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Open RAN Challenges and Testing Needs for Real-World Performance


Learn why real-world performance and multi-vendor interoperability testing in the lab makes all the difference for O-RAN deployments.

As networks continue to evolve, Open RAN is gaining traction as a key solution for promoting innovation, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

However, delivering on the vision of Open RAN is not simple. Open interfaces must enable high performance between functions provided by multiple vendors. Virtualized software running on vendor-neutral hardware must scale to support heavy traffic loads and deliver high-quality services, especially to the enterprise.

There have been several efforts to standardize interfaces, particularly in the RAN, for many, many years, and one of the motivations is lower cost. If the interfaces are standard, there is a wider ecosystem of companies providing those individual elements, and that creates competition and ultimately pricing pressure. But the other thing we've seen with O-RAN is that once you have competition, it's not all about cost. It's also about innovation and delivering new technologies. You can see the full promise of 5G and now there's a wider ecosystem that operators can pick and choose from when building their networks.

At Mobile World Congress this year, it was easy to see the sprawling expansion of the ecosystem. As an industry, we have achieved the objective to drive the ecosystem to grow from an O-RAN perspective. All the way from the chipset manufacturers to new network equipment manufacturers, everyone is bringing more innovation.

However, to go to the next level, there are quite a few challenges. If you look at the customers Spirent has spoken to, interviewed, and polled, there still seem to be three main challenges with O-RAN, primarily starting with multi-vendor interoperability.

I spoke with Spirent experts James Kimery and Anil Kollipara to further unpack pressing questions, such as:

  1. With CSPs starting to roll out production of O-RAN architectures, what are the key benefits?

  2. What unique challenges does O-RAN introduce to the market?

  3. What is different about testing O-RAN and why does it require a fresh approach?

  4. Why is automation critical?

  5. Where can people go to learn more about O-RAN?

Watch our conversation exploring the latest techniques for assessing real-world, multi-vendor interoperability and performance to understand why progressive testing - moving from isolated functional tests to full system tests - is a must.

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Tags5G, Automation
Evan Kirstel

Industry Influencer

With 30 years of enterprise sales, alliances & marketing experience in the telecom and IT arena, Evan brings a unique perspective on opportunities in the Unified Communications, Collaboration and CX space, including extensive practical knowledge of mobile, voice/video/web collaboration and cloud technology. He understands emerging cloud & mobile technology and market convergence dynamics, and has a strong track record in selling and marketing disruptive technology to enterprise and service providers. Evan has an aggregate social media audience of over 500,000 people and was named 4th Most Engaging Digital Marketer by Brand24. B2B tech brands like Intel, 3M, AT&T Business, Qualcomm, HPE, Telefonica, Samsung, Citrix, UIpath, Dell and Ericsson hire him to help them to achieve massive visibility and scale, leveraging the power of social media in a variety of market segments including: mobile, blockchain, cloud, 5G, HealthTech, IoT, AI, Digital Health, crypto, AR, VR, Big Data, Analytics and CyberSecurity.