Rohde & Schwarz is providing its expertise in lab and field testing to the i14y Lab to help accelerate time to market of open network technology for the multi-vendor network of the future. The i14y Lab is an open lab for interoperability testing of disaggregated telco systems, such as Open RAN, operated by a consortium of strong partners, led by Deutsche Telekom and supported with funding from the German Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV).
Demo at i14y Lab Summit in Berlin
The i14y Lab Summit 2022, held at the lab’s location in Berlin on June 9, 2022, offered guided tours through the lab, interactive sessions, roundtables and workshops with i14y Lab experts and an afternoon of keynotes and panel discussion featuring lab partners, industry players and the German Ministry. Rohde & Schwarz has contributed to the summit with a demo of O-RAN Radio Unit (O-RUs) conformance testing.
Network disaggregation as in O-RAN brings new challenges in terms of interoperability between the network equipment of different vendors. The evolving O-RAN radio units (O-RU) need to conform with both 3GPP and O-RAN standards. 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 front haul test solution showcased at the i14y Lab Summit 2022 has been developed jointly by Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI Solutions and includes:
- The R&S SMW200A vector signal generator, R&S FSVA3000 signal and spectrum analyzer, and the R&S VSE signal analysis software from Rohde & Schwarz, emulate a real-world radio environment by generating, capturing, and analyzing 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 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 from VIAVI, provides a single point of control for the integrated system, simplifying test case workflow while allowing deeper data inspection and analysis as needed.
In addition, Rohde & Schwarz also presented mobile network testing solutions, which are used to ensure the successful deployment of O-RAN networks, such as R&S 5G STS (Site Testing Solution) and QualiPoc Android. With these tools network owners perform passive and active measurements to analyze essential aspects of the end-to-end network performance:
- Benchmarking O-RAN with single vendor RAN: The performance of open radio access networks can be compared with single vendor radio networks following ETSI harmonized methods.
- Measurement of network synchronization: Network synchronization is a potential source of interference in 5G TDD networks and needs to be verified also in O-RAN.
Strong partner of the i14y Lab
As a leader in test and measurement for mobile communications, Rohde & Schwarz supports the technical evolution with expertise and active participation in the O-RAN ALLIANCE to enable a globally harmonized market. With a wide portfolio ranging from component verification through fronthaul conformance to mobile network testing and benchmarking, Rohde & Schwarz helps to drive development, certification, deployment and operation of Open RAN networks.
Alexander Pabst, Vice President Market Segment Wireless Communications at Rohde & Schwarz, says: “Disaggregation is one of the key ingredients of the evolution and convergence of networks. The i14y Lab has brought a collaboration space to Berlin that will strengthen Germany and Europe as a leading technology location. Innovation is deeply rooted in the DNA of Rohde & Schwarz. We have been instrumental to the success of wireless communication since its beginnings and we are happy to bring in our expertise here as well.”