The two companies, leaders in wireless communication test and active in specifications development in the O-RAN ALLIANCE, have combined their capabilities. Central to the joint solution is the O-RU Test Manager which provides a seamless user experience.
O-RAN is making radio access networks more open, disaggregated and flexible. Opening the network architecture can foster innovation, accommodate individual needs and enhance network efficiency. Therefore, O-RAN is experiencing rapid advancement and growth in the technology ecosystem. The O-RAN ALLIANCE includes over 300 service providers, vendors and research institutions, and the number of participants in O-RAN Global PlugFest 2021 doubled from the previous year.
Network disaggregation as in O-RAN brings new challenges in terms of interoperability between the network equipment of different vendors. 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 joint test solution already supported benchmarking and validation tests at multiple locations during PlugFests and will now be showcased at MWC Barcelona 2022. It includes:
- The R&S SMW200A vector signal generator, R&S FSVA3000 signal and spectrum analyzer and the R&S 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, providing a single point of control for the integrated system, simplifying testcase workflow while allowing deeper data inspection and analysis as needed.
“The number of companies involved in O-RAN continues to grow, including traditional network operators and network equipment manufacturers, as well as new vendors, system integrators, chipset developers, OTICs and other labs,” said Alexander Pabst, Vice President Market Segment Wireless Communications at Rohde & Schwarz. “This large ecosystem will benefit from a partnership of two industry leaders, including the long-standing experience in RF testing and high-performance test and measurement solutions from Rohde & Schwarz, and VIAVI’s experience in network emulation, including demonstrator competency and CUSM plane generation.”
“Both VIAVI and R&S have collaborated with top service providers and vendors on rolling out previous generations of mobile technology, and our partnership delivers a best-of-breed approach with a unified customer experience,” said Ian Langley, Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Business Unit, VIAVI. “As software and hardware become disaggregated in O-RAN, testing has proven invaluable in helping the industry identify and fix potential issues earlier in the development cycle, so the technology can move from lab to trial to live deployment.”