The centre is designed to support the development of partnerships among O-RAN vendors that will help with the verification, introduction, and launch of O-RAN compliant solutions to market.
Nokia say that vendors will be able to execute Interoperability Tests (IOT) and end-to-end testing for O-RU/O-DU Open Fronthaul as well as xAPP testing for Nokia’s near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). The project is the latest in what they say is their continued commitment to O-RAN, vRAN, and Edge Cloud innovation. Nokia said they plan to open similar facilities at other global offices around the world in the future.
The Nokia say their O-RAN Collaboration and Testing Center provides a collaborative, open, and impartial working environment to perform tests with the aim of launching O-RAN compliant solutions. The Center provides a venue to collaborate as well as validate different areas such as control, user, management, and synchronisation plane compliance with O-RAN Alliance specifications.
They state that the short-term focus is on Open Fronthaul and near-real-time RIC expanding to other O-RAN interfaces in the near future.
The Nokia O-RAN Collaboration and Testing Center is also designed to execute IOT and end-to-end testing for O-RU/O-DU Open Fronthaul and xAPP testing for the near-real-time RIC. They have built it with a variety of support nodes and test tools to ensure a collaborative, open, and confidential test environment.
The centre also places particular emphasis on the protection of participants’ intellectual property and confidential material. It provides work area isolation of vendor personnel, equipment, and data through access controls, separate secure work areas, and network segregation.
Nokia head of edge cloud Pasi Toivanen commented, “Our new O-RAN Collaboration and Testing Center highlights our continued commitment towards O-RAN and the development of new solutions. At our Dallas offices, we have created a collaborative and secure working environment that offers best-in-class facilities to help our partners achieve their goal.”
In my experience large vendors normally raise barriers to entry within their customers networks. It is good to see that Nokia is embracing O-RAN which has the potential to lower the cost for operators and allow them to choose better solutions based on different environmental needs. Nokia have two significant 5G customers in Australia, Optus and Vodafone/TPG, so it will be interesting to see if a testing centre is opened here. Information on Nokia's Open RAN solutions are located here.