The O-RAN ALLIANCE was held on June 29, 2022, as an open virtual event. The two 5-hour session brought:
Latest updates from the O-RAN ALLIANCE leadership;
Updates from the O-RAN ecosystem on RAN openness, intelligence, cloudification, and testing and integration; and
Live panel discussion, theme being, Accelerating industry adoption for large-scale commercialization.
23 new demos of O-RAN technology were held.
The O-RAN Alliance has formed a next-generation research group (the nGRG) that will “focus on the research of open and intelligent RAN [radio access network] principles in 6G and other future network standards,” announced Andre Fuetsch, the Alliance’s chairman and CTO of AT&T Services.
The nGRG, which aims to ensure that Open RAN technology not only supports 5G and 5G-Advanced but evolves in a way that will support 6G, is in the process of being formed. It will be headed up by two co-chairs from network operators and another two from the vendor community, and has five research streams to explore initially.
Fuetsch said more than 340 companies and institutions are now involved in the alliance’s work and that a set of 52 technical documents, of which 12 are new titles, are about to be released as part of the O-RAN release 2.0 specifications.
RIC and telco cloud functionalities are addressed in that dozen, while three of those new titles are “dealing with security of different parts of the O-RAN architecture. The O-RAN Alliance has always taken security very seriously,” stated Fuetsch, perhaps reacting to the oft-cited criticism that Open RAN architectures will be a security nightmare for operators.
“We have recently converted the security focus group into O-RAN’s 11th technical workgroup to allow even more intensive specification efforts in the field of security,” noted Fuetsch, who added that the alliance is working closely with “other industry bodies to avoid inconsistencies or duplicative work. The first O-RAN specification covering open fronthaul is in the process of being approved by ETSI as a publicly available specification,” he added.
And in an effort to boost the testing, checking and verification capabilities that accompany any new technology developments, the O-RAN Alliance is adding to the current quota of open testing and integration centres (OTICs). There are currently six OTICs in operation (four in Europe, two in Asia-Pacific), but another one has recently been approved, noted Alex Jinsung Choi, chief operating officer of the alliance and senior vice president of strategy and technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom.
“We have seen great interest from labs all around the world to be co-opted. Recently the O-RAN board approved the seventh OTICs,” added Choi. That lab is the Kyrio facility that is hosted by CableLabs in Louisville, Colorado, while another two (one on the east coast of the US and another in Japan) are on course to be approved by the end of 2022.
The OTICs are also at the heart of the O-RAN Alliance’s certification and badging programme, which will provide network operators with the assurance that technology products and applications are ready for deployment in an Open RAN-based network.
Choi said the Alliance has now launched that certification and badging programme: he explained that the O-RAN certificates state that the equipment or function tested conforms to O-RAN specifications, while the badging programme relates to interoperability and multi-vendor, end-to-end testing scenarios. The certificates and badges will be issued by the OTICs.
For details on companies that demonstrated newly added Intelligent RAN control demonstrations and newly added Open RAN demonstrations visit: https://assetsglobal.websitefiles.com/60b4ffd4ca081979751b5ed2/62a1b27653e6ae82f15e533d_O-RAN.2022/06/09.June%202022%20Industry%20SummitProgress%20of%20PlugFest%20Spring%202022-New%20Set%20of%20Demos.pdf