As 5G has now been officially launched in the nation and all the telcos are racing to make their 5G services available throughout the country at the earliest , Monojit Samaddar, Country Director, VIAVI Solutions, India, company that manufactures testing and monitoring equipment for networks shared his valuable insights with V&D around 5G ecosystem in India and VIAVI's role in enabling the Open RAN Ecosystem.
Here are a few excerpts from the interaction:
- As 5G advances, the industry is experiencing the Open RAN concept of flexible interoperability. How is VIAVI enabling the Open RAN Ecosystem?
Monojit Samaddar: The enticing Open RAN concept of flexible interoperability brings challenges for test and integration. To fulfill the Open RAN promise of reduced Opex and total cost of ownership (TCO), operators must take responsibility for multi-vendor, disaggregated elements and make sure they perform together to maintain QoE standards.
VIAVI has established a multi-faceted commitment to the success of Open RAN development and deployment. VIAVI has embraced the challenges of MV-IOT by supporting and collaborating with partners on the development of O-RAN compliant test tools extending from the lab to the field. This includes component level wrap around testing, vendor pairing evaluations to validate the function, performance, robustness and resilience of specific combinations, and protocol compliance testing for open interfaces.
As one of the earliest contributors to Open RAN industry initiatives, VIAVI has established the leading E2E Open RAN portfolio encompassing robust RAN and core test solutions, accelerating next-gen Open RAN networks through active participation in cross functional forums across the telecom landscape.
- Private 5G Networks are live around the globe and continue to roll out in many, what are the prerequisites for Private 5G Networks to be successful?
Monojit Samaddar: 5G networks present a number of exciting opportunities; not only for mobile operators, but for enterprises. Yet it’s important for enterprises to consider the level of technical skill needed to set up and service a private 5G network. Private 5G networks must be developed cost-effectively and ensure that it delivers the same high-quality operation as a commercial network. The use cases for private networks are diverse, which means the network must support a whole range of endpoints, each with different requirements.
Private 5G networks that use coordinated shared spectrum will require improvements in RF planning, network design, installation, test, management and operation. The diversity of 5G private network use cases makes network testing both challenging and essential. To ensure successful deployment, having a test approach in the lab can help pinpoint potential issues and allow engineers to troubleshoot and action problems before they occur in a real-world scenario. Pre-deployment testing provides the insight to ensure the Private 5G network can meet the requirements for diverse use cases and that the network is robust against security threats.
VIAVI offers advanced test solutions and expertise to ensure these new Private 5G networks deliver optimal value and performance, before and after deployment.
- How does RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) help telecom operators? How is VIAVI empowering RIC testing?
Monojit Samaddar: There has been a rapid evolution of the O-RAN ecosystem with increased focus on RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), which is responsible for controlling and optimizing RAN functions. RIC helps operators to optimize and launch new services by allowing them to make the most of network resources, at the same time helps operators ease network congestion.
RIC will become a key differentiator for mobile network operators to attract new customers, by showing how their network is out-performing the competition with real statistics. As with any new network element, testing is the only way to mitigate risk prior to deployment.
VIAVI’s TeraVM, a virtualized test tool that ramps up quickly and can change inputs at ease is enabling operators to test the RIC and in doing so is helping to expedite the roll-out of Open RAN networks and architectures. It can provide the emulated RAN (the measurements) to the RIC under test and then receive the outputs/decisions from the RIC and modify them according to the proposed changes from the RIC. This makes it easy to see if changes improve the RAN efficiency.
The TeraVM RIC test platform 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 optimize RAN operations at scale, reduce the operator’s total cost of ownership and introduce innovative new services. Additionally, its AI and ML insights allow operators to simplify the management of complex 5G configurations and dynamically optimize the network to cater for new use cases.
VIAVI has partnered with industry leaders like; AWS, Capgemini and VMware, demonstrating compliance with RIC- related requirements, assisting CSPs in validating the solution in the lab and scaling the solution to production.
- Security is an important element in developing versatile 5G Networks. How is VIAVI helping to mitigate these security risks?
Monojit Samaddar: When deploying 5G networks, whether NSA, SA or based on O-RAN specifications, it is important to ensure that the network is not just performing at maximum efficiency but is highly secure.
5G networks are far more digitized than previous generations - virtualization, cloud hosting and new services like; network slicing make the networks less centralized and more software-led than ever before. This has security implications not seen before in LTE, so testing needs to be a priority to identify potential vulnerabilities.
The virtualization of edge, 5G core and RAN gives operators more flexibility when building networks; however, it involves numerous different parties in the development process. This results in more entry points and higher chances of misconfigurations.
VIAVI offers an end-to-end portfolio encompassing robust tests, verification and assurance solutions for all aspects of the 5G network.
- Fiber is a key component in 5G deployment and testing fiber optic networks is an essential part of fiber installation; please elaborate on your expertise / plans in fiber-testing?
Monojit Samaddar: Testing fiber optic networks is an essential part of fiber optic installation, as well as on-going maintenance. Fiber testing encompasses the processes, tools and standards used to test fiber optic components, fiber links and deployed fiber networks. This includes, optical and mechanical testing of discreet elements and comprehensive transmission tests to verify the integrity of complete fiber network installations.
Fiber optic testing extends from the earliest development of new fiber optic components and systems in the lab, through fiber installation and activation, to the monitoring and troubleshooting that ensure years of reliable fiber performance in the field.
VIAVI’s fiber testing portfolio encompasses a full range of essential instruments, systems and software, required to address today’s fastest growing technologies and functional needs, providing end-to-end support for the construction, activation, monitoring and maintenance of fiber optic services.
- Do you feel India has created or is creating an acceptable 5G ecosystem to enable the effective and efficient implementation of 5G technology?
Monojit Samaddar: As India becomes a 5G nation, the 5G ecosystem is expected to grow in 2023. Communication service providers (CSPs) continue to strengthen their 5G capabilities and robust infrastructure, that includes; small cells, fiber and towers to support high speeds and low latency services.
Key factors shaping the 5G ecosystem are:
The advent of Open RAN presents opportunities for equipment makers and system integrators. The CSPs will have the flexibility to choose solutions from multiple vendors, ultimately bringing down the cost of deployment and management.
5G for enterprises is likely to pick up in 2023 as several Indian companies have applied for spectrum from the government for Private 5G networks.
Fiber is important for 5G front-hauls, particularly for small cell deployment, as it achieves the speed, latency and bandwidth requirements. Fiber deployment is poised to grow and the CSPs are continuously expanding their fibre coverage. The demand for optical fiber communications (OFC) in India is fuelled by network up-grade, growth of fixed broadband, surging datacentres and a rising number of mobile devices.
To facilitate design-led manufacturing of 5G products in India, boost domestic manufacturing and attract investments, the government has extended the production – linked incentive (PLI) scheme to the telecom equipment sector.
7. How is VIAVI engaging with its partners on this front or contributing to the overall 5G ecosystem so far?
Monojit Samaddar: VIAVI continues to engage with leading CSPs, equipment manufacturers, software companies, engineering enterprises and chipset developers providing comprehensive testing and assurance solutions from the lab to the field, including scalable real-world emulation, end-user experience testing and large-scale deployment support across 5G, fiber and cloud.
With extensive knowledge across multi-vendor, cloud-native and open networks, VIAVI ensures that performance and feasibility testing are executed rigorously to anticipate implementation challenges in the real world. The growth of 5G and the disaggregated radio access network (RAN) presents challenges with interoperability of various components, and VIAVI is working with network operators to help them address these challenges.
VIAVI’s deep expertise brings unparalleled efficiency in developing, enabling, assuring and optimizing networks with speed and success in both the lab and the field.