VIAVI Plugfest Participation 2023

VIAVI delivered industry-leading benchmarking and validation for RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) testing and training for AI-enabled applications including energy efficiency; security testing; and conformance and end-to-end testing of new products. The company also improved testing efficiency with real-time analysis and automation.

VIAVI participated in testing in 11 labs across eight countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and Korea. Major outcomes included:

Global Plug Fest
  • RIC testing for AI-enabled applications. When the conformance and performance of a RIC is verified, vendors can implement xApps or rApps to unlock RAN intelligence and deliver cutting-edge use cases such as energy savings and enhanced QoS.
  • Security testing. Network security must be protected in an open, multi-vendor environment.
  • Conformance and end-to-end testing. Vendors offering new O-RAN products can present them to validate operation according to the applicable specifications. In addition to individual network elements such as O-RU, O-DU, O-CU and RIC, companies also demonstrated end-to-end operation and interoperability across a complete O-RAN.
  • Real-time analysis. To date, lab testing has relied on tools that require lengthy waiting periods for capture, post-processing and visualization. Together with CableLabs, VIAVI demonstrated real-time analysis to accelerate interoperability and end-to-end testing and troubleshooting.
  • Test automation. Facing skills shortages, service providers and vendors are seeking efficiencies in the lab. In several demonstrations, VIAVI delivered AI-driven capability to develop test cases, write scripts, filter logs and find faults.
"In 2023, the industry has been challenged by financial pressure while advancing networks to deliver innovative services," commented Ian Langley, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Business Unit, VIAVI. "At the PlugFest, VIAVI is pleased to have demonstrated milestones toward increased operating efficiency, including test automation, real-time analysis, and developing RAN intelligence to address energy consumption."

 

Spring 2023

The contribution from VIAVI within the O-RAN ALLIANCE Spring PlugFest focused on three key areas to support this commercialization: conformance testing to ensure compliance; security testing to increase trust in the solutions; and RIC testing and training to enable AI/ML to boost RAN intelligence for cutting-edge use cases.

  • Conformance and end-to-end testing. Vendors offering new O-RAN products can present them to validate operation according to the applicable specifications. This activity supports expansion of the vendor ecosystem, a principal benefit of O-RAN. In addition to individual network elements such as O-RU, O-DU, O-CU and RIC, companies also demonstrated end-to-end operation and interoperability across a complete O-RAN. Vendors included Benetel, Capgemini, Compal, Inventec, Pegatron, Radisys, and multiple other companies.
  • Security testing. Network security must be protected in an open, multi-vendor environment. VIAVI, Pegatron and another vendor demonstrated security across the RAN by conducting several tests from Chapter 7 of the O-RAN TIFG E2E Specification, including the 3GPP Security Assurance Specification (SCAS) as well as Denial of Service (DoS). Also successfully tested were protocols and Open Fronthaul (OFH) security from O-RAN WG11 Security Test Specifications, including Transport Layer Security (TLS), Secure Shell Protocol (SSH), and OFH Authenticator and Supplicant Validation (802.1x EAP-TLS). VIAVI and Compal also conducted SCAS testing.
  • RIC testing for AI-enabled energy efficiency. When the conformance and performance of a RIC is verified, vendors can implement xApps or rApps to unlock RAN intelligence and deliver cutting-edge use cases such as energy savings and enhanced QoS. VIAVI and Capgemini demonstrated the end-to-end validation of the Capgemini AI-enabled Energy Savings rApp on the Capgemini RIC. VIAVI generated historical cell data to train the rApp AI/ML models, helping the AI/ML Energy Saving Model to learn and predict when to disable cells to reduce energy consumption.

View the full size interactive here

VIAVI Plugfest Participation Fall 2022

The PlugFest involved a series of on-site demonstrations across multiple countries, conducted in October and November 2022. 

VIAVI provided benchmarking and validation for PlugFest tests and demonstrations at the following sites:

  • University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory in Durham, New Hampshire, USA 
  • TIP Community Lab hosted by Meta in Menlo Park, California, USA
  • Kyrio OTIC Lab hosted by CableLabs in Louisville, Colorado, USA
  • i14y Lab hosted by Deutsche Telekom in Berlin, Germany
  • Orange SA in Paris, France
  • EURECOM in Biot, France
  • TIM Innovation Lab in Torino, Italy
  • Yokosuka Research Park hosted by NTT DOCOMO and another major service provider in Yokosuka City, Japan.
"The Fall 2022 O-RAN PlugFest followed a remarkable period in which more industry organizations aligned with the O-RAN ALLIANCE, driving adoption even more globally. An increasing number of major vendors are advancing the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), with Nokia being a notable participant in the PlugFest. ETSI adopted its first O-RAN specification, 'O-RAN Fronthaul Control, User and Synchronization Plane Specification v7.02.' And the Telecom Infra Project and O-RAN ALLIANCE committed to renewed alignment at FYUZ 2022. Growing acceptance of O-RAN specifications was evident in the strong collaboration, robust test cases and effective completion of activities during the PlugFest."

Dr. Ian Wong, CTO Office, VIAVI and Co-Chair, Testing and Integration Focus Group, O-RAN ALLIANCE

 

The VIAVI Test Suite for O-RAN Specifications supported conformance, performance, interoperability, and end-to-end testing:

VIAVI demonstrated near real-time RIC platform conformance test and xApp performance benchmarking with RIC and xApps supplied by:

  • Nokia near real-time RIC, and conformance of E2SM-KPM and E2SM-RC functions
  • TIM near real-time RIC, QoS xApp, Traffic Steering xApp
  • Capgemini Engineering RIC, Traffic Steering and QoS xApps
  • HCLTech Traffic Steering and Predictive Load Balancing xApp
  • NEC RIC, HCLTech Bouncer xApp

The VIAVI TeraVM RIC Test emulates E2 Nodes generating E2 procedures to test RIC compliance as well as Traffic scenarios to train and test the xApp functionality and decision making.

The VIAVI TM500 UE Emulator and TeraVM Core Emulator were used for E2E testing of multiple vendor combinations, including:

  • Capgemini Engineering O-DU and O-CU connected to Aarna Networks AMCOP O-RAN Service Management and Orchestration (SMO) via O1, which is the first ever test of SMO and O1 interface using the TIP OpenRAN Orchestration and Management Automation (ROMA) test plan, furthering alignment between TIP and the O-RAN ALLIANCE
  • NEC O-RU with another vendor's O-DU and O-CU using VIAVI E500 for security testing
  • Sunwave O-RU, Radisys O-DU and O-CU, Calnex FrontHaul impairment emulator, Xena Networks Fronthaul impairment emulator, and Lumentum TSFP+
  • Node-H O-RU and O-DU, and Accelleran O-CU
  • Radisys O-DU and O-CU with another vendor's O-RU
  • Capgemini Engineering O-DU and O-CU with another vendor's O-RU
  • VVDN O-RU, OpenAirInterface (OAI) O-DU/O-CU/Core Network using TMLite running on 3rd Gen AMD EPYC™ CPU-powered servers

O-RU – VIAVI and Rohde & Schwarz partnered on conformance and performance testing of a Fujitsu O-RU, Analog Devices' ADRV904x-RD-RUMB 8T8R O-RU reference design and development kit, and an MTI O-RU. The combined testbed includes the VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester and the Rohde & Schwarz SMW200A or SMM100A Vector Signal Generator (VSG), FSV3000 or FSVA3000 Signal and Spectrum Analyzer and Vector Signal Explorer (VSE) software, with the O-RU Test Manager providing a seamless user experience. Separately, the VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester and TMLite were used for Direct Performance Testing (DPT) of the Fujitsu 32TRX mMIMO O-RU.

VIAVI and Capgemini Engineering partnered on interface (Xn and F1-C) and handover testing of a Capgemini Engineering O-CU. The VIAVI TeraVM O-CU Tester emulated the O-DU.

"Once again, VIAVI is proud to have been able to support both standardization activities and PlugFest testing spanning each of the different subsystems as well as end-to-end interoperability and security testing. We are strongly committed to helping the industry to be successful in commercializing O-RAN technology and delivering the benefits that network operators demand."

Stephen Hire, VP Wireless Marketing, VIAVI Solutions

The 2022 Plugfest has shown Open Radio Units (O-RUs) are completing fronthaul conformance certification, and moving beyond certification into performance testing. Interoperability in multi-vendor environments beyond the O-RU was also more in focus, with key combinations including O-RU and Open Distributed Unit (O-DU), O-DU and Open Central Unit (O-CU), and complete end-to-end networks being demonstrated. 

Vendors showcased the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) and its potential to bring AI/ML techniques to network optimization and service management. And with security of open networks growing in importance, this PlugFest session also included running O-RAN and 3GPP security test cases.

VIAVI was relied upon to provide benchmarking and validation for PlugFest tests and demonstrations hosted by:

  • AT&T and Dish Wireless at the following locations:COSMOS Lab, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, USA
    • COSMOS Lab, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, USA
    • Meta TIP Community Lab in Menlo Park, USA
    • University of New Hampshire Interoperability Laboratory in Durham, USA 
  • Telefónica in Madrid, Spain; and
  • Auray OTIC and Security Lab in Taiwan.
"The increasing maturity of the O-RAN ecosystem was evident across the entire PlugFest"

Dr. Ian Wong, CTO Office, VIAVI and Co-Chair, Testing and Integration Focus Group, O-RAN ALLIANCE

 

The VIAVI Test Suite for O-RAN Specifications supported conformance, performance, interoperability and end-to-end testing:

VIAVI and Rohde & Schwarz partnered on O-RAN Fronthaul (OFH) conformance and 3GPP pre-conformance testing of O-RUs from Foxconn and other vendors. The two companies also jointly validated an O-RU reference design with components from Analog Devices and Intel. The combined testbed includes the VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester and the Rohde & Schwarz SMW200A Vector Signal Generator (VSG), FSW Signal and Spectrum Analyzer and Vector Signal Explorer (VSE) software, with the O-RU Test Manager providing a seamless user experience. Separately, VIAVI supported conformance and performance testing of a C-Band 64TRX Massive MIMO Fujitsu O-RU, providing the TM500 O-RU Tester, TM500 UE Emulator and T-BERD/MTS 5800 PTP/SyncE grandmaster.

VIAVI also provided the T-BERD/MTS-5800 for Xhaul Transport and Synchronization testing on ADVA's FSP 150-XG418 as a Cell Site Gateway (CSG) and Ensemble Activator network operating system (NOS) on Edgecore AS7316-26XB as a Hub Site Router (HSR), and validating the compatibility of third-party optics plugs from Precision Optical Transceivers.

The VIAVI TM500 UE Emulator and TeraVM Core Emulator were used for E2E and security testing of multiple vendor combinations, including the Foxconn O-RU and another vendor's core, and of the Pegatron O-RU, O-CU and O-DU.

VIAVI demonstrated near real-time RIC platform performance benchmarking by integrating another vendor's xApp with the VIAVI TeraVM RIC Test. The two companies also partnered to demonstrate traffic steering in near real-time RIC by integrating anomaly detection, quality prediction and traffic steering xApps with the TeraVM RIC Test, in a fully automated, closed-loop fashion, and in a multi-vendor, multi-technology environment.

"Beyond the number of participants, complexity is introduced in terms of end-to-end interoperability, AI- and ML-driven automation in assurance and optimization, and security. VIAVI enabled our partners to surmount this complexity by delivering comprehensive and relevant test cases on proven platforms, known for simplicity of use and expedited results."

Stephen Hire, VP Wireless Marketing, VIAVI Solutions

The third O-RAN Alliance plugfest involved a series of on-site demonstrations across multiple countries, conducted in October and November 2021.

Plugfest Tests and Demos 2021

VIAVI provided benchmarking and validation for plugfest tests and demonstrations at locations including:

  • New Brunswick, USA, hosted by AT&T and Verizon with Rutgers University
  • Menlo Park, USA, hosted by AT&T and Verizon at the TIP Community Lab with Meta
  • Berlin, Germany, hosted by Deutsche Telekom
  • Madrid, Spain, hosted by Telefónica
  • Gurgaon, India, hosted by Airtel
  • Tokyo, Japan hosted by Yokosuka Research Park with participation from major service providers including Rakuten Mobile
  • Taiwan hosted by Auray OTIC and Security Lab and Chunghwa Telecom.
O-RAN Plugfest
"With each O-RAN plugfest, we have seen commitment from more service providers, a proliferation of vendors, and clearer signs that the technology is progressing toward maturity"

Sameh Yamany, Chief Technology Officer, VIAVI

The plugfest demonstrated the rapid evolution of the O-RAN ecosystem with increasing focus on the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), which changes the way network resources are managed, bringing artificial intelligence and big data into day-to-day operations. To mitigate the risk involved in introducing this new technology, operators depended upon tools from VIAVI including the TeraVM RIC Test to test the performance of the RIC when presented with a wide range of RAN scenarios, to test the functionality of rApps and xApps, as well as provide the means to generate the data needed to train AI models.

The VIAVI Test Suite for O-RAN Specifications also supported conformance, performance, interoperability and end-to-end testing:

Casa Systems Apex 5G Evo Radio was validated using the VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester in conjunction with the Rohde & Schwarz SMW200A Vector Signal Generator (VSG), FSW Signal and Spectrum Analyzer and Vector Signal Explorer (VSE) software. Performance testing of the Sercomm Small Cell O-RU/O-DU was conducted using the VIAVI TeraVM O-CU Simulator and TeraVM Core Emulator. The Foxconn/WNC/Alpha/ITRI O-RU was tested using the VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester.

Performance (load/scale) testing of the Accelleran O-CU installed on a cloud native router was conducted using the VIAVI TeraVM O-CU Tester.

OFH interoperability between Intel's FlexRAN™ reference software and Capgemini Engineering O-CU, O-DU and Core, with IP Infusion fronthaul switch as grandmaster clock, was validated using the VIAVI TM500 O-DU Tester and E500 UE Emulator. VIAVI also provided the T-BERD/MTS-5800 for Xhaul Transport and Synchronization testing on the Ciena 5164 and 5168 with grandmaster, and on the Cisco NCS540.

Testing of the Foxconn O-RU with another vendor's O-DU and O-CU was conducted with the VIAVI E500 UE Emulator and TeraVM Core Emulator. OFH and end-to-end interoperability was demonstrated between the TeraVM Core Emulator, Foxconn O-RU, Capgemini O-DU/O-CU and commercial device.

The TeraVM RIC Test was used to validate the Accelleran dRAX™ RIC and xApps, and the TCS RIC and traffic steering xApp. TeraVM RIC Test also supported a demonstration of the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) enabling RAN self-healing and optimization, including rApp impact compensation with RAN optimization xApps working on latest O-RAN SC RIC stack.

VIAVI offers the most comprehensive test platform on the market for lab validation, field deployment and service assurance of O-RAN networks, deployable on premise, in public or private clouds, and as Test as a Service (TaaS). With over 85% of NEMs using the VIAVI RANtoCore platform for gNB development, the company uniquely offers market-leading 5G and Open RAN test solutions for conformance, performance and interoperability of O-RU, O-CU, O-DU, RIC and Core elements.

O-RAN Test Emulators


VIAVI O-RAN Solution Demonstrations

VIAVI has embraced the end-to-end (E2E) challenges of MV-IOT by supporting and collaborating with our partners on the development of O-RAN test tools extending from the lab to the field. This includes component level wrap around testing, vendor pairing evaluations to validate the function, performance, robustness and resilience of specific combinations, and protocol compliance testing for open interfaces. Holistic evaluation of multiple combinations and system level testing are integral to success and conformance to O-RAN specifications. View the VIAVI O-RAN Solution Demonstrations below:

 

 


VIAVI offers the most comprehensive test platform on the market for lab validation, field deployment and service assurance of O-RAN networks, deployable on premise, in public or private clouds, and as Test as a Service (TaaS). With over 85% of NEMs using the VIAVI RANtoCore platform for gNB development, the company uniquely offers market-leading 5G and Open RAN test solutions for conformance, performance and interoperability of O-RU, O-CU, O-DU, RIC and Core elements.

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Rakuten and VIAVI Solutions combine their 5G network expertise to share practical lessons on how operators and their customers can benefit from the scale of cloud-native deployments.

Over 85% of NEMs are using VIAVI RANtoCore Solutions for gNB development.