Joint European O-RAN and TIP Plugfest 2020
Together with 27 participating vendors, EANTC planned, executed, and documented multi-vendor interoperability tests of O-RAN solutions. Testing occurred in the Labs hosted by Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), and on behalf of BT, Orange, Telefónica, DTAG, and TIM. The Plugfest, jointly organized by the O-RAN Alliance (O-RAN) and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), was the first European multi-vendor initiative to support the development of interoperable 5G and LTE OpenRAN solutions.
In a massive effort of seven weeks of on-site and remote testing, we verified 12 multi-vendor pairings of the O-RAN Open Radio Unit (O-RU) and the O-RAN Open Distributed Unit (O-DU)/Open Central Unit (O-CU) solutions at Berlin and Torino TIP Community Labs, and Open Test and Integration Centers (OTIC) candidate labs. The tests focused on Open Fronthaul functionality and compliance, end-to-end (E2E) performance, and O1 management interoperability. Together with VIAVI Solutions, EANTC has automated E2E O-RAN tests at the Berlin lab, while Keysight supported the tests in the Torino lab and supported a remote demonstration by Mavenir in the vendor’s own facility.
O-RAN is an initiative to define and build 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G RAN solutions based on general-purpose vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology. OTIC is being established, focusing on interoperability validation and certification of O-RAN compliant solutions. TIP is a community for building and deploying telecom network infrastructure that encourages the industry to adopt open and collaborative practices for developing new technologies. TIP Community Labs provide a welcoming environment to enable rapid real-world pilots of the adoption of new solutions at scale.
We defined two primary goals for the testing and integration in Berlin and Torino labs at the beginning of the project:
- Multi-vendor verification of the performance, interoperability, and conformance testing
- Proof of concept (POC) of remote interoperability testing of Non-Real-Time interfaces, e.g., Management Plane (M-Plane)
During the analysis phase of the project, we identified two additional value-added goals:
- Automation testing of the elementary test cases
- Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) integration via the Non-Real-Time M-Plane interface
Due to COVID-19, the integration and testing were conducted locally with remote support from the DUT vendors and the test tool providers. It was challenging to work remotely, given the spread of participants across multiple time zones (Europe, North America, and Asia). The test plan preparation, test setup clarification, lab integration design, and team coordination lasted almost two months. Because of the DUTs and the emulators’ requested remote configuration, we established multiple remote access methods for each participant, e.g., IPsec tunnels, OpenVPN, and AnyDesk. To speed up the testing, we used numerous communication applications with our participants, e.g., Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. The onsite teams of host operators, test tool vendors, and system/lab integrators conducted the local integration and testing with the vendors’ remote support. Figure below provides the local architecture of integration and testing.
- Interop validation of O-RAN compliant RU/DU solution
- Validation of Open FrontHaul (RU/DU)
- Support of Open Optical Packet Transport (OOPT) technology trials
- C/U Plane
Planned Setups and Solution Types
- O-RU and O-DU/O-CU end-to-end testing (real UE/emulated UE)
- O-RU isolation with UE and O-DU/core emulation
- O-DU/CU isolation with O-RU/core emulation
Test Areas and Related Specifications
- Interoperability of Open Fronthaul (by WG4)
- Performance (by TIP and TIFG)
- Conformance (by WG4)
- Automation (optional)