CommScope, AT&T to demo O-RAN, ONAP at digital forum

CommScope is putting on a Digital Forum next week in lieu of what it would have shown at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Among its demonstrations, it will show how it is enabling the management of small cells under the Linux Foundation’s Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). CommScope has developed this in partnership with AT&T and others in the industry.

The ONAP demonstration will show how the partners are simplifying small cell on-boarding, provisioning, orchestration and management for operators.

CommScope CTO Morgan Kurk said the demonstration will use common-off-the-shelf servers, running the ONAP software. “The part not virtualized will be the remote radio head,” said Kurk.

The demonstration will also use O-RAN interfaces. With these open source interfaces, operators can potentially swap out CommScope’s radio head with someone else’s radio head. Kurk said, “O-RAN allows operators to use best in breed all over the place. If some small company has software to do network slicing, with O-RAN you could place that in the right place.” At next week’s CommScope Digital Forum, “We’ll be displaying a completely compliant O-RAN solution,” said Kurk. The demo will include participation from two of CommScope’s customers, and is being sponsored by AT&T.**

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As part of its live event, CommScope will showcase its new connectivity ecosystem and expanded capabilities following its acquisition of Arris in 2019.

CommScope purchased Arris last year for about $7.4 billion. And Arris had previously acquired Wi-Fi access point supplier Ruckus Wireless from Broadcom in 2017.

Kurk said the Arris/Ruckus acquisition allows CommScope to offer a complete solution in the wireless space. “Now, we have the licensed space covered with our OneCell small cell, DAS products and cabling.” OneCell is an indoor small cell that Kurk says, “solves the indoor coverage problem differently than other small cells…. It’s evolving to be a 5G indoor small cell,” and he says it solves for interference problems.

In addition he said, “By buying Arris, we ended up with a CBRS radio that complements our OneCell. Now, for any sort of structure, whether for private LTE or private Wi-Fi, we can provide an end-to-end solution entirely in-house.”


Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that Google, CommScope, Federated Wireless and Sony had been certified to operate as Spectrum Access System (SAS) administrators in the 3.5 GHz band, paving the way for full commercial operations in the Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) band.

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CommScope and the others make money just by being SAS administrators, managing the deployment of small cells on the spectrum. But CommScope, like the others, plans to launch commercial products that use the CBRS band. “We have launched products – a complete LTE private network solution, an EPC access point, and have been doing trial systems and expect, once licenses are auctioned off, to start doing this for true,” said Kurk.

**Editor's Note: After this story was published, CommScope reached out saying it had mixed up a couple of demonstrations it was planning to show at MWC Barcelona. The demonstration at its Digital Forum event will focus on ONAP and O-RAN, using CommScope's OneCell system.