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ETSI launches its first O-RAN specification

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By Nick Flaherty


The European standards institute ETSI has adopted its first O-RAN specification for disaggregated LTE and 5G wireless networks.

ETSI’s ‘O-RAN Fronthaul Control, User and Synchronization Plane Specification v7.02’ (TS 103 859 ) specification covers Open Fronthaul, one of interfaces in the O-RAN Architecture for open and intelligent Radio Access Networks. It specifies the control plane, user plane and synchronization plane protocols used over the fronthaul interface linking the O-DU (O-RAN Distributed Unit) and the O-RU (O-RAN Radio Unit) for the lower layer functional splits. The scope of TS 103 859 includes both LTE and NR (5G).

“Recognition of O-RAN specifications by ETSI is another major step in enabling broad adoption of Open RAN,” said Claire Chauvin, O-RAN Board member and Strategy Architecture and Standardization Director at Orange. “Having the O-RAN specification available as an ETSI specification adds further endorsement desired by commercial and public sector entities in a range of countries.”

“The O-RAN specification has been approved as an ETSI specification after a thorough review and requested revisions by our experts,” said Dominique Everaere, Chair of the ETSI Mobile Standards Group Technical Committee. “When specifications go through the ETSI PAS process, they need to comply with the ETSI rules, and the ETSI committee in charge of these specifications works with the organization to ensure they align with existing procedures for approval as ETSI standards.”

The ETSI Publicly Available Specification (PAS) process enables an ETSI partner to submit one or more of its PAS for adoption by ETSI. It can then become an ETSI Technical Specification (TS) or ETSI Technical Report (TR). The organization asking for this process must be a legal entity, have an IPR policy compatible with ETSI’s or have exceptionally accepted to apply ETSI’s IPR policy, and have signed a Cooperation Agreement.

The O-RAN Alliance is preparing to submit more of its specifications to the ETSI PAS process to recognize additional parts of the O-RAN Architecture as ETSI specifications. This is a world-wide community of more than 320 mobile operators, vendors, and research & academic institutions operating in the Radio Access Network (RAN) industry.

ETSI has more than 900 member organizations worldwide, drawn from 64 countries and five continents. The members comprise a diversified pool of large and small private companies, research entities, academia, government, and public organizations. ETSI is officially recognized by the EU as a European Standardization Organization (ESO).

www.etsi.org; www.o-ran.org

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