Nokia has announced the opening of its first Open RAN (O-RAN) Collaboration and Testing Center at its offices in Dallas, Texas. The center is designed to support the development of partnerships among O-RAN vendors that will help with the verification, introduction and launch of O-RAN compliant solutions to market.
Open radio access networks, or O-RAN, is an emerging form of virtualized network architecture, which is built on general-purpose, commercial off-the-shelf hardware. This disaggregated approach enables communications companies to use a combination of different hardware and software, which can be simply integrated and upgraded via software; there is no vendor lock-in. The result is cheaper equipment that can be scaled, upgraded or changed much more easily.
“Our new O-RAN Collaboration and Testing Center highlights our continued commitment towards O-RAN and the development of new solutions,” said Pasi Toivanen, head of edge cloud at Nokia. “At our Dallas offices we have created a collaborative and secure working environment that offers best-in-class facilities to help our partners achieve their goal.”
Continued commitment to O-RAN
At the new Testing Center vendors will be able to execute Interoperability Tests (IOT) and end-to-end testing for O-RU/O-DU Open Fronthaul, as well as xAPP testing for Nokia’s near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC).
The project is the latest in Nokia’s continued commitment to O-RAN, vRAN and Edge Cloud innovation, and Nokia has said that it plans to open similar facilities at its other global offices.
The Center will also provide companies and organisations with a venue where they can collaborate, as well as validate different areas such as control, user management, and synchronization plane compliance (with O-RAN Alliance specifications). The short-term focus is on Open Fronthaul and near-real-time RIC expanding to other O-RAN interfaces in the near future.
The Testing Center, according to Nokia, “also places particular emphasis on the protection of participants’ intellectual property and confidential material.” This is vital for companies working with sensitive data and IP, and Nokia hopes to reassure participants that it will provide work-area isolation of vendor personnel, equipment and data, through access controls, separate secure work areas, and network segregation.