NEC successfully demonstrated Multi-Vendor Near-RT RIC Integration in O-RAN Global PlugFest 2022

NEC, VIAVI Solutions and HCL Technologies (HCLTech) teamed up for this project to demonstrate the multi-vendor Near-Real-Time RIC performance benchmarking. NEC’s Near-RT RIC platform enabled third party xApp integrations while connecting with multi-vendor E2 nodes.

RIC reduces RAN operating costs by automatically configuring base stations and optimizing radio parameters leveraging AI. Near-RT RIC enables advanced control for Quality of Service (QoS) in near real-time on a per-user basis, and in conjunction with Service Management and Orchestration (SMO)/ Non-Real-Time RIC, achieves an optimal balance between RAN operating costs and QoS/ Quality of Experience (QoE). The entire vRAN system will be optimized for various services and requirements in the future by coordinating the control of radio resources and computing resources through RIC.

For this PlugFest project, HCLTech’s Bouncer xApp, in combination with VIAVI’s new windowTeraVM RIC Test, supported the benchmarking of the underlying Near-RT RIC platform using E2AP Global and Functional procedures. The multi-vendor Near-RT RIC/vRAN/xApp integration aligned with O-RAN ALLIANCE’s vision was successfully showcased.

Roadmap for RIC Development

This PlugFest demonstrated that diverse 5G Open RAN solutions can be developed through Near-RT RIC leveraging assets in the global Open RAN ecosystem. NEC will continue developing RIC solutions in collaboration with partners to enable intelligent functionalities to accommodate various 5G use cases.

“In order for Near-RT RIC to achieve its full potential, testing is essential to create a repeatable environment in which the RIC and xApps can be trained and validated under different scenarios,” said Stephen Hire, Vice President of Wireless Marketing, VIAVI. “This demonstration represented a collaboration of industry leaders in network equipment, software and testing, advancing standardization activities and accelerating deployments.”

“HCLTech’s collaboration with the O-RAN Software Community aligns with its vision to accelerate digital engineering services growth by leveraging next generation 5G technologies. HCLTech xApp has been integrated with NEC’s RIC platform and VIAVI RIC. This E2E integration depicts the flow of E2AP messages across different layers and components of the O-RAN domain. HCLTech has also realized the minimum viable plan by implementing E2E Traffic Steering and Predictive Load Balancing Use case in a closed-loop fashion with E2-based KPIMon and RC xApps along with AI-enabled intelligence. HCLTech is actively extending its ecosystem partnerships to prove the value of Near-RT RIC and xApp technology,” said Anup Dutta, Global Delivery Head, Engineering and R&D Services, HCL Technologies.

“Near-RT RIC is a key enabler of AI-powered intelligent RANs,” said Katsumi Tanoue, General Manager, vRAN Business Department, NEC Corporation. “Near-RT RIC use cases are growing with advancements in 5G RANs. NEC will continue fulfilling the demands of Open RAN customers by offering mission-critical solutions by integrating NEC’s leading AI/ML technologies and RIC applications including 3rd party xApps.”

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