VIAVI Solutions has announced a collaboration with technology supplier Picocom to provide complete test solutions for validation of Open RAN base station components, including chips, physical layers and protocol stack software, for small cell 5G networks compliant with O-RAN standards.

5G network deployments are now well underway worldwide. Yet, communications service providers (CSPs) are challenged to effectively meet the complex and diversified needs of many different industry use cases with macro cell sites. As an Open RAN baseband semiconductor and software specialist, Picocom is actively involved with the O-RAN ALLIANCE and Small Cell Forum (SCF) to advance Open RAN standards for intelligent, manageable and controllable small cell base stations, meeting the differentiated needs of various markets.

The VIAVI TM500 network tester, which is in use with almost every base station manufacturer worldwide, is capable of measuring the complete performance of the 5G network over multiple interfaces, including Open Fronthaul and RF through to the packet core. Picocom selected the TM500 for use in the lab to create a sophisticated and precise test environment, including comprehensive feature interactions, simulated RF and accurate replications of real-world user behaviour profiles, to ensure the performance of small cell base stations in O-RAN networks.

Commenting on the development, Jonus Chen, Vice President, Greater China, VIAVI, said, “As vendors across the industry develop open, cloud-native and disaggregated architectures, testing against user expectations of service quality is critical in order to accelerate adoption at scale”. “Industry-leading 5G network testing solutions from VIAVI, combined with Picocom’s expertise in small cell base station components and software, empowers the stringent end-to-end interoperability testing and performance validation that is necessary to advance Open RAN deployments”, he added,

Meanwhile, Wu Jianwei, founding team member and director of system testing at Picocom, said, “The VIAVI TM500 is the ideal addition to the Picocom lab, enabling us to validate our forthcoming PC802 baseband system on a chip (SoC) in a complete 5G Open RAN system. VIAVI is the leader in the base station protocol stack and performance testing – we are delighted to add such an excellent partner to our roster”. “VIAVI products deliver on the key performance criteria we need, including strict checks against the consistency of the 3GPP specifications, an advanced product roadmap, and a stable end-to-end performance test. Our in-depth collaboration will provide the market with high-quality and stable small cell networks, and help usher in 5G industry applications.”