Test and Measurement: Keysight introduces testing for O-RAN, 5G core
In a boost to the use of Open Radio Access Network strategies, testing company Keysight Technologies this week unveiled new emulation software, Open RAN Studio, for use in validating whether radio units (RUs) are O-RAN compliant.
Keysight is touting its early involvement with the O-RAN Alliance as “helping to speed development of conformance validation and verify interoperability between O-RUs and O-DUs.” Keysight noted that it is the editor of the alliance’s O-RAN fronthaul conformance test specification.
“Keysight’s Open RAN Studio enables a vibrant network infrastructure ecosystem to unlock the full potential of an open RAN architecture,” said Giampaolo Tardioli, vice president of Keysight and general manager of Keysight’s network access group. “Our test suite for end-to-end performance verification of any 5G network element—from the physical layer to the application layer—accelerates the delivery of innovative connectivity services for both consumers and vertical industries.”
Keysight also this week launched a new 5G core testing solution called LoadCore, and a major customer who is using it: China Mobile Research Institute, which will be using LoadCore to validate the performance of 5G Core (5GC) network equipment. As mobile network operators move toward Standalone 5G with a virtualized network architecture and network slicing, Keysight said, they “need to manage a massive number of devices and connections in support of service level agreements (SLAs) for both consumers and industry.”
LoadCore simulates real-world subscriber models, so that carriers and network equipment manufacturers can check the performance and reliability of both voice and data services on networks with a 5GC.
“5G networks require advanced capabilities to be verified including elastic scaling of network nodes, network slicing and multi-access edge computing (MEC) when simulating the behavior of millions of UEs,” said Kalyan Sundhar, vice president and general manager of Keysight’s edge-to-core group. “Keysight’s new LoadCore 5GC cloud-native testing software enables service providers and network equipment manufacturers to validate the 5G Core networks as they progress from development to deployment.”
In other test news:
–Ookla reports that global mobile internet speeds are down 3% compared to the first week of January 2020, while wireline network speeds are off 2% globally. While global mobile network speeds tend to increase over time, rather than decrease, due to network investments and upgrades by operators, pandemic-driven network usage shifts have occurred around the globe and that has been reflected in network speeds. The news is mixed at the country level, however, as some countries have actually seen significant increases in mobile or wired network speeds compared to January. In China, for instance, speeds across both network types slowed down dramatically from mid-to-late January, but have been slowly rising since and are now faster than they were before the dip: mobile network speeds were up 21% compared to the first week of January, Ookla reported, and wired network speeds were up 19%.
In the U.S., Ookla found that mobile network speeds have increased 1% compared to the first week of January, while wireline network speeds have dropped 4%. See more of Ookla’s numbers here.
–AT&T reported in its most recent network status update that it continues to see elevated traffic levels, particularly of voice traffic. A resurgence in voice use has been one of the persistent trends emerging from pandemic-related changes in user behavior. AT&T said that as of this past Wednesday, its core network traffic (including business, home broadband and wireless use) was up 22% compared to a similar day in late February. Wireless voice minutes of use were up 32% compared to a typical Wednesday, consumer voice minutes were up 41%, and Wi-Fi calling minutes increased by a whopping 94%. According to AT&T’s tracking data over recent weeks, Wednesdays tend to be the busiest days for Wi-Fi calling, Wednesdays and Mondays are the busiest days of the week for wireless voice, and Sundays see the most home voice calls.
–Teledyne LeCroy introduced a new protocol analyzer and jammer, which it says is the first platform to support PCIs 4.0 Reliability, Accessibility and Serviceability (RAS) error injection as a way to test system reliability. The Summit M5x PCIe Protocol Analyzer/Jammer provides multi-protocol support for PCIe, NVMe and Gen-Z in a single box at transmission speeds of up to 32 GT/s, Teledyne LeCroy said, which allows for “a new class of analysis and test for devices, servers, add-in cards and switches.”
–Tektronix continues to add to its oscilloscope line-up, with the launch this week of the TBS2000B series of digital storage oscilloscopes for both engineering and educational needs. The new TBS2000B extends the TBS2000 line with field-upgradable bandwidth of up to 200 megahertz and a 2 GS/s maximum sample rate, Tek noted. It has a nine-inch display and has the same form factor and programmable interface as the other TBS2000 series instruments.
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