IP Infusion’s Fronthaul Switch Proven at O-RAN PlugFest Spring 2022

3rd Aug 2022
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IP Infusion, a leading disaggregated network solutions provider, successfully validated its fronthaul network capabilities using its OcNOS®-based Fronthaul Switch solution at the industry’s premiere testing grounds for radio access networks (RAN) — O-RAN Global PlugFest Spring 2022.
 
It’s a significant demonstration since RAN makes up the backbone of any mobile network. With many operators and vendors working in this space, it’s critical to have open standards that facilitate interoperability across providers.
 

O-RAN Alliance and Global PlugFest Explained

 
The O-RAN Alliance is a worldwide technical organization of 340-plus mobile businesses and academic institutions dedicated to this important goal. IP Infusion is an active member of the O-RAN Alliance working to make all mobile networks virtualized, intelligent, and fully interoperable. The alliance enables ecosystem members to deliver large-scale innovation in 5G network technologies, software-defined networks, and beyond at an accelerated rate of innovation.
 
To showcase this strength and innovation of such an ecosystem, O-RAN hosts Global PlugFest events where members join together at multiple sites worldwide to test and demonstrate the capabilities of their network equipment that support O-RAN specifications. These unique events allow vendors from around the world to verify on-site the integration of their technical components with those from other organizations. The Spring 2022 event spanned three continents and included 50 companies and institutions.
 
O-RAN Alliance’s stringent specifications for open software RAN architecture are defining the future network. This vigorous validation and testing in a multi-vendor environment confirmed that IP Infusion’s field-tested Fronthaul Switch helps operators save on costs as external timing equipment is not needed.” — Atsushi Ogata, president and CEO of IP Infusion

Fronthaul Network a Key Focus of Global PlugFest Spring 2022

The fronthaul network was a key focus area of PlugFest Spring 2022. IP Infusion showed the maturity and stability of its Fronthaul Switch in multi-vendor demonstrations. Fronthaul use cases were successfully validated at two event locations — the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab in New Hampshire and the Auray OTIC and Security Lab in Taiwan. Each test successfully met PlugFest testing objectives for O-RAN fronthaul working groups 4 and 9.
 
In these rigorous validation tests, IP Infusion’s Fronthaul Switch provided the timing and synchronization capabilities as well as the transport services for the fronthaul network. It implements O-RAN specifications, so it was easily interoperable with other O-RAN components participating in the test. The end-to-end transport and latency of the switch were verified within the heterogenous test environment.
 
Illustration of IP Infusion's O-RAN Spring PlugFest 2022 Fronthaul Switch Topology
 

Providing Integrated, High-Accuracy Timing & Synchronization, Transport Services for Fronthaul Network

 
IP Infusion’s fronthaul switch provided high-accuracy timing and synchronization capabilities. This is critical for the fronthaul network. The traditional configuration requires one node to handle switching and dedicated hardware equipment to provide Grandmaster Clock reference. However, IP Infusion demonstrated in independent tests at both the Taiwan and New Hampshire sites that external timing equipment is not needed with their solution.
 
Specifically, the fronthaul switch as the Grand Master clock received the clock reference via GPS and provided the timing information using Precision Time Protocol (PTP/ IEEE 1588v2) and SyncE to multiple Open Radio Units (RU) and Open Distributed Units (DU). The vigorous validation and testing at the event confirmed that IP Infusion’s solution significantly reduces costs for network operators because they no longer require the additional timing hardware in the Fronthaul.
 
For RAN vendors, this provides a competitive advantage over legacy solutions as the elimination of additional timing equipment delivers cost benefits for O-RAN-based fronthaul deployments.
 

Demonstrating a Unique Grandmaster Clock Capability

Additional fronthaul tests were conducted for the synchronization plane (S-plane) as part of the O-RAN Working Group 9 specification. IP Infusion successfully demonstrated both the grandmaster clock and boundary clock functionalities at the events.
 
During this testing, IP Infusion demonstrated a unique solution. On one side of the Fronthaul, IP Infusion provided clock reference over ethernet (PTP and SyncE) to the RUs. On the other side, clock reference was provided to the DUs using 1PPS (pulse per second) and 10 MHz interfaces.
 

Delivering High-Performance Transport Services

IP Infusion’s Fronthaul Switch provided high-performance transport services to the Fronthaul network. L2VPN-EVPN services were used for Control and User plane data. L3VPN services provided the transport for Management Plane while Segment Routing was used for background traffic in the network.
 
O-RAN Global PlugFest Spring 2022 was a great success, with IP Infusion passing the tests with flying colors, validating its Fronthaul Switch solution, and earning the O-RAN PlugFest Recognition Medal. It was IP Infusion’s second time participating in a PlugFest, after making its debut at PlugFest 2021.
 
ORAN PlugFest Spring 2022 Award
 
“O-RAN Alliance’s stringent specifications for open software RAN architecture are defining the future network,” says Atsushi Ogata, president and CEO of IP Infusion. “This vigorous validation and testing in a multi-vendor environment confirmed that IP Infusion’s field-tested Fronthaul Switch helps operators save on costs as external timing equipment is not needed. We strongly advocate for a telecom industry that is a collaborative, virtualized RAN ecosystem of open, multi-vendor, autonomous networks focused on innovation and agility.”
 

Partner With IP Infusion for Future-Proof Disaggregated Network Solutions

 
IP Infusion has a proven 20-year track record delivering open network software and solutions for carriers, service providers, and data center operators. IP Infusion’s disaggregated network solutions enable customers to reduce costs, increase flexibility, and deploy new services quickly. Its future-proof solutions include the OcNOS® and ZebOS® network operating systems, and the company is an integrator and customer service provider for the DANOS-Vyatta edition and the Commercial SONiC Distribution.
 
Contact us today at ipinfusion.com to learn more about IP Infusion’s disaggregated network solutions.