Viavi looks to O-RAN validation with updated test suite

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Viavi and Rohde & Schwarz plan to jointly showcase validation of open fronthaul performance with the O-RAN Alliance at MWC Shanghai later this month. (Getty Images)

Viavi’s introduced an updated test suite for 2021 to validate network products in compliance with O-RAN Alliance specifications.

New O-RAN network environments bring in components from multiple vendors, and Viavi noted that it falls on operators to ensure conformance, interoperability, and performance.

The network testing and monitoring provider made updates to address needs as O-RAN adoption scales up. Viavi said the test suite has been enhanced with critical use cases and learnings from work with customers on open RAN and from 2020 plugfest learnings.

Specifically, the updates include: O-RAN Subsystem and End-to-End Testing, to prove O-RU to network operators, validate performance and interoperability of open fronthaul in the lab and field, and the O-DU in a multi-vendor-O-RU environment, among others.

Other updates involve transport network testing to verify 4G and 5G fronthaul transport and synchronization networks; and network assurance for operations, troubleshooting and optimization.

Viavi touts its O-RAN test suite for the “best-of-breed” approach. To demo this, Viavi alongside Rohde & Schwarz plan to jointly showcase validation of open fronthaul performance with the O-RAN Alliance at MWC Shanghai taking place later this month.

The Rhode & Schwarz vector signal generator and signal and spectrum analyzer hardware will be used to perform RF signal generation and capture, along with VSE Software for signal analysis. Viavi said its O-RU Test Manager simplifies test case workflow for the end user by providing a single point of test control.

“The promise of O-RAN extends beyond the many benefits of an open ecosystem to include a solid foundation for virtualized network elements, enabling increased speed and scalability to capture the burgeoning 5G market,” said Sameh Yamany, chief technology officer, Viavi, in a statement. “Yet the complexity of multi-vendor O-RAN architecture presents significant challenges for successful network development, deployment and operation, requiring thorough validation, integration and troubleshooting with a complete set of advanced test solutions.”

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Viavi helps validate network products for operators and Tier 1 network equipment makers, with experience supporting more than 200 service providers and “virtually every network equipment manufacturer worldwide.” It’s also involved in developing O-RAN specifications, including editor of interoperability test specifications in open fronthaul and open interfaces working groups. And Viavi co-chairs multiple working groups at the O-RAN Alliance.

In January Viavi disclosed plans to work with open RAN vendor Mavenir to test cloud-native radio access network (RAN) solutions in the U.S. using the network assurance vendor’s lab test platform. The platform can validate network performance from an end user experience across multiple cells and different radio access technologies.

Earlier this month Viavi announced plans to move its headquarters to a new facility in Chandler, Arizona, where it’s also establishing a new manufacturing plant for its Optical Security and Performance Products segment. At least 100 employees are expected to work at the new HQ by 2022.