KDDI and others demonstrate base station virtualization and O-RAN-compliant multi-vendor connectivity — 5G sophistication

KDDI is working with NEC, Nokia Solutions Network, and Fujitsu to conduct demonstration experiments on base station virtualization and multi-vendor connectivity in accordance with the O-RAN Alliance open radio access network alliance to improve the 5G-5-generation mobile communications system. The O-RAN Alliance is an industry group that aims to improve the next generation of wireless access networks, including 5G. The duration of the demonstration experiment is from March to September.

Image of demonstration experiments (Source: KDDI)

The base station equipment conventionally, because dedicated hardware and software are united, it was operated by determining the ratio and installation location of resources such as frequencies in advance. For example, if you want to deploy a low-latency service while allocating a lot of resources to a mobile broadband line in an area, it is said that there has been a situation where traffic processing for low latency can not be performed sufficiently.

In response to these challenges, the company said it would be able to provide services tailored to the user’s use by dividing the network for users who want to use low-latency services and introducing technologies to allocate resources.

In order to be flexible in deploying this network slicing, it is necessary to build a base station with general-purpose hardware and apply it to virtualization technology to operate a variety of software on the same hardware. In this demonstration experiment, we will verify the elemental technology necessary for the virtualization of the base station.

In the verification of the practicality of base station virtualization, virtualization technology is applied to the CU(Central Unit) of the data processing unit and the DU(Distributed Unit) of the wireless signal processing unit of the device constituting the 5G base station, and the practicality of the virtualized base station is verified.

Verification image of base station virtualization

O-RAN-compliant multi-vendor connectivity verification utilizes the open interface stipulated in the O-RAN Alliance to verify the interconnection between the devices of various vendors in the front hall of the base station between the DU and the radio device, RU(Radio Unit). Specifications for connecting the devices constituting the base station so far is different for each vendor, when configuring the base station by combining the devices of a plurality of vendors, because problems such as does not work occurs, generally the same vendor base station apparatus each other it was connected.

Verification image of multi-vendor connectivity (Source: KDDI)

Based on the technologies cultivated in this demonstration experiment, KDDI will further enhance the flexibility of the network by installing a stand-alone core network facility developed exclusively for 5G at the base station. As a result, the company will continue to support network slicing across the communication network. By developing such infrastructure, the company said it will be able to provide a network that maximizes the characteristics of 5G, such as “ultra-high speed”, “multiple simultaneous connection”, and “low latency”, in various fields such as high-speed data transmission of high-definition video such as 4K/8K, remote operation of industrial machinery, and automatic operation in the transportation field.