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Demonstrations of 20 Open RAN Solutions from Keysight at the O-RAN ALLIANCE’s Fall 2023 Global PlugFest

Demonstrations of 20 Open RAN Solutions from Keysight at the O-RAN ALLIANCE's Fall 2023 Global PlugFest
  • Solutions covered AI/ML-enabled RAN Intelligent Controller, RAN sustainability (energy consumption and savings), test automation and enhanced reporting, and O-RAN conformance, interoperability, and E2E testing

  • Successful demonstrations with industry partners helping to accelerate the commercial deployment of Open RAN networks

Keysight Technologies, showcased its open radio access network (Open RAN) solutions leadership at the O-RAN ALLIANCE Fall 2023 Global PlugFest, by demonstrating test solutions for the latest concepts, features and standards that are under development within the Open RAN industry.

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“We are thankful to collaborate with Keysight on O-RAN Fall 2023 Global PlugFest. Through Keysight’s solutions and engineering support, we have efficiently validated the performance of O-RAN equipment. We look forward to ongoing collaboration, working together to further expand the Open RAN ecosystem.”

As wireless networks move to virtualized, disaggregated Open RAN architectures, new test requirements are constantly emerging. Keysight has continued working with its pioneering industry partners to develop and validate solutions for these latest test needs. During the O-RAN ALLIANCE Fall 2023 Global PlugFest, Keysight Open RAN Architect (KORA) solutions were used to successfully conduct 20 integration test demonstrations of multi-vendor network functions with more than 25 collaborators in 10 labs located in 7 countries across the following focus areas:

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) and RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) Interfaces and Use Cases

Solutions enabling AI/ML models training, RIC interfaces functional and conformance testing and xApps enabled use cases validation were demonstrated as follows:

  • AI/ML models training for Energy Savings (O1 interface) with Offline Training with Juniper Networks Non-Real-Time RIC and Capgemini rApps in i14y lab
  • O-RAN RIC Interfaces Conformance testing of the A1 interface for Near-Real-Time RIC with Rakuten Symphony at Rakuten Mobile Lab and with Juniper Networks at SoftBank Corp.
  • O-RAN RIC Interfaces Functional testing of the E2 interface for O-DU/O-CU with Capgemini at Digital Catapult’s SONIC Labs
  • O-RAN xApps-enabled use cases testing for Data Radio Bearer QoS Optimization (E2 interface) with OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA) xApp on OAI Near-Real-Time RIC at Eurecom, Traffic Steering (E2 interface) with Juniper Networks Near-Real-Time RIC and Rimedo Labs xApps at i14y lab

RAN Sustainability (Energy Consumption and Savings)

Integrated portfolio supporting automated energy lab and field testing and benchmarking was used to demonstrate energy consumption and savings testing for O-RU, O-DU/O-CU:

  • O-RU energy savings micro sleep modes characterization with NEC Massive MIMO radio with Rakuten Mobile Lab
  • O-DU/CU energy savings measurements and benchmarking with Vodafone (UK Lab, Live network traffic model), Intel (processor with embedded acceleration, FlexRAN reference software for vO-DU – L1), Radisys (vO-DU/vO-CU – L2/L3), Wind River (O-Cloud), and Dell Technologies (Dell PowerEdge servers), to benchmark the 4th Gen Intel Xeon processor with Intel vRAN Boost (Sapphire Rapids-EE with integration acceleration) against the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon processor with external PCIe acceleration
  • O-DU/CU energy consumption measurements with Nokia O-DU/O-CU at SK Telecom

Test Automation and Enhanced Reporting

Integrated test automation and reporting framework enabling consistent and repeatable test results based on test specifications from O-RAN ALLIANCE Working Groups (WG) were demonstrated as follows:

  • O-RAN WG4 O-RU Conformance (Control, User, Synchronization and Management Planes) tests with PHYTunes in CableLabs Kyrio OTIC, HFR at SK Telecom, a domestic O-RU vendor’s radio provided by Nokia at SK Telecom, a domestic O-RU vendor’s radio provided by Nokia at LG Uplus and Analog Devices O-RU (Kerberos) at i14y lab
  • O-RAN WG4 O-RU Enhanced Conformance Test Reports with NEC at Rakuten Mobile Lab
  • O-RAN WG4 Fronthaul Interoperability (NSA) tests with NEC and Rakuten Symphony at Rakuten Mobile Lab
  • O-RAN TIFG End-to-End (E2E) tests with NEC and Rakuten Symphony at Rakuten Mobile Lab

O-RAN Fronthaul Conformance and F1 Interoperability

Solutions used to validate the implementation maturity of network functions against the WG4 fronthaul conformance and WG5 F1 interoperability test specifications.

  • O-RAN WG4 O-DU Conformance tests with Nokia at SK Telecom
  • O-RAN WG4 O-RU Conformance tests with Azcom Technology at TIM innovation lab
  • O-RAN WG5 F1 Interoperability (NSA) tests with NEC and Rakuten Symphony at Rakuten Mobile Lab

Keysight’s KORA portfolio offers the industry’s most comprehensive suite of test solutions for verifying the end-to-end performance of 5G network functions, including support for conformance, interoperability, performance, energy efficiency, security testing, and artificial intelligence and machine learning training and optimization across the entire Open RAN lifecycle (Research, Lab, Field Trials, Live/Field-to-Lab and Operations).

Keysight has collaborated with Analog Devices, Azcom Technology, CableLabs Kyrio OTIC, Capgemini, Dell Technologies, Digital Catapult’s SONIC Labs, Eurecom, HFR, i14y lab, Intel, Juniper Networks, LG Uplus, NEC, Nokia, OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA), PHYTunes, Radisys, Rakuten Mobile, Rakuten Symphony, Rimedo Labs, SK Telecom, SoftBank Corp., TIM, Vodafone and Wind River at the O-RAN ALLIANCE Fall 2023 Global PlugFest.

Peng Cao, Vice President and General Manager, Keysight’s Wireless Business, said: “With our participation in O-RAN ALLIANCE Fall 2023 Global PlugFest, Keysight continues to demonstrate leadership in the delivery of solutions for developing and testing the latest concepts and features of 5G Open RAN architectures, enabling the industry to accelerate the deployment of Open RAN products.”

John Oates, Systems Manager, Analog Devices, said: “Keysight provides comprehensive automated testing capabilities for O-RAN conformance with Open Fronthaul interface control, as well as user, synchronization, and management planes. By utilizing Keysight KORA O-RU Test Suite with Keysight’s new Time Sync Analyzer, we have fully validated our O-RU technology for the O-RAN market.”

Jaiseo Park, Director of Mobile Access R&D Group, HFR Inc., said: “HFR my5G provides an optimized End to End Private 5G solution to fulfill customer’s digitalization. We participated in the O-RAN Fall 2023 Global PlugFest event with our O-RU currently operated in a real site by HFR my5G solution and we also checked interoperability with a third-party vendor. As for O-RU conformance test perspective, we’ve done not only for C/U/M-plane but also for S-plane as well using one single test equipment, Keysight Time Sync Analyzer. It helped us to validate our O-RU efficiently.”

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Constantine Polychronopoulos, GVP 5G & Telco Cloud, Juniper Networks, said: “Juniper Networks and Keysight engaged in joint effort with leading industry partners to show the capabilities of Traffic Steering with E2 and Energy Savings with O1. These use cases are priorities of interest to the Operator community globally, and once again we demonstrate how O-RAN is moving the industry forward. Events like the O-RAN PlugFest and the associated collaborations reflect Juniper Networks’ commitment to the success of O-RAN.”

Sangheon Lee, Director of Advanced Network Technology Research Unit, LG Uplus, said: “We are thankful to collaborate with Keysight on O-RAN Fall 2023 Global PlugFest. Through Keysight’s solutions and engineering support, we have efficiently validated the performance of O-RAN equipment. We look forward to ongoing collaboration, working together to further expand the Open RAN ecosystem.”

Irfan Ghauri, Director of Operations, OSA, said: “FlexRIC is a component of the OAM Project Group at the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA) that has a large user base and following within the open-source community. The FlexRIC team has recently developed KPM and RC service models that we have had an opportunity of leveraging to showcase QoS-based resource optimization with the Keysight RAN emulator during the plugfest,” said Irfan Ghauri, Director of Operations at OSA. “This collaboration between a reputed test vendor’s solution and OAI’s open source FlexRIC over the E2 interface is what we found to be particularly enriching during this O-RAN Fall 2023 Global PlugFest. The joint work between Keysight and OAI teams not only allowed us to show interoperability, but also helped us in improving the quality and robustness of the open-source solution though lessons learned during the plugfest.”

Mitsuhiro Kuchitsu, Vice Division Manager, Technology, Strategy & Compliance Division, Rakuten Mobile, said: “Rakuten Mobile is pleased to collaborate again with Keysight Technologies in the O-RAN Fall 2023 Global PlugFest to drive innovation and demonstrate progress made with the maturity and sustainability of Open RAN solutions using Keysight’s industry leading Open RAN portfolio. We have further expanded on our previous plugfest achievements and were able to demonstrate significant energy savings through intelligent utilization of sleep modes in the massive MIMO radio unit; additional test automation coverage to include interoperability test cases essential for driving efficiency and consistent test results; and conformance of Near-Real-Time RIC to O-RAN specifications.”

Marcin Dryjanski, CEO, Rimedo Labs, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Keysight on the O-RAN Fall 2023 Global PlugFest. This partnership has allowed us to rigorously verify and test the functionality of our Traffic Steering xApp using Keysight’s RICtest, a carrier-grade O-RAN emulator. We highly appreciate the partnership with the Keysight O-RAN team, particularly for their technical excellence and collaborative approach. We view the ongoing activities as highly promising for future development, enabling us to conduct more extensive testing of this use case and verify other applications in our portfolio.”

Takki Yu, Vice President and Head of Infra Tech, SK Telecom, said: “It was a great pleasure to collaborate with Keysight Technologies on the O-RAN Fall 2023 Global PlugFest. Through the Plugfest activities, we were able to derive a number of significant results, which included not only Open Fronthaul testing but also energy consumption measurement testing, allowing us to provide insights on the direction of technological evolution for the O-RAN ecosystem.”

Paul Sludden, Project Director, SONIC Labs, said: “Digital Catapult was delighted to welcome Keysight to its SONIC Labs, to experiment and collaborate with industry partners, and drive innovation in Open RAN technologies. Thank you to Keysight for playing a critical role in making our first time as an O-RAN ALLIANCE PlugFest host such a success.”

Gil Hellmann, Vice President, Solutions Engineering at Wind River, said: “Energy efficiency is increasingly becoming a vital aspect when designing the next generation of systems. Wind River Studio delivers an integrated cloud platform unifying infrastructure, orchestration, and analytics capabilities to help operators address complex challenges for a cloud-native world. We are proud to continue advancing the state of the art with Keysight and the O-RAN ecosystem to demonstrate how Open RAN can help operators succeed in reducing power consumption for a more sustainable network. Through our joint collaboration, we further expanded on our previous Plugfest achievements and were able to realize significant energy savings using the latest 4th Gen Intel Xeon  Scalable processors.”

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