Viavi Solutions has announced that it has signed a partnership agreement with VMware to drive standardised frameworks and metrics for radio access network (RAN) Intelligent Controller (RIC) testing. This testbed as a service will enable mobile operators to introduce programmability to the RAN and help accelerate the adoption of open RAN.
The RIC is a cloud-native central component of an open and virtualised RAN network, enabling the optimisation of RAN resources through analytic processing and adaptation recommendations. The RIC takes advantage of native and third-party xApps and rApps – microservice-based applications operating in near-real time (near-RT) and non-real-time (non-RT), respectively – to enable operators to automate and optimise RAN operations at scale to reduce the operator’s total cost of ownership, and to introduce innovative new services.
VMware is focused on attracting and collaborating with a vibrant ecosystem of partners to help its operator customers adopt open RAN with complete confidence. Viavi has the most comprehensive portfolio of open RAN test solutions in the industry and plays a leading role in defining test processes in the O-RAN Alliance and Telecom Infra Project (TIP).
The two companies will work together to demonstrate compliance with RIC-related requirements, assisting communication service providers (CSPs) in validating the solution in the lab and scaling the solution to production. The industry-leading Viavi TeraVM RIC Test and the VMware RIC will form a joint testbed as a service for testing, profiling, and validating third-party xApps and rApps. In addition to the framework, the two companies will work together to drive industry consensus around testing methodology and performance metrics. By having pre-built test cases and a standardized test method for the RIC and xApp/rApp, operators can reduce the time it takes to validate the solution in their lab, meaning they can move to a production environment faster.
Commenting on the development, Ian Langley, senior vice president and general manager, Wireless Business, Viavi, said, “Open RAN, by definition, depends on strong collaboration to drive innovation, and that’s a perfect way to think about this partnership between leaders in their respective fields. The RIC represents a huge opportunity to the industry: applying AI/ML techniques allows operators to simplify the management of complex 5G configurations and dynamically optimise the network to cater for new use cases, energy efficiency, and changing traffic patterns.”
Meanwhile, Lakshmi Mandyam, vice president, Service Provider Product Management and Partner Ecosystem, VMware, said, “We’re excited to work with Viavi on helping move the industry forward to accelerate the adoption of open RAN. Our companies share a vision of what it will take to address the challenges hindering adoption by simplifying the path for CSPs to test, profile, and certify third-party xApps and rApps through a common framework. Viavi’s leadership in open RAN testing and VMware’s leadership in RIC make this an ideal collaboration.”