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CCI xG Testbed Leads O-RAN Research

CCI xG Testbed Team page topper

CCI xG Testbed Team page topper

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative’s xG Testbed is conducting first-of-its-kind research in Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN).

The CCI xG Testbed has two sites, one of which is an indoor radio network (72 software-defined radio systems, or SDRs) at the CCI hub in Arlington, Va.

In demonstrations presented at the Mobile World Congrees in Las Vegas and at CCI's Arlington Hub, we show our End-to-End O-RAN research.

O-RAN is drawing more attention due to the $280 billion federal CHIPS and Science Act slating $1.5 billion for open and interoperable radio access networks. 

The CCI xG Testbed demonstration shows how an O-RAN secure network can be used to prioritize the communications needs of emergency first responders while ensuring the general public’s calls and texts go through.

This demonstration of the first end-to-end O-RAN software defined radio (SDR)-based proof of concept showcases how workflow goes from the service management orchestrator (SMO) to user equipment (UE). The main components of the demonstration include: 

  •  An Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML) framework 
  •  A Non-Real-Time Radio Intelligent Control (Non-RT-RIC) and a Radio Access Network Automation Application (rApp) with embedded intelligence
  •  A Near-Real-Time Radio Intelligent Control (Near-RT-RIC) and an xApp (software application) with policy-based guidance through interaction with the rApp
  •  A Radio Access Network (RAN), which is implemented using system-radio-software (srsRAN) and Software-Defined Radio (SDR) and intelligently controlled by the NexRAN xApp (a macroservice).
  •  User equipment (UE) implemented through an SDR and  srsRAN (srsUE) or implemented using a commercial off- the-shelf (COTS) UE. 

The demonstration focuses on policy-based RAN network slicing. CCI illustrates a first-responder use case to highlight the end-to-end workflow through the O-RAN ecosystem. 

To better visualize the interaction among the components of the demonstration and the O-RAN ecosystem, we enable and augment the Non-RT-RIC dashboard for policy monitoring and management, and develop a Near-RT-RIC dashboard for xApp monitoring and policy-based Radio Resource Management (RRM) and a UE interface for networking performance analysis. 

The figures show the high-level system design of the end-to-end demonstration setup.

High-level end-to-end O-RAN demo architecture:

O-RAN demo diagram one

O-RAN demo diagram one
End-to-end O-RAN demonstration architectural building blocks:

O-RAN demo diagram two

O-RAN demo diagram two

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