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O-RAN Plugfest 2021: Making 5G Adoption Price-Efficient for Brownfield Suppliers

5G adoption is inflicting cellular networks to develop at unprecedented charges. This brings with it vital new enterprise alternatives however may enhance the complexity and value of deployment and operations. An clever, programmable community allows communication service suppliers to reap the benefits of the expansion that 5G provides whereas streamlining their operations to maximise return on funding.

Cisco is addressing these challenges head-on with our industry-leading NCS 500 portfolio. New enhancements allow simultaneous help of each conventional architectures RAN and open, virtualized RAN, with full interoperability.

Challenges for Brownfield Operators

Utilizing an open structure supplies many price advantages to service suppliers, leveraging a Business Off-the-Shelf (COTS) based mostly infrastructure, automation options, and an open ecosystem to advertise a aggressive market.

Whereas it’s comparatively straightforward for greenfield service suppliers to undertake 5G open RAN interfaces and architectures, this can be very troublesome for brownfield operators who’ve already extensively deployed 4G.

One of many essential challenges for brownfield operators is the shortage of interoperability obtainable when utilizing legacy RAN interfaces with an open RAN answer. Changing all current 4G CPRI radios within the community with eCPRI based mostly radios is just not possible, which makes adoption of an open RAN and DU virtualization very troublesome.

When 4G and 5G are being deployed in the identical cell website however working on two totally different architectures (proprietary 4G eNB and virtualized open 5G DU), it’s cost-prohibitive for the supplier.

Brownfield Interoperability

Cisco has been working with varied Normal Improvement Organizations (SDO) to outline an open and absolutely interoperable 5G RAN structure.

By way of collaboration, we have been capable of create an answer that would seamlessly combine legacy radios on Cisco’s Converged SDN Transport structure, whereas additionally standardizing the specs to make it absolutely interoperable.

As a contribution to the O-RAN ALLIANCE, we drove the creation of an open Fronthaul gateway specification (O-RAN.WG7.FHGW-HRD.0-v02.00) to handle deployment challenges for brownfield suppliers. This specification permits legacy CPRI based mostly radios to speak with open RAN 7.2x eCPRI based mostly DU.

Cisco NCS 540 Fronthaul Routers, a key aspect to the Converged SDN Transport structure, present an open and programmable answer to host RAN community features like Fronthaul Gateway (FHGW) and RAN useful resource configuration.

O-RAN PlugFest in India

We have been capable of display this profitable integration in the course of the O-RAN World PlugFest 2021 hosted by Bharti Airtel in India. By way of our multivendor demo, Cisco NCS 540 platform hosted the FHGW community perform offered by VVDN applied sciences and verified the answer utilizing Keysight Open RAN Studio and Sign Analyzer.

Fig: O-RAN PlugFest demo setup at Bharti Airtel

Cisco’s answer method is vendor agnostic, serving to service suppliers to consolidate features, optimize community stock, and scale back the price of deployment.

FHGW permits seamless integration of legacy radios to ORAN 7.2x DU enabling operators to undertake ORAN structure for current 4G networks. Though the FHGW is deployed on the cell website, it will possibly present roughly 9 occasions the optimization to move bandwidth in a centralized RAN structure.

Open {hardware} and API definition helps overcome proprietary dependencies of RAN features and permits seamless integration in a multi-vendor surroundings.

A programmable platform promotes innovation and protects funding. The identical platform will be programmed to perform as a Fronthaul MUX / De-MUX for shared cell deployment.

Joint European O-RAN and TIP PlugFest

Cisco additionally participated within the O-RAN European PlugFest 2021 hosted by TIM OTIC laboratory in Torino, Italy. We have been challenged to construct two end-to-end, interoperability options leveraging multi-vendor O-DU / O-CU radio software program parts and O-RU parts for each 4G (LTE B7) and 5G (n3, n78).

In each instances, the NCS 540 Sequence Router was used to supply packet-based fronthaul to attach O-RU to O-DU and to distribute timing and synchronization taken from the TIM community to O-RU utilizing PTP and SyncE protocols in keeping with the O-RAN LLS-C3 mannequin.

We efficiently demonstrated compliance to O-RAN transport traits in multivendor environments together with time synchronization, packet fronthaul, latency and jitter, telemetry, and packet-based fronthaul community automation.

Powering Open, Virtualized RAN in Brownfield Deployments In the present day

As service suppliers proceed to deploy 5G, the advantages of adopting a virtualized RAN have gotten more and more evident. By offering safe and zero-touch infrastructure over a resilient transport structure, we will simplify the deployment of virtualized DU servers at cell websites.

Virtualized infrastructure requires the next interfaces for administration and zero-touch operations:

  1. Out of Band (OOB) interface for server administration and infrastructure onboarding
  2. The administration interface for server, radio, and digital DU OAM
  3. Administration interfaces for Kubernetes or digital machine infrastructure and container administration.

Safe infrastructure utilizing well-defined high quality of service (QoS) is essential to making sure site visitors safety and traceability in a multivendor surroundings. Cisco NCS 540 Sequence Routers are based mostly on confirmed {hardware} and software program, which is important to supply a safe surroundings for cell website virtualization.

A mature QoS structure supplies site visitors separation and outlined service safety. Safe and encrypted algorithms help SSH, AAA, DHCP, ZTP, SNMP, IPv4/IPv6, MACsec, IPsec, gRPC, MPP, and wealthy entry management record options.

Cisco safe zero-touch provisioning allows a safe automation framework not just for the router but in addition for virtualized DU and open Radio deployment on the cell website.

Programmability and Automation

Cisco provides a versatile and programmable structure that service suppliers can start to reap the benefits of as we speak. With wealthy streaming telemetry help, networks will be monitored with streamed configuration and operational telemetry information on a centralized information virtualization device. The platform supplies intensive help for YANG and IETF Fashions, and OpenConfig.

With open administration interfaces and APIs, we will allow end-to-end community administration features by means of the operational lifecycle of the brownfield cell website. Cisco provides off-the-shelf and customised Cisco Community Providers Orchestrator (NSO) perform packs to automate the provisioning of every cellular community area together with radio, virtualized features, and transport.

Dedicated to Continued Innovation

Cisco continues to give attention to technological enhancements that can assist brownfield service suppliers scale back deployment prices. By offering a transport infrastructure that’s open, programmable, safe, and verified towards requirements, we’re empowering suppliers to seamlessly undertake virtualization and open, disaggregated RAN options in multivendor environments.



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