VIAVI benchmarks Spring 2024 O-RAN PlugFest as U.S. NTIA pushes O-RU commercialization

Viavi Solutions shared the company’s role in the Spring 2024 PlugFest organized by the O-RAN ALLIANCE. Participating in its eighth consecutive PlugFest, VIAVI contributed its solutions and expertise to validate new products, specifications and use cases in order to improve deployment outcomes. In particular, VIAVI and Rohde & Schwarz conducted conformance testing of O-RAN Radio Units (O-RUs) from multiple vendors, based on a joint testbed focused on Open Radio Commercialization and Innovation.

This year’s Spring PlugFest is particularly significant, as the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund (PWSCIF) has recently published a Second Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO 2), which focuses on Open Radio Unit (O-RU) Commercialization and Innovation.

“VIAVI is proud to be a leader within the O-RAN ALLIANCE and to have contributed to every PlugFest the organization has ever sponsored,” said Dr. Sameh Yamany, Chief Technology Officer, VIAVI. “Over time, testing has evolved from conformance of new products to higher order needs such as security and energy savings. However, the recent announcement from U.S. NTIA on Open Radio commercialization and innovation makes it clear that fundamental performance and interoperability remain critical.”

From February through May, VIAVI participated in testing in nine labs across six countries: the United States; United Kingdom; Japan; Korea; Singapore and Taiwan. By providing an open, collaborative, and neutral environment, the labs test and verify the conformity, interoperability, functionality, and performance of RAN equipment based on O-RAN test specifications. Major outcomes included:

· O-RU Testing. Fronthaul conformance tests ensure that O-RUs are interoperable with the O-RAN Distributed Unit (O-DU). VIAVI and Rohde & Schwarz conducted conformance testing of an Eridan O-RU at CableLabs (U.S.A), LITEON and VVDN O-RUs at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and Actiontec and LITEON O-RUs in Taiwan. VIAVI and Rohde & Schwarz also conducted energy efficiency testing of the Actiontec and LITEON O-RUs in Taiwan.

· End-to-End and Subsystem Testing. VIAVI validated conformance and interoperability of an Effnet O-RAN Central Unit (O-CU) at CableLabs, an OpenAirInterface O-DU and O-CU at University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab and at Iowa State University, and another vendor’s O-DU and O-CU at Digital Catapult’s SONIC Labs (U.K.).

· Security testing. Network security must be protected in an open, multi-vendor environment. VIAVI provided security testing with automation across a Mavenir end-to-end O-RAN at CableLabs, and another vendor’s O-DU and O-CU at Digital Catapult’s SONIC Labs.

· RIC Testing. When the conformance and performance of the RAN Intelligent Controller (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 validated conformance and interoperability of a Rakuten Symphony RIC at Nakao Labs (Japan), and RICs from two major vendors at SUTD. VIAVI also generated scenarios to train energy-saving r/xApps from Rakuten Symphony, SUTD, and another vendor.

The test platforms supporting these activities were:

· VIAVI TM500, the industry’s leading UE emulator, supporting conformance, performance, interoperability, security and end-to-end testing.

· VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester in combination with the R&S SMW200A or R&S SMM100A Vector Signal Generator (VSG), R&S FSV/A or R&S FSW Signal and Spectrum Analyzer (VSA), R&S VSE signal analysis software from Rohde & Schwarz, used for O-RU conformance testing, with VIAVI O-RU Test Manager providing a seamless user experience.

· VIAVI TeraVM, a virtualized application emulation and security performance platform, used in 5G, Open RAN, RIC testing and training, and cybersecurity testing.

· VIAVI XhaulAdvisor, a scalable software solution offering real-time data for fronthaul verification, analysis, emulation and channel utilization. The first solution in the market to feature real-time analytics, XhaulAdvisor enables Open RAN vendors, operators and OTIC labs to accelerate interoperability and end-to-end testing and troubleshooting.

Learn more about VIAVI at