The addition of a “wraparound” distributed unit test product for distributed units augments previous test suites for radio units and centralized units.
Open radio-access networks (Open RAN) disaggregate a base station’s baseband unit (BBU) — the unit between the antenna and network core — into three parts:
- Radio unit, RU or O-RU;
- Distributed unit, DU or O-DU
- Centralized unit, CU or O-CU.
Because Open RAN lets network engineers design networks using RU, DU, and CU hardware and software from numerous vendors, each unit requires functional interoperability and latency testing. Spirent Communications has completed its set of test products for Open RAN by adding tests for end-to-end, DU, and RAN intelligent controller (RIC).
Building upon its previously available CU and RU test products, Spirent now boasts a complete Open RAN test portfolio that can accelerate widespread Open RAN adoption. Spirent’s testing approach (see diagram) can ensure O-RAN functionality, interoperability, and field-ready performance.
Like Spirent’s RU and CU simulators, the DU simulator wraps around the DU by simulating the RU and CU. It places the DU in a simulated environment that includes the enhanced common public radio interface (eCPRI) interface to the RU and the F1 interface to the CU. Both the eCPRI and F1 interfaces are based on Ethernet with additional protocols defined in O-RAN Alliance specifications.
Spirent’s end-to-end tester lets engineers test a complete Open RAN network. It provides a wireless interface for the radio end and emulates a network core after the CU. This lets engineers test wireless products such as phones and IoT devices in an Open RAN environment.
Spirent also announced a RIC tester. A RIC hosts software that provides RAN orchestration, optimization, and automation within the RAN. A RIC supports both non-real-time (non-RT) or near- real-time (near-RT) functions. A near-RT RIC needs testing for interoperability with the CU and DU over an E2 interface and various xApps providing features that include optimization, UE load balancing, mobility management, QoS management, edge services, interference management, and radio-resource management. The non-RT RIC needs testing for interoperability with the CU and DU over the O1 interface and non-real-time functions, such as health checking, alarms, fault management, performance management, and lifecycle management.
Spirent’s Open RAN portfolio provides:
- Multi-vendor interoperability and performance testing that provides real-time (bi-directional) emulation to accurately reflect a live, real-world Open RAN environment.
- Test libraries and scenarios across performance, resiliency,
security, compliance, and more with a fully integrated system with open APIs. Test products insert seamlessly into any automation pipeline.
- A single user interface because Open RAN testing requires numerous test and emulation approaches.