Altiostar, NEC Demo O-RAN Open Fronthaul Hosted by Airtel

Altiostar and NEC Corporation have participated in the
first plugfest event in the India region for the O-RAN ALLIANCE. Hosted by Bharti Airtel (Airtel), India’s largest integrated telecommunications services provider, the goal of the O-RAN Plugfest was to test and demonstrate the growing maturity of the O-RAN ecosystem.

Airtel, Altiostar and NEC teamed up for this project to demonstrate
the world’s first interoperability testing and integration of massive
MIMO radio units (O-RU) and virtualized distributed units (O-DU)
running on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. The project
featured a commercial end-to-end Open Fronthaul interface based on O-RAN specifications. This demonstration was comprised of control, user, synchronization and management plane protocols, including 3GPP RCT and performance cases.

The purpose and scope of this demonstration was to show O-RAN option 7.2x split integration between a virtualized O-DU from Altiostar and an NR O-RU (i.e. 5G radio unit) from NEC. The demonstration also showed how this integrated setup can be used in an end-to-end EN-DC network setup (i.e. 5G non standalone architecture).

Going forward, Altiostar and NEC will continue to jointly drive new
levels of openness in radio access networks (RAN) and across next-
generation 5G networks.

“Today’s 4G and 5G radio access networks are undergoing a profound transformation, as the wireless industry is shifting to an open and cloud-native architecture that is being driven by vendors such as Altiostar and NEC, who are at the forefront of providing software and radio solutions based on O-RAN standards,” said Anil Sawkar, Vice President of Engineering and Operations at Altiostar. “Dozens of greenfield and brownfield wireless operators worldwide are trialling and deploying O-RAN networks as they realize the benefits of this new approach, including reduced costs, increased automation, and faster time to market with services.”

“Providing open innovations that conform to industry standards in the radio access network is critical to accelerating our customers’
journeys towards Open RAN deployment and provisioning of more
flexible and efficient networks that meet the requirements of cutting
edge 5G use cases,” said Kazuhiko Harasaki, Deputy General Manager, Service Provider Solutions Division, NEC Corporation. “It is NEC’s honour to contribute to interoperability verification initiatives in India towards Open RAN innovation.”

Airtel has been a member of the O-RAN ALLIANCE since its inception in 2018. Airtel was the first operator in India to commercially deploy
a virtual RAN solution based on a disaggregated and open architecture defined by O-RAN. “We are delighted to partner with the global O-RAN community. Our engagement with Altiostar and NEC for demonstrating O- RAN O-DU and O-RU, 5G RCT and E2E performance is another step forward towards building 5G systems with open network architecture,” said Randeep Sekhon, CTO at Bharti Airtel.