RIC Testing for a Sustainable Ecosystem

The i14y Lab recently saw the completion of the first of two setups that are part of the ONF effort to build a collaborative open environment for testing and evaluating x/rApp portability to different RIC/RAN platforms and their interplay.

RIC Testing for a Sustainable Ecosystem

The i14y Lab takes part in this effort not only because we, of course, want to help our supporting partner ONF, but also because RIC is an important part of open RAN, and we want to do our part in developing a valid and standardized testing environment for RIC.


The ONF project, as i14y Lab consortium lead Andreas Gladisch noted, is a step towards a possible reference configuration for RIC testing. Such a reference configuration and the supporting methodologies and standardized criteria are an important building block for a successful open RAN RIC ecosystem.


The setup already up and running at the i14y Lab consists of an open-source SMO, a Non-RT RIC (based on O-RAN SC stack), a Near-RT RIC and an ONF SD-RAN stack simulator. The second setup, still being implemented, consists also of an open-source SMO, a Non-RT RIC based on O-RAN SC stack, a Near-RT RIC, but uses a Viavi Simulator.

The testing will address two important use cases – namely RAN energy saving and traffic steering – in a single implementation and working in a coordinated manner. That way it can be demonstrated how a RAN energy saving application (implemented as rApp) and a traffic steering application (implemented as xApp) can be well coordinated under the O-RAN architecture to optimize RAN energy savings, at the same time maintaining quality of service, in a closed control loop setup.


The energy saving rApp presents an AI/ML model-based approach that is trained on actual RAN data from a major mobile operator. This approach comes with the ability to incorporate the operator’s operational preference in the model itself.


On top of that, the xApps and rApps are from two different vendors, with Intel providing the energy saving rApp and Rimedo Labs the traffic steering xApp. So, this implementation also demonstrates application portability and interoperability under the O-RAN architecture in a multivendor context.


The setup is a collaborative effort led by the ONF, which is also providing the Near-RT RIC, with the i14y Lab providing the lab and environment, our associated partner Viavi contributing a RAN simulator, and Tietoevry being responsible for system integration and operations.


Tietoevry will demo the project on their stand at MWC 2024.

The setup at i14y Lab is one of four instances currently either operational or being implemented, the others being at the ONF (a purely virtual setup), at the University of Utah’s POWDER Lab, and at Rutgers University’s WINLAB.


They are all part of ONF’s RRAIL - the RAN RIC & App Integration Lab. Together with the SMaRT 5G Project, they form the ONF’s new Open RAN effort for advancing RIC and RAN applications. The Sustainable Mobile and RAN Transformation 5G (SMaRT-5G) project is a collaborative effort focused on developing, demonstrating and open sourcing ML (Machine Learning) - driven, intelligent energy savings solutions for mobile networks

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