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O-RAN Global PlugFest 2021 Demonstrates Stronger Ecosystem and Maturing Solutions

The O-RAN ALLIANCE has successfully conducted its O-RAN Global PlugFest 2021 to demonstrate the functionality and the multi-vendor interoperability of O-RAN based network equipment.

The O-RAN ALLIANCE is a world-wide community of more than 300 operators, vendors and research and academic institutions working in a transparent way to develop a sustainable open RAN ecosystem. 30 mobile network operators committed to O-RAN are serving over 4.5 Billion subscribers around the world.

O-RAN Global PlugFest 2021 – O-RAN’s third world-wide testing and integration event – demonstrated the strength of the O-RAN ecosystem and its global drive towards open and intelligent Radio Access Networks (RAN).

The O-RAN PlugFest expanded from 4 to 7 global venues, with 94 participating companies. Many of the companies contributed to multiple venues, bringing PlugFest to a total of 144 active corporate participants compared to 70 at the 2020 PlugFest.

Testing multi-vendor interoperability, Radio Intelligent Controllers, O-Cloud, infrastructure security and end-to-end functionality

Overall, O-RAN Global PlugFests bring a great opportunity for the industry to deal with integration challenges in an efficient way and to make major progress in development of commercial O-RAN products. This year’s Plugfest was not an exception, as demonstrated by the successes:

  • This year’s PlugFest proved advanced maturity of the Open Fronthaul (OFH) implementations. Interoperability has been achieved between many vendors in different network setups, base station classes, OFH profiles and RU/CU-DU product combinations.
  • There were several demonstrations of advanced use cases utilizing the O-RAN Near-Real-Time Radio Intelligent Controller (Near-RT RIC) and Non-Real-Time RIC (Non-RT RIC), like automated network outage detection and recovery, and latency assurance for end-to-end network slicing. A lot of effort also went into testing individual RIC interfaces, application protocols, and related xApps and rApps.
  • Several venues successfully tested O-Cloud products and multi-vendor virtualized RAN integrations.
  • Specific tests dealt with the O-RAN infrastructure security.
  • Thanks to the O-RAN community enthusiasm and great collaboration, several O-RAN end-to-end functionality tests passed against production core network elements, while many other utilized simulators.
  • All venues proved the readiness of advanced test equipment and simulation of different parts of the network.
  • PlugFest hosts managed combinations of on-site and remote testing, reflecting the Covid-19 pandemic situation in different parts of the world.


In Asia, the O-RAN Global PlugFest 2021 took place at four venues:

PlugFest in Japan

The PlugFest in Japan was hosted by NTT DOCOMO, KDDI, Rakuten Mobile, SoftBank and YRP in Tokyo area and Yokosuka.

NTT DOCOMO site activities

1) Multi-vendor Interoperability Testing (IOT) at DOCOMO R&D Center (Yokosuka, Japan) with Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia and Samsung products using Open Fronthaul, both SA and NSA setup, on Sub6 GHz NR TDD:

  • Open Fronthaul M-plane and CUS-plane successfully verified
  • Successful 5G NSA/SA calls observed in multi-vendor CU/DU and RU setup
  • DL throughput exceeding 1Gbps measured in multi-vendor CU/DU and RU setup

2) Multi-vendor integration of vRAN with Fujitsu (vCU/vDU software and COTS server), NVIDIA (HW accelerator: GPU), Wind River (cloud platform) from the 5G Open RAN Ecosystem. Successful SA calls observed.

Rakuten Mobile site activities

1) Rakuten Mobile Fronthaul verification in multi-vendor interoperability scenarios with NEC O-RU, Altiostar O-CU/O-DU and simulated core by NEC:

  • M-plane successfully verified
  • CUS-plane successfully verified

2) 3GPP RF conformance testing with Keysight Technologies and NEC.

3) Demonstration of rApp “Outage Impact Compensation” with RAN Optimization xApps working on latest O-RAN Software Community RIC stack, enabling RAN self-healing and optimization – with VIAVI Solutions and HCL.

SoftBank site activities

1) Introduction of SoftBank’s private 5G (5G SA / indoor / virtualized) as the first use case for commercialization of O-RAN

2) Introduction of 5G mmW backhaul system development as SoftBank’s O-RAN new use case

3) Multi-Vendor 5G NSA 7-2x Open Fronthaul live commercial UE peak throughput demonstration with JMA Wireless fully virtualized XRAN baseband unit

KDDI site activities

1) Latency assurance with Near-RT RIC for E2E NW slicing. KDDI and Samsung have showcased a point of RIC method for latency assurance

  • The goal is to protect a target latency on UE basis.
  • It is realized using both priority scheduling and retransmission reduction, and the potential parameters to be supported in the O-RAN specifications are also identified as a study result.

Other activities

NTT DOCOMO, Rakuten Mobile and YRP started studying 3GPP Conformance on O-RAN based Base Stations

  • Focus on emission characteristics such as ACLR, Spurious, etc.
  • Studying which kind of information in Fronthaul affects the Radio emission

In addition to the hosts, participants included Fujitsu, HCL, JMA Wireless, Keysight Technologies, NEC, Nokia, NVIDIA, Samsung, VIAVI Solutions and Wind River.

O-RAN PlugFest in Republic of Korea

The O-RAN PlugFest in Republic of Korea was hosted by LG Uplus at its 5G Innovation Lab in LG Science Park, Seoul, for the first time in Korea. Activities focused on:

1) Open Fronthaul evaluation

  • Multi-vendor interoperability over Open Fronthaul (7.2x)
  • Validation of S-Plane for timing synchronization by FHGW with LLS-C3

2) Architecture and functional evaluation

  • Evaluation of cloud platform and “Cloud-Native” vRAN architecture

Devices Under Test:

  • Cloudified 5G SA O-CU/O-DU by Altiostar
  • 5G mMIMO O-RU (MB5420) by NEC
  • FHGW (C1216RO) by DZS

The testbed was also equipped with Intel x86 components for the COTS server. Keysight Technologies UE emulator, Core emulator, Test UE were applied to evaluate the E2E lab environment.

In addition to the host, participants included Altiostar, DZS, Intel, Keysight Technologies and NEC.

O-RAN PlugFest in Auray OTIC and Security Lab & Chunghwa Telecom

Activities at Taiwan-based O-RAN PlugFest in Auray OTIC and Security Lab & Chunghwa Telecom were performed by two hosts:

Auray, at their OTIC and Security lab in Taoyuan hosted multi-vendor interoperability testing for indoor scenario:

  • Open Fronthaul: O-RU, FHM, O-CU/O-DU
  • End-to-end testing according to O-RAN.TIFG.E2E.TEST spec v02.00
  • CH 4 Functional Test
  • CH 5 Performance Test
  • CH7 Security Test
  • CH8 Stress and Load Test

Chunghwa Telecom in Yangmei hosted Verification and Validation of multi-vendor O-RAN Architecture based end-to-end solutions:

  • E2E Verification of multi-vendor O-RU+ O-DU/O-CU + Real Core Network
  • Validation and demonstration of SMO/Non-RT RIC

In total there were 32 test cases.

In addition to the hosts, participants included Aethertek, Alpha Networks, Arcadyan, Calnex, Compal, Delta Electronics, Foxconn, iConNext, Institute for Information Industry, Intel, Inventec, IP Infusion, ITRI, JPC connectivity, Keysight Technologies, Lions Technology, Liteon, Metanoia Communications, MICAS, MiTAC, NKG, O'Prueba, Pegatron, QCT, Rohde & Schwarz, Sageran, Sercomm, VIAVI Solutions, Wiwynn and WNC.

O-RAN PlugFest in India

The O-RAN PlugFest in India was hosted by Bharti Airtel at NOC Manesar in Gurgaon, Delhi.

The Demo/PoC Scenarios covered:

1) Near RT RIC Traffic steering use cases demonstration

  • 5G SA traffic steering (TS) use case, TS from source gNB to target gNB using real CU/DU E2 Nodes with xApp developed using SDK (VMware & Capgemini)
  • EN-DC NSA traffic steering (TS) use case with an integrated RL framework using E2SM-RC/KPM where Ues are steered from their primary NR cells in secondary source gNB to optimal target NR cells in secondary target gNB. E2 nodes and Ues were NS3-simulated (Mavenir)
  • Policy-driven traffic-steering of slice-users between 4G and 5G cells in a serving area using simulated E2 nodes (TCS & VIAVI Solutions)

2) O-RAN Physical Infrastructure Security threats detection and remediation

  • Demonstrated 9 Security threats and remediation from O-RAN.SFG.O-RAN-Threat-Model-v2.00.02 chapter 6 Security principles (Total 17) with AMI security solution (AMI TruE) using Intel technologies

3) End-to-end testing according to O-RAN.TIFG.E2E.TEST spec v02.00

  • CH 4 Functional Test with Sercomm RU+DU using VIAVI Solutions CU SIM and Real UE

4) Open Fronthaul evaluation

  • STL O-RU integration with ASOCS O-DU using IP Infusion’s DCSG as FH switch and synchronization source
  • Successfully achieved O-RU synchronization using LLS-C3 configuration.
  • M-Plane tested partially
  • CISCO OPEN FHGW Platform integration with VVDN Software function enabling eCPRI <-> CPRI conversion, demonstrated using Keysight Technologies O-RU & FHGW test solution (Open RAN Studio & Vector Signal Analyzer)
  • CPRI interface clock derived from CISCO enabled O-RAN xHaul fabric, cascading via MPLS transport routers, originator Keysight Technologies O-DU emulator.

In addition to the host, participants included AMI, ASOCS, Capgemini Engineering, Cisco, Intel, IP Infusion, Keysight Technologies, Mavenir, Sercomm, STL, TCS, VIAVI Solutions, VMware and VVDN.


The O-RAN Global PlugFest 2021 in Europe took place at two venues:

O-RAN PlugFest hosted by Skoltech

The O-RAN PlugFest hosted by Skoltech was hosted by Skoltech at its OpenRAN 5G Lab in Moscow. The activities focused on:

1)     3GPP 38.104 Tx/Rx compliance validation for O-RU

  • O-RU with L1-LowPHY testbed for 3GPP TS38.104 Transmitter tests (DL)
  • O-RU with L1-LowPHY testbed for 3GPP TS38.104 Receiver tests (UL)

2) E2E ORAN Compliant 5G gNB integration with Commercial 5GC

  • The software and hardware initial deployment and integration to bring up O-DU and O-CU using the COTS HW platform
  • OFH Interoperability between O-RU and O-DU from different vendors
  • O-CU/O-DU and Commercial 5G SA Core integration
  • E2E OTA Commercial UE Attach validation and performance tests

In addition to the hosts, participants included Foxconn, Keysight Technologies and Xilinx.

Joint European O-RAN & TIP PlugFest

BT, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, TIM and Vodafone have teamed up together with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to host the Joint European O-RAN & TIP PlugFest at 4 European OTICs in Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Torino.

PlugFest activities were coordinated among the labs to complement the focus areas/scope, e.g. selecting different vendors (combinations), different O-RAN architecture components or interfaces.

Test and verification focus areas comprised:

1) O-RU conformance testing

  • IUT: OpenFH and RF
  • DUT: 4x O-RU (3x 5G, 1x 4G)
  • O-RAN and 3GPP conformance and IOT tests

2) E2E multi-vendor integration and performance/functional testing

  • 10x E2E setups
  • 2x 4G
  • 1x 5G NSA / 7x 5G SA
  • O-RAN e2e performance and functional tests

3) Load/scale testing of O-CU

  • IUT: F1 / DUT: 1x O-CU / 2x test beds
  • Load/scale testing of O-CU – no O-RAN test spec. → proposal to O-RAN

4) Security testing

  • SUT: E2E RAN
  • 3GPP SCAS tests / O-RAN E2E tests

5) Validation and demonstration of RIC and applications

  • 2x Near-RT RIC + real DU-CU
  • 2x Near/Non-RT RIC + emulated DU/CU (RAN)
  • Verification of A1/E2/O1 procedures
  • Demonstration of RAN Slice SLA assurance use case and xApp deployment

6) Demonstration of multi-vendor O-RAN based architecture

  • Real O-RAN architecture components (no emulator/simulator)
  • Multi-cell outdoor scenario
  • O-RAN E2E performance and functional tests
  • Verification of Mobile Load Balancing xApp

7) O-cloud solutions

  • O-Cloud use cases validation and demonstration using real CNFs
  • Pre-standard O2 interface

8) Demonstration of SMO based on O1

  • SMO Static RAN Slice Provisioning use case validation and demonstration
  • Real CU/DU based on O1 interface

9) xHaul transport

  • Different topology configurations for aggregating fronthaul / midhaul / backhaul
  • Sync tests and clock distribution
  • Different transport solutions (LxVPN, SR …) and technologies (FlexE, IP, TSN…)
  • Collection of basic SLOs (latency, jitter, etc.)
  • Application of impairments

In addition to the hosts, participants included Accelleran, ADVA, Advantech, AirHop Communications, Anritsu, Capgemini Engineering, Ciena, Cisco, Comba Network, Dell Technologies, DZS, EANTC, EXFO, Facebook, Foxconn, Fujitsu, Intel, IP Infusion, IS-Wireless, JMA Wireless, Juniper Networks, Keysight Technologies, Mavenir, MICAS, MTI, NEC, ONF, Precision OT, Radisys, Rohde & Schwarz, VIAVI Solutions, VMware, Wind River, Wiwynn and Xilinx.

North America

Joint O-RAN, TIP, Linux Foundation PlugFest & Proofs of Concept

In North America, the O-RAN Global PlugFest 2021 was hosted jointly by AT&T and Verizon, and brought together companies and academic institutions.

The Joint O-RAN, TIP, Linux Foundation PlugFest & Proofs of Concept were conducted in 3 labs in the USA: the NSF POWDER lab at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, the NSF COSMOS lab at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and the TIP Community Lab on the Facebook (META) campus in Menlo Park, California.

PlugFest activities focused on conformance testing and multi-vendor interoperability – 16 unique test combinations across 2 labs.

Proofs of Concept comprised:

  • O-Cloud infrastructure behavior in latency sensitive applications
  • RIC demonstration of successful E2AP procedures and measurement collection via E2 Service Model: Key Performance Metrics (E2SM KPM)
  • RAN Slice Service Level Assurance (SLA)
  • AI-enabled management of multiple-operator / multi-vendor RAN with O-RU pooling & multi-vendor slices (a series of demonstrations)

In addition to the hosts, participants included Analog Devices, Anritsu, Calnex, Capgemini Engineering, Casa Systems, CIG, Commscope, Corning, Foxconn, Fujitsu, highstreet technologies, Intel, IP Infusion, JMA Wireless, Juniper Networks, Keysight Technologies, Mavenir, MTI, National Instruments, NEC, Radisys, Rohde & Schwarz, VIAVI Solutions, VVDN and Wind River.

The O-RAN ALLIANCE is preparing a PlugFest Virtual Showcase to allow interested public to explore the O-RAN Global PlugFest 2021 in detail – soon to be available at

By O-RAN Testing and Integration Focus Group (TIFG) co-chairs:

Chao Kan (Reliance Jio),

Liao Linsheng (China Mobile),

Petr Jurcik (Deutsche Telekom), and

Ian Wong (VIAVI Solutions)