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36 O-RAN Demonstrations Showcased for the MWC Barcelona 2021

By Paul Smith

O-RAN ALLIANCE is excited to announce the release of 36 virtual demos showcased during MWC Barcelona 2021 by the following member companies:  Analog Devices, Arm, Astri, Baicells, Capgemini, China Mobile, CIG, Comba Telecom, H3C, Intel, IS-Wireless, ITRI, Juniper Networks, Keysight, Lenovo, NEC, Netcracker, Nokia, Nvidia, NXP, O-RAN Software Community, Parallel Wireless, Pegatron, Radisys, Rohde& Schwarz, Qualcomm, Sageran, Siemens EDA, TIM, T&W, VIAVI Solutions, WindRiver.

Sageran demonstrates a complete O-RAN white-box small cell solution that based on an x86 platform with an FPGA Multi-Function card showcases a stand-alone end to end use case using white box hardware for an indoor cell which supports MIMO and all 4T4R. Maximum throughput can reach to 1.7Gbps(DL) and 280Mbps(UL) and support Sub-6GHz.

Sageran demonstrates a complete O-RAN white-box small cell solution that based on an ARM platform with an FPGA Multi-Function  card showcases a stand-alone end to end use case using white box hardware for an indoor cell which supports MIMO and all 4T4R.  Maximum throughput can reach to 1.1Gbps(DL) and 180Mbps(UL) and support Sub-6GHz.

Sageran demonstrates a complete O-RAN white-box VRAN small cell solution that integrates core network/UPF/MEC and CU/DU, It is conducive to industrial applications and network deployment on the same platform to flexibly adapt to user application scenarios. It supports O-RAN Open Fronthaul interface to connect to three-party RRU, helping customers reduce costs and power consumption.

Capgemini Engineering and Intel demonstrate its Machine Learning (ML) based radio network application for 5G Medium Access Control (MAC) to intelligently boost subscriber quality of experience (QoE) with ultra-real-time predictive analytics. Entitled “Project Marconi”, the breakthrough solution, that includes Capgemini NetAnticipate5G and Ratio O-RAN RIC, powered with Intel Xeon platform.

IS-Wireless showcases the next level of software disaggregation in 5G OpenRAN with protocol layers working as independent VNFs on various computing platforms: O-DU VNF/CNF on Edge Cloud (COTS HW), O-CU VNF on Core/Regional Cloud. The company achieved E2E connectivity on 5G with split option 7.2 and option 2.

Parallel Wireless, Inc., the leading U.S.-based O-RAN conformant, Open RAN company, enabling ALL Gs, has created the largest ecosystem of Open RAN partners, and plans to demonstrate the latest innovations in Open RAN technology at MWC Barcelona 2021, in Hall 5, booth 515.

Comba Telecom showcases Open RAN Multi-band Remote Radio Unit with advanced technology that maintains low level of power consumption and better receiver sensitivity. The small form factor and improved Mean Time Before Failure performance contributes to installation and maintenance cost saving. These features facilitate Fronthaul integration with O-DU partners.

NVIDIA demonstrates Aerial Developer Kit 1.0 that provides a guided customer experience to enable developers to onboard, exercise, evaluate and benchmark the Aerial SDK. This demo showcases an evaluation platform for a virtual, fully interoperable Open RAN reference that supports 7.2 split O-RAN Fronthaul configuration.

NVIDIA demonstrates an O-RAN based, hyper converged, software-defined, and scalable 5G RAN, Core Network and MEC solution.  This demo showcases the Aerial SDK and NVIDIA Mellanox SmartNIC solutions in an E2E system highlighting the integration of an O-RAN Radio Unit (O-RU) communicating over-the-air to a 5G SA capable UE.

Juniper Networks demonstrates a cloud-native router (CNR), providing high performance and advanced routing functionality on cost-effective COTS hardware in an open RAN environment.  The demo shows how to install and provision the router via Helm charts in a Kubernetes cluster including an O-DU.

ITRI demonstrates an intelligent RAN management and control solution – Athena Orchestrator, which consists of SMO, Non-RT RIC and Near-RT RIC that conform to O-RAN architecture. The management and control services conform O1, A1, and E2 interfaces and procedures. rApps and xApps provide intelligent and value-added functions.

Pegatron, ITRI and Keysight demonstrate FCAPS management and Non-RT RIC between O-RAN gNBs and the SMO Platform. The FCAPS management shows auto-provisioning, CM, FM, PM, and heartbeat services through the O1 Interface. The Non-RT RIC shows the coverage and capacity optimization among gNBs by a Non-RT intelligence application (rApp).

Nokia O-RAN Collaboration and Testing Center is designed to execute IOT/E2E testing for O-RU/O-DU Open Fronthaul and xAPP testing for near-real time RAN Intelligent Controller. It is built with a variety of support nodes, test tools and work area isolation to ensure a collaborative, open, and confidential test environment.

NEC demonstrates 5G carrier-grade solutions based on O-RAN Open Fronthaul interface, including new radio portfolio. Also shows collaboration with innovative operators to provide 5G Open RAN in its Global Open RAN Center of Excellence.

VIAVI demonstrates the Near-Real-Time RIC test, which covers a wide range of test capabilities including E2 conformance test, RIC load test, xApp training, RAN scenario generator and closed loop RIC output validation.

VIAVI demonstrates deployment and test of an O-CU on edge infrastructure: AWS Outposts. As 5G services leverage edge computing on open networks, the ability to validate application and infrastructure performance at any point in the network has become essential to ensuring quality of experience.

CMCC, Intel, Baicells and Wind River demonstrate how RIC can make the best use of IT technology (compute and storage) to provide AI based Near-Real-Time analysis of RAN data and recommend optimized handover decision to 5G RAN based on the tele-metrics of the 5G RAN exposed to a cloud native RAN Intelligent Controller.

Keysight and TIM partner in the TIM Innovation Lab to perform conformance testing of an Open Distributed Unit (O-DU) and Open Central Unit (O-CU) combination over the option 7-2x functional split Fronthaul interface using Keysight’s software-only user equipment (UE) and Open Radio Unit (O-RU) emulation solution, RuSIM.

Keysight explores the benefits of O-RAN to build up 5G networks for specific user scenarios and enterprise use cases via vertical applications and private networks. This demo involves performing IP Data throughput tests and a series of service/application scenario tests on the O-RAN based solutions using Keysight’s UeSIM massive UE Emulation solution.

Keysight demonstrates how Open RAN systems provide many benefits but expand the attack surface. Part of Keysight Open RAN Architect (KORA), the Keysight IoT/5G security test solution performs automatic security audits for developers and operators. It executes security tests against any O-RAN component, increasing their ability to withstand network attacks.

Keysight demonstrates how the performance of virtualized elements in an O-RAN ecosystem highly depends on the performance and security of the underlying infrastructure (O-Cloud). Keysight Cloud Peak, part of Keysight Open RAN Architect (KORA), helps benchmark the O-Cloud and assess the impact of resource exhaustion attacks on that infrastructure.

Siemens EDA demonstrates how Veloce™ X-STEP™ fiber optic test system for radio base stations optimizes O-RAN interoperability and conformance. This innovative test system allows full configurability of transmitted data and full visibility into received data, even in the case of erroneous packets.

NEC and Netcracker showcase Non-RT RIC with AI/ML for intelligent optimization of beam configurations. The demonstration shows how massive MIMO parameter configurations use vast quantities of performance data to continuously adapt to traffic and user mobility patterns for an optimized user experience.

Keysight demonstrates how testing with real user equipment (UE) will soon become a requirement for measuring, validating and benchmarking the end-to-end performance of Network (O-RAN) systems. The demo showcases how to perform these tests efficiently and repeatably using Keysight’s Performance Benchmarking (PBM) solution.

Keysight demonstrates how to gain better visibility into protocol / physical layer interaction in wireless transmissions. Keysight’s WaveJudge Wireless Analyzer performs gap-free wideband analysis for 5G (O-RAN) and covers bandwidths up to 800 MHz, sub-6 GHz and millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies, higher-order multiple-input / multiple output (MIMO), and up to 8 carriers for carrier aggregation.

CMCC, Intel and H3C demonstrate how the link performance prediction (LPP xAPP) support QoE refinement through the use of UE link quality prediction. This specific capability allows operators to implement application (Cloud Gaming) aware QoE prioritization and perform continuous evolution of target QoE.

CMCC and Lenovo demonstrate how the Near-RT RIC supports intelligent cell load balancing by a traffic steering xApp, enabled by the exposure of measurement and control capabilities over E2 interface. This allows proactive, fast, and efficient network load control to further improve user experience.

Analog Devices demonstrates an integrated 3.5GHz O-RAN 4T4R O-RU with 7.2 baseband split. This O-RU was developed in a partnership between Analog Devices Inc., Intel, and Whizz Systems. Testing of this O-RU was enabled by the Keysight O-RAN Studio and DU Emulator.

NVIDIA demonstrates O-RAN Open Fronthaul interface and E2E use cases on an open platform with Edge/AI services and 5G connectivity. This demo showcases a few sample use-cases for Industry 4.0 (Manufacturing) under integration in the Aerial Innovation Lab.

Juniper Networks demonstrates 5G network slice orchestration and assurance on O-RAN based 5G networks using Service Management and Orchestration (SMO), RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) and RAN Slice SLA Assurance rApps/xApps. The demo presents network slice lifecycle management, including network slice preparation, network slice creation, and RAN slice SLA assurance.

T&W and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. are demonstrating the industry’s first announced Option 6 O-RAN Indoor Picocell solution. The demonstration features Open RAN (Option 6) Radio Unit (RU) hardware reference design powered by Qualcomm® 5G RAN Platform for Small Cells (Qualcomm® FSM100xx); a high performance and low power Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) solution for small cells.

O-RAN Software Community (OSC) demonstrates a comprehensive RAN simulator that will drive intelligent RAN control applications (xApps) such as traffic steering and anomaly detection using a Near-RT RIC. This is based on the work done using OSC’s code base in “Cherry” and “D” release and will validate call flows for end-to-end intelligent RAN control use cases.

Rohde & Schwarz demonstrates how a loss of synchronization in the signal chain and between gNBs leads to network degradation in capacity and throughput. O-RAN is adding flexibility to 5G deployments, increasing the potential for timing errors. Therefore, it’s important to measure Timing Alignment Error (TAE) at the deployment and troubleshooting phase, over the air.

Paul Smith

Co-Chair of the O-RAN ALLIANCE’s WG1: Use Cases and Overall Architecture Workgroup

Paul is a Director - Member Technical Staff - with AT&T responsible for O-RAN and RAN Architecture with nearly 33 years of experience in wireless communications.