The O-RAN Global PlugFest Spring 2023 took place in the i14y Lab in Berlin, co-hosted by Deutsche Telekom and EANTC, and supported by Orange. The i14y Lab is an industry consortium aiming at accelerating network disaggregation and Open RAN (O-RAN) by building a European and German ecosystem of vendors and system integrators. At the event, technology vendors had the opportunity to verify their platforms with test and measurement solutions from Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI, among other test and measurement vendors. Benetel successfully verified its 4T4R RAN650 O-RU flagship product to meet all interoperability requirements for Open RAN.
Network disaggregation is the separation of components which are usually integrated or connected via a proprietary interface. This means that service providers are not committed to a single vendor, and they can take advantage of the latest technology from multiple vendors. There are many benefits to this: for example, providers can upgrade individual network components without relying on a single vendor for updates, and new vendors can more easily enter the market. However, network disaggregation also introduces new testing challenges because it requires components from different vendors to be fully interoperable. The O-RAN ALLIANCE and 3GPP are addressing this issue by publishing specifications that all vendors need to fulfill to guarantee interoperability of their products.
The test solution from Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI focuses on the isolated testing of an O-RU and ensures conformance to the O-RAN ALLIANCE WG4 Open Fronthaul Interface Specification. This specification encompasses a set of functional tests that verify the expected behavior of the O-RU. Conducting these tests prior to engaging in end-to-end and interoperability testing minimizes the need for extensive debugging processes.
At O-RAN Global PlugFest Spring 2023, the following solution was used to validate the Benetel RAN650.
The R&S SMM100A vector signal generator, R&S FSVA3000 signal and spectrum analyzer and R&S VSE vector signal explorer analysis software from Rohde & Schwarz emulate a real-world radio environment by generating, capturing and analyzing RF signals.
The TM500 O-RU Tester from VIAVI implements the O-DU side of the M-plane and C/U-plane functionality; this is necessary to configure the interface with the O-RU and to exchange I/Q data over the Open Fronthaul.
The O-RU Test Manager application from VIAVI provides a single point of control for the integrated system and ensures a seamless user experience throughout the test setup.
The Benetel RAN650 provides outdoor coverage in enterprise and campus networks, fixed wireless access connectivity for rural broadband and other micro cell connectivity for both public urban infill and private networks. The product supports 4x4 MIMO and up to 100 MHz of bandwidth in a compact design. Benetel uniquely supports both Cat-A and Cat-B configurations of O-RU.
With a wide portfolio ranging from mobile network infrastructure equipment verification through conformance to mobile network testing and benchmarking, Rohde & Schwarz helps to drive the development, deployment and operation of O-RAN networks.