANTC).

The O-RAN Alliance Global PlugFest Fall 2022 saw Rohde & Schwarz and Viavi Solutions use an integrated conformance system to test O-RAN Radio Units (O-RUs).

The automated test system was able to verify the Analog Devices 8T8R O-RU reference design and development kit to both O-RAN and 3GPP pre-conformance.

This is important as O-RU designs need to conform with both 3GPP and O-RAN standards. Fronthaul conformance tests, defined by the O-RAN ALLIANCE, ensure that the emerging O-RU designs are interoperable with the O-RAN distributed unit (O-DU).

The ADRV904x-RD-RUMB 8T8R O-RU reference design and development kit supports time division duplex (TDD) as well as frequency division duplex (FDD) modes and multiple bands including all FR1 frequencies from 600 MHz up to 6 GHz. It supports a complete O-RAN RU Split 7.2 x split for 4G & 5G NR (New Radio) standards.

The O-RAN conformance test specifications defined by the open fronthaul interfaces workgroup WG4. This includes the control and user plane (CU-Plane) for both FDD and TDD modes of operation. In addition, the setup supported test cases from 3GPP TS 38.141-1 Base Stations (BS) conducted conformance transmitter testing.

“Open RAN technology has already proven itself in greenfield deployments, but to achieve mainstream breakthroughs it will need to demonstrate the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of spectrum allocations and different mixes of 4G and 5G. Flexible designs such as the new O-RU from Analog Devices help deliver on this [as] these more flexible designs require far more test permutations,” said Stephen Hire, Vice President of Wireless Marketing at Viavi.

The test system uses the R&S SMM100A vector signal generator, R&S FSVA3000 signal and spectrum analyzer as well as the R&S VSE vector signal explorer analysis software from Rohde & Schwarz. This emulates a real-world radio environment by generating, capturing and analyzing RF signals, extended for O-RAN applications.

This is combined with the TM500 O-RU Tester from Viavi which has implemented the O-DU side of the M-plane and C/U-plane functionality. This is necessary for the configuration of the interface with the O-RU and to exchange I/Q data over the Open Fronthaul.

An O-RU Test Manager application from Viavi provides a single point of control for the integrated system and has ensured a seamless user experience throughout the test setup.

“Open RAN innovators like Analog Devices need powerful O-RU test solutions to verify the smooth interworking of their designs in a disaggregated multi-vendor network. The i14y Lab in Berlin is a fruitful collaboration space for testing, harmonizing and validating Open RAN solutions,” said Alexander Pabst, Vice President of Market Segment Wireless Communications at Rohde & Schwarz.

Joe Barry, Vice President of Wireless Communications at Analog Devices, says: “By pre-testing Analog Devices’ O-RU reference design platforms for interoperability and O-RAN conformance standards using the Rohde & Schwarz and Viavi test setup, our customers can accelerate their integration efforts with confidence. This will help to reduce design cycles and significantly improve time to market.”

O-RAN testing at R&S;;;

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