Vodafone and Keysight Technologies today published a comprehensive handbook – see below – to aid vendors when they are testing new Open Radio Access Network (RAN) software and hardware.
The handbook is designed to make it easier for network operators and vendors of all sizes to navigate a path through the testing maze with the goal of developing a product for commercial deployment. It lists the testing requirements for any Open RAN piece of software or hardware that a vendor brings to Vodafone’s test labs.
Vodafone is keen to expand the existing pool of network vendors by moving away from a largely single-supplier approach to one that mixes and matches equipment using Open RAN from an array of providers. Greater vendor diversity will result in more competition, which will ultimately lower the cost of running networks and improve network innovation for customers.
To help facilitate this, the handbook draws on the collective knowledge of Vodafone and Keysight, gathered from its recent commercial Open RAN network deployment in the UK. It encompasses relevant industry standards and reflects real-world operating conditions. Effective automation provides many benefits such as being able to scale testing expertise and reduce development time. Vodafone aims to improve this development time by 60% for some specifications, among other things.
The handbook complements the work Vodafone is undertaking with NTT DOCOMO. Together, they issued a White Paper early this year offering advice to the wider operator and vendor community when testing the integration of key Open RAN software and hardware building blocks.
By publishing this handbook, Vodafone and Keysight aim to open the door to collaboration with many more vendors to help grow the Open RAN ecosystem.