In O-RAN, the distributed unit (DU) is connected to the radio via a packet fronthaul interface known as enhanced Common Public Radio Interface (eCPRI). It provides multiple ways of dividing functions between the DU and the remote radio unit (RRU). eCPRI defines a protocol layer that provides various, mainly user-plane data-specific services to the upper layers of the protocol stack.
Using the open interface in fronthaul not only brings advantages but also introduces risks to product function and performance. Each vendor has a different understanding of the standards, and some vendors define customized settings to make their software applications run on the virtual platforms of others. The individual integration and interworking activities happening between different vendors make it much more complex and complicated for both network equipment manufacturers and service providers.
Comprehensive fronthaul testing
So, how can equipment manufacturers and service providers ensure successful ORAN adoption and deployment? The latest O-DU and O-RU device emulation solution from Spirent enables them to test and integrate virtualized open radio access networks in a true multi-vendor environment through comprehensive test methodologies.
There are different scenarios supported including all bandwidths and sub-carrier space, control plane, user plane, synchronization plane and management plane.provides a lot of flexibility to cover different use cases for full functional testing, like custom slot, slot ID, PRB number and so on. These features make it easy for network equipment manufacturers and service providers to set up a diverse environment to verify function, performance, and capacity at low cost. Furthermore, the user-friendly test automation tool helps simplify test procedures saving effort and time for testing.
Continuous RF generation
When validating O-RAN, one challenge is performing long-duration reliability testing. The number of stream blocks required to create one radio frame is based on the sub-carrier space and bandwidth. However, these stream blocks are usually only sent once in 5G fronthaul testing.
Spirent TestCenter enables sending continuous traffic, ensuring that the same IQ samples will be transmitted for the required duration (or) in continuous mode with incremented Frame ID. Additionally, it supports up to 8 O-RU or O-DU emulation per port, which comes much closer to reproducing the actual, real-life network traffic and topology.
Smart solutions that are designed for O-RAN function, performance, and scale testing help emulate real use cases and traffic to verify product design and network performance. They drive innovation and ensure reliability while reducing time-to-market and associated costs.
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