Northeastern University Partners with AT&T, Verizon to Drive Open Networks

Northeastern University

The Open6G Open Testing and Integration Center (OTIC) at the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things (WIoT) at Northeastern University will partner with AT&T and Verizon as a neutral testing facility in the Acceleration of Compatibility and Commercialization for Open RAN Deployments Consortium (ACCoRD) framework.

ACCoRD has been selected to receive $42.3M in funding from the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) through the Public Wireless Innovation Fund.

“We are happy to work with leading operators and vendors to advance the Open RAN ecosystem,” says Tommaso Melodia, Director of WIoT at Northeastern University. “In collaboration with our partners, we lead a unique ecosystem for innovation and testing that supports industry, the federal government, and academia toward deploying open, programmable, and AI-native networks.”

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The Northeastern University Open 6G OTIC is a one-stop shop for Open RAN innovation. It serves as a hub for the development and testing of next-generation wireless networks utilizing Open RAN technology and Artificial Intelligence.

Located at Northeastern University in the Boston and Burlington, MA campuses, the OTIC offers a comprehensive range of testing services and facilitates compliance, interoperability, performance, and functional testing for Open RAN commercial products and experimental solutions.

These services are deployed and accessible on state-of-the-art Open RAN facilities, including private 5G RANs with programmable protocol stacks as well as emulated networks, such as Colosseum – the Open RAN Digital Twin and the world’s largest wireless network emulator. The OTIC also hosts RAN and RIC emulators. The emphasis is on ensuring robust performance and seamless integration across platforms, ultimately driving innovation and cooperation.

The Open 6G OTIC has world class capabilities that include end-to-end full stack testing, leveraging both emulated and real-world environments to thoroughly evaluate and validate Open RAN solutions across diverse scenarios; Digital Twinning technology for virtualized testing, accurately replicating real-world conditions; Network Energy efficiency evaluation in Open RAN deployments; and providing an infrastructure for interoperability and conformance testing of disaggregated base stations and RAN Intelligent Controllers (RICs) across different RAN implementations. The Northeastern University OTIC can also test massive Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) radios, key to improving the spectral efficiency of Open RAN.