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Test and Measurement: 55 companies join in second O-RAN plugfest

The second global Open RAN plugfest event included 55 companies from around the world, spread across four regions and focusing on testing functionality and multi-vendor interoperabiltiy of O-RAN-based network equipment.

“Testing and integration are crucial for developing a commercially available open RAN ecosystem and that’s why the O-RAN ALLIANCE provides its member companies with an efficient global plugfest framework, which complements the ORAN specification effort as well as the ORAN Software Community,” said Andre Fuetsch, chairman of the O-RAN ALLIANCE and CTO of AT&T. “The joint, open, and coordinated effort greatly accelerates the technical evaluation of O-RAN solutions and effectively avoids duplication of efforts for all involved parties whether network operators or solution providers.”

The testing was held in September and October in four regions. In East Asia, the plugfest was conducted in operator and vendor labs in Japan and China, hosted by NTT DOCOMO, KDDI, SoftBank and China OTIC, with 16 companies participating. In India, Bharti Airtel hosted at locations in Gurgaon and Bengaluru. European operators Deutsche Telekom, TIM, Telefónica, Orange, and BT joined with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to host the first Joint O-RAN and TIP plugfest at the OTIC and TIP community labs in Berlin, Madrid and Torino. And in North America, AT&T and Verizon hosted the plugfest event at the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) in New York City and in Salt Lake City.

The largest of the regional events was in Europe, where 34 companies participated.

“It is heartening to note that the O-RAN ALLIANCE continues to build the momentum towards open RAN. The successful plugfest this year is a testimony of a maturing ecosystem,” said Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel.

Test companies which took part in the O-RAN plugfest include Keysight Technologies, EXFO, Viavi Solutions Rohde & Schwarz, with vendors often supporting multiple regional events.

Sameh Yamany, CTO of Viavi, said that the successful results of the plugfest “represent a significant step forward in the advancement of multi-vendor O-RAN environments, which are essential to scaling and sustaining 5G networks.”

In other test news:

Keysight Technologies said that it has enabled the Global Certification Forum’s Conformance Agreement Group to activate certification of 5G New Radio devices in millimeter-wave frequencies (Frequency Range 2), allowing 5G device makers to address 3GPP mmWave test requirements from a single solution platform.

“The GCF-approval of the first FR2 test cases supports a growing trend in using mmWave spectrum to deploy 5G NR for high-density, short-range connectivity in metropolitan areas and private networks such as for smart factory applications,” said Kailash Narayanan, VP and GM for Keysight’s wireless business group. “Twenty percent of the four-hundred and forty-four 5G devices announced to date support mmWave spectrum and more than twenty mobile operators are already deploying 5G services in FR2.”

Keysight also said this week that the State Radio Monitoring Center Testing Center (SRTC), which is a third-party testing and calibration laboratory in China, has chosen its solutions for domestic and international 5G mobile device certification testing.

-Viavi Solutions expanded its test support for Kenwood EFJohnson public safety radios on its Viavi 3920B Radio Test Platform and 8800SX Digital Radio Test Set.

Lightyear, a start-up which focuses on digitalizing and automating dedicated internet access circuits and related services, launched its software platform for businesses to buy and manage their telecom and IT infrastructure online. The company has raised $3.7 million to date and plans to use the funds to “aggressively accelerate product development with a focus on network planning, management, and inventory capabilities.”

Lightyear’s recent seed round was led by Amplo; Susa Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, Mark CubanDavid Adelman, and Operator Partners (founders of Flatiron Health) participated.

Tektronix launched the second generation of its IsoVu isolated oscilloscope probes. The first series was introduced in 2016, and Tek says that it has significantly advanced the probes’ capabilities in the new generation, reducing the size and thereby extending their potential use to the entire power system, and improving the ease of use and their performance.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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