Test & Measurement

Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI offer joint network test solutions

7th June 2024
Harry Fowle

Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) and VIAVI have announced an expansion of their partnership delivering state-of-the-art O-RU testing.

These solutions are ideally suited to the needs of radio manufacturers planning to bid for the United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund (PWSCIF) Second Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO 2), which focuses on Open Radio Commercialisation and Innovation. Since the launch of this partnership, Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI have established a reputation for compact, flexible solutions drawing from the strengths of both companies while delivering a seamless user experience.

O-RU conformance test

Fronthaul conformance tests, defined by the O-RAN ALLIANCE, ensure that O-RUs are interoperable with the O-RAN distributed unit (O-DU). The joint test solution includes:

  • The R&S SMW200A vector signal generator, R&S FSVA3000 signal and spectrum analyser and the R&S VSE signal analysis software from Rohde & Schwarz, to emulate a real-world radio environment by generating, capturing and analysing RF signals, extended for O-RAN applications.
  • The TM500 O-RU Tester from VIAVI, implementing the O-RAN Distributed Unit (O-DU) side of the M-plane and C/U-plane functionality necessary to configure the interface with the O-RU and exchange of I/Q data over the Open Fronthaul.
  • The O-RU Test Manager application, providing a single point of control for the integrated system, simplifying testcase workflow while allowing deeper data inspection and analysis as needed.

The same set-up can be also used for performing conformance cases defined by 3GPP TS 38.141/36.141 for 5G/LTE base stations (BS).

Test scalability

As O-RAN radios move to commercial deployment, development testing needs to move beyond lab validation of conformance to greater use case and functionality testing within R&D. These newer use cases prioritise simplicity, speed and cost effectiveness in testing. The R&S PVT360A is a compact, single-box vector signal analyser (VSA) and vector signal generator (VSG) that combines with the VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester and VIAVI O-RU Test Manager Application for a more scalable solution, providing a cost-optimised and simpler setup that is well-suited for R&D teams that require multiple test lines to accelerate time to market. The TM500 O-RU Tester can also be scaled to provide direct performance testing such as uplink and downlink data performance and capacity testing.

Network energy saving

O-RAN radio units (O-RU) consume the majority of power in 5G radio access networks. Network equipment manufacturers and service providers are prioritising O-RU energy efficiency without sacrificing performance. Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI have developed a fully automated testbed to verify O-RU energy efficiency, including the R&S RTO6 oscilloscope, R&S NGP800 power supply and the VIAVI TM500 O-RU Tester. The TM500 O-RU Tester emulates the DU, synchronises and configures the O-RU and offers several test scripts to verify O-RU energy efficiency under different load conditions. The R&S equipment can then monitor dynamic device activities versus power consumption: The oscilloscope monitors energy dynamics under various traffic conditions by tracking power changes over time, while the power supply – besides powering the O-RU – also provides high measurement resolution and accuracy over a long period of time. The O-RU Test Manager Application ensures a seamless user experience across the testbed.

“Our joint O-RU conformance test solution has been used to test a wide range of different O-RUs at global plugfests of the O-RAN ALLIANCE over the last years. It has a solid presence at Open Testing and Integration Centre (OTIC) labs worldwide and was instrumental in initial O-RU certifications in Asia and most recently also in the first certification in Europe,” said Alexander Pabst, Vice President Market Segment Wireless Communications at Rohde & Schwarz. “With this long track record, we are now set to serve the efforts of the NTIA to bring forward Open Radio technology. This is putting the successful collaboration between Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI to the next level.”

“Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI are proud to support the NTIA Open RAN Innovation and Commercialisation based on our best-of-breed approach with a unified customer experience,” said Ian Langley, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Business Unit, VIAVI. “Since we first began offering O-RU conformance testing, open radios have advanced significantly, and test requirements – from scalability for use across the development cycle, to energy saving, have become critical. We are pleased to expand our partnership into these new areas.”

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