O-RAN Radio Unit conformance test solution

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Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI Solutions are to offer an integrated solution for conformance testing of O-RAN Radio Units (O-RUs).

The two companies, leaders in wireless communication test and active in specifications development in the O-RAN Alliance, have combined to deliver a joint solution - the O-RU Test Manager.

O-RAN is making radio access networks more open, disaggregated and flexible. Opening the network architecture is seen as helping to foster innovation, accommodate individual needs and enhance network efficiency. As a result, O-RAN is experiencing rapid advancement and growth in the technology ecosystem. To date, the O-RAN Alliance includes over 300 service providers, vendors and research institutions.

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 new joint test solution includes: The R&S SMW200A vector signal generator, R&S FSVA3000 signal and spectrum analyser and the R&S VSE signal analysis software from Rohde & Schwarz, to emulate a real-world radio environment by generating, capturing and analysing 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 is 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 provides a single point of control for the integrated system, and will simplify testcase workflow while allowing deeper data inspection and analysis as needed.

Alexander Pabst, Vice President Market Segment Wireless Communications at Rohde & Schwarz, said: "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. 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.”

Commenting Ian Langley, Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Business Unit, VIAVI, added, “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. 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.”