O-RAN test demonstrated at i14y Lab Summit 2022
At the recent i14y Lab Summit 2022 in Berlin, Rohde & Schwarz, one of the lab partners, has showcased its proven and powerful measurement instruments used to verify the conformance of O-RAN Radio Units and the end-to-end network performance. Led by Deutsche Telekom, the i14y Lab is an industry consortium aimed at accelerating network disaggregation and Open RAN by building a European and German ecosystem of vendors and system integrators. Through early stage collaboration with open lab partners and customers, Rohde & Schwarz is able to adopt its portfolio in accordance with new test requirements.
Network disaggregation as in O-RAN brings new challenges in terms of interoperability between the network equipment of different vendors. The evolving O-RAN radio units (O-RU) need to conform with both 3GPP and O-RAN standards. Fronthaul conformance tests, defined by the O-RAN Alliance, ensure that the evolving O-RUs are interoperable with the O-RAN distributed unit (O-DU).
The fronthaul test solution showcased at the i14y Lab Summit 2022 has been developed jointly by Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI Solutions and includes:
- The SMW200A vector signal generator, FSVA3000 signal and spectrum analyzer and the VSE signal analysis software from Rohde & Schwarz, to emulate a real-world radio environment by generating, capturing and analyzing RF signals, extended for O-RAN applications.
- The TM500 O-RU Tester from VIAVI, implementing the O-RAN Distributed Unit (O-DU) side of the M-plane and C/U-plane functionality necessary to configure the interface with the O-RU and exchange of I/Q data over the Open Fronthaul.
- The O-RU Test Manager application from VIAVI, providing a single point of control for the integrated system, simplifying testcase workflow while allowing deeper data inspection and analysis as needed.
In addition, Rohde & Schwarz also presented mobile network testing systems, which are used to ensure the successful deployment of O-RAN networks, such as the 5G STS (Site Testing Solution) and QualiPoc Android. With these tools network owners perform passive and active measurements to analyze essential aspects of the end-to-end network performance:
- Benchmarking O-RAN with single vendor RAN: The performance of open radio access networks can be compared with single vendor radio networks following ETSI harmonized methods.
- Measurement of network synchronization: Network synchronization is a potential source of interference in 5G TDD networks and needs to be verified also in O-RAN.
By providing its expertise in lab and field testing to the i14y Lab, Rohde & Schwarz is helping accelerate time to market of open network technology for the multi-vendor network of the future. The i14y Lab is an open lab for interoperability testing of disaggregated telco systems, such as Open RAN, operated by a consortium of strong partners, led by Deutsche Telekom and supported with funding from the German Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV).
Alexander Pabst, Vice President Market Segment Wireless Communications at Rohde & Schwarz, says: “Disaggregation is one of the key ingredients of the evolution and convergence of networks. The i14y Lab has brought a collaboration space to Berlin that will strengthen Germany and Europe as a leading technology location. Innovation is deeply rooted in the DNA of Rohde & Schwarz. We have been instrumental to the success of wireless communication since its beginnings and we are happy to bring in our expertise here as well.”