Test and Measurement: O-RAN spring plugfest kicks off

The O-RAN Alliance has kicked off its spring plugfest to further develop Open RAN features and ensure interoperability across the O-RAN ecosystem, with more than 40 companies participating around the world.

This spring’s plugfest has six areas of focus, according to O-RAN Alliance. They are:

-Testing of O-RAN energy consumption, energy efficiency and energy savings, which will be carried out at five of the testing venues.

-O-RAN end-to-end deployment templates, DevOps and test automation, which will be tested at four venues.

-The “demonstration of consistent and repeatable open fronthaul testing in multiple labs”, which will be tested at four of the venues.

-System testing with Layer 1 acceleration, to be tested at two plugfest venues.

-Diversity of the O-RAN “white-box” hardware ecosystem, to be tested at one venue.

-O-RAN fronthaul transport testing with multiple open Radio Units (O-RUs), being conducted at one test venue.

The spring plugfest is expected to wrap up and announce results in early June, according to O-RAN Alliance.

In related news, Rohde & Schwarz and Viavi Solutions announced this week that a joint, integrated test solution from the two vendors was used at the European Open Testing and Integration Centre (OTIC) in Berlin, in the OTIC’s first successful certification of an O-RU as part of the O-RAN Alliance’s certification and badging program. The indoor O-RU was in the LPRU-series from VVDN Technologies, with testing facilitated by the i14y Lab using an integrated solution from R&S and Viavi for O-RU conformance testing.

In other test news:

Keysight Technologies has debuted a new design tool for RF integrated circuits used in wireless, automotive and satellite systems. RFProCircuit is modular and aimed at maintaining a more tightly integrated, consistent environment that enables engineers to identify cross-domain issues by offering “multi-physics co-design” across Keysight, Synopsys and Cadence design platforms, according to Keysight. Optional electromagnetic (EM) and electro-thermal simulators also plug into the new environment, the test vendor added.

Cadence this week announced its latest system and semiconductor design system, the Palladium Z3 Emulation and Protium X3 FPGA Prototyping system, which it called a “revolutionary digital twin platform.” Cadence is promising a more than a 2x increase in capacity and a 1.5x performance boost compared to previous-generation systems.

-The push for higher-order modulation in cellular systems—specifically, 1024 QAM—was evident this week in two announced tests, both of which involved Qualcomm Technologies. The first was a lab test in Korea with Samsung Networks that used 20 megahertz of spectrum in FDD and TDD bands and 1024 QAM, and which reached downlink speeds of 485 Mbps. The second was an end-to-end field test of three carrier component carrier aggregation (3CC CA) combined with 1024 QAM in Jiaxing, China, with Qualcomm, ZTE and China Mobile; the test showcased a single-user downlink peak rate surpassing 5.4 Gbps.

Spirent Communications said this week that an unnamed leading online payment platform is using Spirent’s CyberFlood solution to test performance, scalability and effectiveness of its network cybersecurity. The company went from using freely available generic software to generate data traffic, to levering Spirent’s offering. “With performance capacity crucial to its operations, [the company] realized it needed greater flexibility to be able to test its firewall functionality with genuinely realistic traffic generation that could provide a more detailed understanding of how well its defenses were performing and the impact of security policies on end-customer experience,” said Remco Poortvliet, CTO at APNT Network Technology, the Spirent tech partner which was approached for the solution.

Tampa Electric (TECO) has been granted permission by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for a six-month test period of 900 MHz for a private LTE network using Ericsson gear, as it waits for Anterix to clear spectrum. More details here.

Viavi Solutions has joined the board of the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA), which focuses on open-source software for 4G and 5G networks. It is the first T&M vendor to join the organization’s board.

-ICYMI: In the most recent of a series of ongoing tests with AT&T, AST SpaceMobile streamed one of the carrier’s commercials from space to a smartphone. Read more in this story.

Samsung’s newest Galaxy models provide faster median 5G download speeds in about half of the global markets in recent testing by Ookla, and also match up strongly against the Apple iPhone 15 family in terms of performance. Get the details here.

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