Industrial Electronics

Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI offer joint network test solutions supporting open radio commercialization and innovation

11 June 2024

Rohde & Schwarz and Viavi Solutions Inc. have announced an expansion of their partnership delivering state-of-the-art Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) radio unit (O-RU) testing.

Setup for O-RU conformance test, jointly developed by Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI. Source: Rohde & SchwarzSetup for O-RU conformance test, jointly developed by Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI. Source: Rohde & Schwarz

These solutions are ideally suited to the needs of radio manufacturers planning to bid for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund (PWSCIF) Second Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO 2), which focuses on Open Radio commercialization and innovation. Since the launch of this partnership, Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI have established a reputation for compact, flexible solutions drawing from the strengths of both companies while delivering a seamless user experience. The two companies offer:

O-RU conformance test

Fronthaul conformance tests, defined by the O-RAN ALLIANCE, ensure that O-RUs are interoperable with the O-RAN distributed unit (O-DU). The joint test solution includes:

  • The R&S SMW200A vector signal generator (VSG), R&S FSVA3000 signal and spectrum analyzer and the R&S VSE signal analysis software from Rohde & Schwarz, to emulate a real-world radio environment by generating, capturing and analyzing radio frequency (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, providing a single point of control for the integrated system, simplifying testcase workflow while allowing deeper data inspection and analysis as needed.

The same set-up can be also used for performing conformance cases defined by 3GPP TS 38.141/36.141 for 5G/LTE base stations (BS).

Test scalability

As O-RAN radios move to commercial deployment, development testing needs to move beyond lab validation of conformance to greater use case and functionality testing within R&D. These newer use cases prioritize simplicity, speed and cost effectiveness in testing. The R&S PVT360A is a compact, single-box vector signal analyzer (VSA) and VSG that combines with the VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester and VIAVI O-RU Test Manager Application for a more scalable solution, providing a cost-optimized and simpler setup that is well-suited for R&D teams that require multiple test lines to accelerate time to market. The TM500 O-RU Tester can also be scaled to provide direct performance testing such as uplink and downlink data performance and capacity testing.

Network energy saving

O-RU consume the majority of power in 5G radio access networks. Network equipment manufacturers and service providers are prioritizing O-RU energy efficiency without sacrificing performance. Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI have developed a fully automated testbed to verify O-RU energy efficiency, including the R&S RTO6 oscilloscope, R&S NGP800 power supply and the VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester. The TM500 O-RU Tester emulates the device under test, synchronizes and configures the O-RU and offers several test scripts to verify O-RU energy efficiency under different load conditions. The R&S equipment can then monitor dynamic device activities versus power consumption: The oscilloscope monitors energy dynamics under various traffic conditions by tracking power changes over time, while the power supply — besides powering the O-RU — also provides high measurement resolution and accuracy over a long period of time. The O-RU Test Manager Application ensures a seamless user experience across the testbed.

To contact the author of this article, email GlobalSpecEditors@globalspec.com


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