by TIP News
Throughout 2022 and the first half of 2023, OpenRAN PG underwent a strategic shift in its solutions subgroups. Their primary focus shifted towards crafting high-quality documents, specifically blueprints and test plans. These documents aimed to offer comprehensive and precise definitions for various use cases or scenarios. These definitions were derived from the requirements gathered by reference operators, such as those involved in MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) and other supporting operators.
The overarching objective was to eliminate the need for ad hoc testing of specific solutions with particular vendors. Instead, OpenRAN PG aimed to bring transparency and visibility to the community by endorsing well-defined solutions tested in accordance with established guidelines. This approach adhered to the “test one, deploy many” principle, resulting in significant time and cost savings for operators and vendors alike.
Therefore, both solution SG, macro/outdoor and indoor/small cell started the creation of blueprints and associated test cases that could be used for the whole community focusing on:
- vendor-independent definitions
- setup/reuse of TIP community labs
- Avoid repeated integration of identical configurations for every MNO
- Creating playbooks and test reports to accelerate the productization of the validated OpenRAN configurations.
- Publish on TIP exchange clear and detailed packages showing products that meet the defined use case, and their maturity level through the TIP badges awarded to them
Open RAN PG
Testing and certification for Open RAN: SCOPE
Open RAN System Certification called SCOPE, outlining how TIP will drive efficiency in the Open RAN supply chain and accelerate deployment of Open RAN. TIP’s SCOPE is the result of broad consultation within the industry. As TIP operates a global community, SCOPE also responds to the need for a controlled global alignment requested by governments and regulators.
Through implementing SCOPE TIP:
- Will increase operators’ confidence to purchase Open RAN systems,
- Reduce their needs for RFI’s and Proof-of-Concepts,
- Enable savings by reducing the need for extensive testing.
- System integrators and participating certification labs will have access to a robust certification process and operator requirements on certification through TIP.
Product vendors will benefit from a process recognized by operators to present and offer certified products to the market.
TIP’s SCOPE will enable a “test once; deploy many times” approach to achieving supply chain efficiencies and engendering confidence to deploy Open RAN technology into live networks, without every operator having to conduct individual comprehensive system tests. Implementing the process across participating regions will enable global scale and accelerate the deployment of Open RAN.
Blueprints to help drive industrialization
In business and management, particularly within the dynamic landscape of telecommunications, a blueprint plays a significant role. It serves as a meticulously crafted roadmap for constructing a solution with a clear and precise objective: to furnish a comprehensive plan that a team or community can readily follow. The overarching aim is to ensure that goals are met and achieved with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
This blueprint concept finds its niche in the world of OpenRAN, where the intricacies of deploying a system with specific features and product requirements demand a structured approach. It is the cornerstone, providing a high-quality reference point for mapping out deployment scenarios. Moreover, it establishes the foundation for crafting unique test plans, all of which must gain approval within the TIP (Telecom Infra Project) community. These test plans and associated acceptance criteria play a pivotal role in validating scenarios and pave the way for certification. In essence, the blueprint is the guiding star that ensures the successful navigation of the OpenRAN landscape, ensuring that the result aligns precisely with the intended objectives.
OpenRAN Product Blueprint for Scenario 15 Indoor Small cell
During 2023, TIP created a blueprint for scenario 15, this is, an indoor/small cell solution for mono-operators with vDU/vCU and OFH
This document is focused on the 5G NR indoor small cell solution, which is mainly used for vertical industries; the eMBB services are firstly considered, and then the URLLC services. Two use cases are mainly focused on, one industry 4.0; the other is smart education; others are also under consideration, such as transportation hubs, office buildings, etc.
The blueprint is expected to be deployed in indoor environments, offering data and voice services [services] in areas that may be already or not yet covered by LTE service (but covered with 2G /3G services, i.e., brownfield deployment). In such areas, high-density deployment of small base stations effectively expands network bandwidth to meet the network needs of enterprises, manufacturing industries, and individuals. One operator is the most the cases for deployment.
The targeted deployment scenario is thus a mono-operator deployment, based on a RAN software (virtualized/containerized open RAN software) installed in COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) products, in which the hardware could be deployed in a radio site or cloud site. Configuration, i.e., a set of products, validated based on this blueprint, shall be ready for field trial but may need to be fully integrated into the operator management system and similar operational aspects.
For deployment, DU and CU could be in different locations, or in the same location and the same box. CU and DU in the same box are considered in this document. UPF and MEC platforms can be deployed in edge, together with CU and DU platforms, to satisfy vertical industry requirements.
Please note that this blueprint will use two alternative architectures that would not impact the OpenRAN architecture itself, and they differ from using an AU (aggregation Unit) rather than not using it:
Focusing on the more detailed configuration for both options, this is the detailed architecture:
General and regional requirements, as well as the detailed test plan for this blueprint, can be found in TIP
OpenRAN Blueprint definition Macro/Outdoor deployment (scenario 3)
During the first half of 2023, and with the cooperation of Airtel India, TIP released a new blueprint for Macro/outdoor deployment, using Scenario 3 as defined by the MoU. This scenario supports O-RU and vDU on site, with centralized vCU; this is, a midhaul interface exists between the vDU and the vCU.
The blueprints are expected to be deployed in urban/suburban environments due to high transport requirements in case of a centralized vDU configuration offering data and voice services in areas that may be already covered by LTE/5G service (and also covered with 2G and/or 3G services, i.e., brownfield deployment). Such areas are typically medium/high-density populations where multiple operators can have passive/active sharing agreements and can be hosted by single-operator infrastructure or third-party infrastructure.
For this scenario, the main configuration to be considered is the 5G NSA, Option 3x with both 4G and 5G provided by the same ORAN vendor and interworking with 4G of legacy vendor.
The architecture is shown in the picture below:
General and regional requirements and the detailed test plan for this blueprint can be found in the TIP depository.
Open RAN has moved from concept to reality. Still, the question now is how can organizations like TIP and the broader industry collaborate effectively to expedite its deployment by operators worldwide. Embracing Open RAN presents a plethora of challenges, particularly in terms of business and operational transformation.
The upcoming Open RAN Summits at Fyuz offer a unique opportunity to reflect on the pivotal year that brought this groundbreaking technology to the forefront. Looking ahead to 2024, we will explore the necessary steps to maintain momentum and what TIP is doing in the OPen RAN G and its sub-groups. An increase in deployments doesn’t just measure success in this context; it also hinges on the introduction of innovative products and solutions that can facilitate continued Open RAN adoption by service providers across the globe. Join us as we delve into these crucial discussions and chart the course for Open RAN’s future. We have in-person and virtual tickets available here: https://www.fyuz.events/