KT Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, INC., Fujitsu Limited, SOLiD, Inc., Keysight Technologies, and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) have successfully conducted an interoperability test using virtualized Open RAN at the 5G Testbed Center, operated by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Information Society Agency (NIA), which is responsible for expanding South Korea’s Open RAN ecosystem, in the city of Pangyo in June 2023.
Building on the successful results, the five companies and organizations participated in the “Global O-RAN PlugFest Spring 2023” event hosted by the O-RAN Alliance. O-RAN PlugFest is a global demonstration event where the openness and interoperability of base station equipment from different manufacturers are tested, and the test results are shared to expand the Open RAN ecosystem.
During the event, the five companies and organization collaborated to build a virtualized Open RAN base station with multi-vendors and presented various demonstration results aligned with the O-RAN Alliance specifications, such as tests for standard conformance, multi-vendor interoperability and end-to-end performance.
The demonstration featured the first virtualized 5G base station composed of multiple vendors in South Korea. The virtualized Distributed Unit (DU) comprised a general server equipped with a hardware accelerator from NVIDIA and Fujitsu software deployed on the virtualization platform from Wind River. The virtualization of wireless network equipment is considered a crucial technology for the future evolution of 6G networks.
The demonstration test was conducted in cooperation with global Open RAN technology companies on the Pangyo 5G Testbed Center. KT, the host of the event, was in charge of setting up the virtualized Open RAN base station and testing end-to-end performance. DOCOMO and Fujitsu were responsible for testing interoperability using virtualized Open RAN Central unit (CU) and DU equipment. SOLiD and ETRI handled testing interoperability and standard conformance using Open RAN Radio Unit (RU) equipment, respectively. Keysight was in charge of diagnosis monitoring and test automation solutions.
Prior to PlugFest, KT, DOCOMO, Fujitsu and SOLiD successfully conducted a multi-vendor interoperability test using virtualized Open RAN CU/DU and Open RAN RU. The virtualized Open RAN CU and DU were developed as part of the OREXTM*1 project promoted by DOCOMO and other partners including Fujitsu.
KT will actively contribute to expanding the domestic Open RAN ecosystem by participating in the Open RAN Industry Alliance (ORIA*2), which is public-private cooperative organization in South Korea.
Going forward, KT, DOCOMO, Fujitsu and SOLiD plan to expand their collaboration towards the 5G Open RAN ecosystem to promote the introduction of a virtualized Open RAN and RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) to optimize management of radio resources and automated operations.