With the goal to foster OpenRAN orchestration and management automation (ROMA) product & solution maturity, a functional testbed, consisting of Foxconn’s RU, Capgemini’s CU/DU, and 5GC (both running on Dell servers), has been set up in the TIP Community Lab in Meta’s Menlo Park Campus. The OpenRAN orchestration product from Aarna Networks was tested against TIP OpenRAN ROMA 2.0 requirements on this testbed, based on a test plan developed by ROMA Test Plan Work Group led by VIAVI Solutions with input from other partners. The project met its goal to provide feedback to further improve the test suite and be used to enhance the technical requirements, share the test plans and results with broad ecosystem partners and make them easily accessible to Service Providers, System Integrators and Equipment Vendors.

Project Background and Goals:

According to analyst Appledore, “operators now place less emphasis on seeing a 30-40% reduction in RAN capex than on the benefits of greater operational agility, faster speed in turning up new services, and opportunities to experiment.” All these will be enabled by automation and orchestration. TIP OpenRAN Orchestration and Management Automation (ROMA) subgroup aims at building ecosystem momentum to develop products and solutions by developing use cases, identifying prioritized deployment scenarios, defining MVP requirements, and last but not the least by organizing lab testing to support operators to get deeper understanding of what can be achieved and facilitate vendors in maturing their products and solutions. With this background, ROMA lab testing in TIP CL MPK was launched in July 2022.

The goal was to set up an end-to-end testbed on which ROMA products and solutions can be tested and validated for their maturity and support of ROMA requirements. The testbed consists of containerized CU and DU as well as 5GC from Capgemini, a Foxconn RU and a few Oneplus smartphone UEs. As part of the project, Aarna Networks’ service management and orchestration (SMO) product was tested and validated. Test report and demo recordings are available on TIP ROMA confluence site (access limited to TIP OpenRAN PG ROMA subgroup members only).

The project also achieved the goal to support the ROMA subgroup to develop test plans including

  1. A high level test plan developed by ROMA Test Plan Development Work Group led by VIAVI Solutions, in order to show ROMA features and functions in an e2e set-up. This test plan was used in MPK Lab. It was also used at the O-RAN ALLIANCE PlugFest, where the Capgemini -O-DU and O-CU connected to Aarna Networks AMCOP O-RAN Service Management and Orchestration (SMO) via O1, with e2e testing performed by the VIAVI TM500 UE Emulator and TeraVM Core Emulator.
  2. A vendor agnostic detailed test plan with test cases showing how each ROMA requirement is supported;
  3. A vendor specific test plan (procedure) showing how test cases in the vendor-agnostic detailed test plan are executed step-by-step when test & validate vendor ROMA products. The Capgemini/Aarna Networks Test Plan was deployed in 3 Releases. The latest Test Plan document for Rel 1.3.1 can be found here.

ROMA co-lead, Beatriz Gonzalez Rodriuez of Telefonica “By doing ROMA lab testing, we see how service management and orchestration works in a real OpenRAN environment. This will help us in defining use cases and refine ROMA requirements”.

Roman Alfredo Guevara, ROMA co-lead from Vodafone, “Automation is key for OpenRAN success. Learning and deliverables from the project will be useful reference and input for us when planning next step actions to mature the OpenRAN ecosystem”.

Amar Kapadia, co-Founder and CEO, Aarna Networks, “TIP ROMA compliance and interoperability testing is critical for aggregating network operator requirements. Since the SMO is a driving factor in many of the TIP ROMA test cases, we’re thrilled to work as part of the subgroup to validate and showcase test case results to the ecosystem.”

“TIP ROMA has taken lead to define the test plan and scenarios to test and validate open architecture and accelerate industry alignment towards open interfaces specifically towards Cloud Infra / Automation and FCAPS/O1 support in 5G CU/DU Open RAN based networks” said Ravikanth Pasumarthy, Vice President – Technology, Capgemini Engineering. “Capgemini Engineering along with partners has been part of this initiative to validate the test plans in an e2e test environment and demonstrate the same with the ROMA community. Capgemini Engineering is proponent of developing 5G RAN based on Open interfaces and is keen to work with ROMA in next phases of the program also”

“The successful completion of this testing was a milestone for ROMA as well as for the renewed alignment committed by TIP and O-RAN ALLIANCE at FYUZ 2022”. commented Sameh Yamany, Chief Technology Officer, VIAVI Solutions. “The importance of the SMO framework and the models to validate and bring it to maturity should not be underestimated. VIAVI stands ready to contribute test methodologies, plans and solutions for the continuous advancement of the OpenRAN ecosystem.”

Next steps:

Operator partners are encouraged to use the project deliverables such as test plans, test reports and lessons learned as references when planning their evaluation of OpenRAN orchestration maturity. Together with vendor partners, the ROMA subgroup will also explore how to further test and validate ROMA products and extend the testbed by integrating the CD/CT workflow engine.