Keysight Technologies, Inc. collaborated with leading vendors and mobile operators to present industry-first demonstrations at the fifth global PlugFest event organized by the O-RAN ALLIANCE

Using the Keysight Open RAN Architect (KORA) solution, which is accelerating the development of Open RAN (O-RAN) technologies, Keysight and its partners showcased industry leading innovations, including:

  • Characterization and validation of O-RAN Energy Plane (E-Plane) Energy Savings (ES) techniques using processor power management technologies (P-States, C-States and uncore frequency Scaling) in third generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors for dynamic closed loop optimization of energy consumption. A multi-vendor cloud-native O-RAN system was tested using a field-to-lab digital twin framework emulating mobile networks traffic scenarios.
  • Automated O-RAN E-Plane Energy Consumption (EC) measurements based on ETSI specification of a massive MIMO (mMIMO) O-RAN Radio Unit (O-RU) with different load levels and models.
  • Completed beamforming functional test and synchronization plane performance test of a mMIMO O-RU.
  • Enablement of RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) assisted artificial intelligence/ machine learning (AI/ML) optimization for energy savings and admission control use cases, as well as rapid deployment of test and validation for near-real-time RIC and xApps using an orchestration framework.
  • Demonstrated the most comprehensive automated security test for O-RAN multi-vendor Next Generation Node B (gNB) with 3GPP Security Assurance Specification (SCAS) test cases (gNB NSA and General), distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and vulnerability scan including port/service scan, system vulnerability scan and security protocol profile checking.

In addition, the KORA solution portfolio enabled 14 vendors, eight mobile operators and three Open Testing and Integration Centers (OTIC) to verify the integration of multi-vendor network functions and compliance to O-RAN specifications at five PlugFest venues and eight labs across Asia, Europe and North America:

  • Europe with Joint European O-RAN and TIP PlugFest hosted by Deutsche Telekom, EANTC and Vodafone at i14y Lab in Berlin, Orange Lab in Paris, TIM Innovation Lab in Torino and BT  
  • Japan with Rakuten Mobile, Inc.
  • South Korea with LG Uplus, SK Telecom
  • U.S. with University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory and POWDER Platform at the University of Utah.

Keysight solutions were used to verify the following conformance, interoperability, performance, security and innovative proofs of concept:

  • O-RAN E-Plane Energy Savings – Keysight's Open RAN E-Plane EE and ES test solution was used to characterize and validate energy savings techniques using processor power management technologies and Key Performance Indicators (KPI), which are used for dynamic closed loop optimization of energy consumption for a multi-vendor O-RAN system. The system included containerized O-RAN Distributed Unit (O-DU) and O-RAN Central Unit (O-CU) software, O-Cloud software and hardware including state of the art 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with telemetry and power management features and accelerators. Collaborators: Intel, Radisys and Wind River.
    • This test solution consisted of an O-RU emulator with embedded UEE capabilities (RuSIM), Core emulator (CoreSIM) for stateful emulation of the mobile network traffic and test automation framework (PathWave Test Automation) to test the O-RAN system. Keysight's power analyzer (PA2203A IntegraVision) performed precise real-time measurements of power consumption throughout the tests.
    • Keysight's Performance Benchmarking Solution (PBM) characterized the O-RAN system's energy consumption/savings profiles as the processor's power management technologies (P-States, C-States and Uncore Frequency Scaling) were modulated and examined the impacts on end-user performance in relation to the application and platform KPIs.
  • O-RAN E-Plane Energy Consumption - Keysight's O-RAN E-Plane EE and ES test solution was used to perform automated energy consumption measurements based on ETSI specification ES 202 706-1 for a mMIMO O-RU. This test solution consisted of the Keysight's O-DU emulator (Open RAN Studio), RF vector transceiver (M9410A VXT PXI Vector Transceiver) and DC supply with time-correlated power measurements (N7900 Series Advanced Power Supplies). Collaborator: NEC and Rakuten Mobile.
  • O-RAN Radio Unit (O-RU) – Keysight's O-RAN O-RU test solution completed several emulations: 
    • Keysight's O-DU emulator (Open RAN Studio with new Open RAN and Sync Test Appliance) and new mMIMO Multi Transceiver RF Test Set (MTRX) successfully validated a mMIMO O-RU's beamforming and synchronization plane implementation based on O-RAN specifications across the RF and protocol measurement domains. Collaborator: Fujitsu.
    • Keysight's O-DU emulator (Open RAN Studio), RF vector transceiver (M9410A VXT PXI Vector Transceiver), MXA/MXG (N9020B MXA Signal Analyzer/N5182B MXG X-Series RF Vector Signal Generator) and test automation framework (PathWave Test Automation) have successfully validated mMIMO (32T23R) and 2T2R/4T4R/8T8R O-RUs fronthaul control, user and management plane implementations to O-RAN specifications across the RF and protocol measurement domains. Collaborators: Azcom, Ciena, ETRI, Fujitsu, HFR, Mavenir, Microamp Solutions, NEC, SIAE MICROELETTRONICA, SOLiD and Viettel High Tech.
  • O-RAN Distributed Unit (O-DU) – Keysight's RAN test solution consisted of an O-RU emulator with embedded UEE capabilities (RuSIM) that verified the fronthaul M-plane conformance and compliance to O-RAN specifications. Collaborators: ETRI and HFR.
  • O-RAN End-to-End (E2E) – Keysight's RAN test solution consisting of UEE capabilities (UeSIM), test user equipment (Nemo Outdoor), CoreSIM and PBM were used to assess small and macro cells end-to-end performance, security and latency under load and stress test conditions. Collaborators: Ciena, HFR, NEC, Rakuten Mobile and Viettel High Tech (VHT).
  • O-RAN Near and Non-Real-Time RICs, xApps and rApps - Keysight's RIC and xApps/rApps test solution (RICtest) was used for three scenarios:
    • An energy savings use case for large scale O-RAN network was simulated with the Juniper Networks Energy Savings rApp, leveraging the O-RAN compliant O1 interface for the collection of standards-compliant performance metrics and reconfiguration of Keysight RICtest emulated E2 nodes. Collaborator: Juniper Networks.
    • A 4G eNB Admission Control rApp and xApp was tested with Keysight's RIC test solution, providing O-RAN network simulation of 60 eNBs across several tracking areas and device emulation of hundreds of onboarding subscribers with Juniper Networks' Non-RT RIC and Admission Control rApp providing overall governance across multiple Near-RT RICs. Collaborator: Juniper Networks.
    • A powerful cloud-native platform for O-RAN test automation enabled vendors to automatically test and validate O-RAN Software Community (OSC) near real-time RIC and xApps on-demand, across a customizable parameter space with Keysight's RICtest O-RAN Near-real time RIC test software integrated with the University of Utah's POWDER "lab-as-a-service" Testing Orchestration and Testing Automation framework. Keysight's RICtest was deployed with latest OSC Near Real-Time RIC and SMO. Collaborators: OSC and POWDER Platform at the University of Utah.
  • O-RAN Security – Keysight's O-RAN Security test solution consisting of UEE (UeSIM), CoreSIM, DDoS attacker (IxNetwork) and O-RAN component security audit (IoT Security Assessment) were used to perform automated testing of security test cases specified by the O-RAN Security Working Group 11 (WG11) and 3GPP SCAS (TS 33.117, TS 33.511) for general security requirements. Collaborators: NEC and Rakuten Mobile.

Cao Peng, vice president and general manager for Keysight's Wireless Test Group, said, "Keysight is pleased to expand our collaboration with the Open RAN ecosystem at the fifth O-RAN Global PlugFest, which focused on industry leading innovations and advancing technology development and specifications maturity. We continue to see significant progress made at this PlugFest with the increased number of solutions validated in compliance with O-RAN specifications supporting open interfaces and RIC AI/ML enabled optimization. Energy Plane is the new plane for RAN interoperability, optimization and differentiation as energy efficiency is a key sustainability goal for companies around the world. Several pre-standards E-Plane optimization techniques were tested and evaluated using new testing methodologies."