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ONF’s SD-RAN v1.2 – First Release Fully Integrated with Aether

Jul 30, 2021
Saurav Das
Saurav Das About the author

ONF announced the third release of the SD-RAN project which includes a multitude of new features. This release also marks the first SD-RAN release fully integrated with ONF’s Aether project, a private-5G Connected Edge platform for enabling enterprise digital transformation. 

SD-RAN v1.2 Release Highlights

  • Successful integration with commercial 5G SA (stand alone) DU and CU software from Radisys. This builds on the successful integration of commercial 3rd party xApps (AirHop’s eSON server) achieved in the previous SD-RAN release.
  • ONF’s µONOS- based nRT-RIC and Radisys 5G NR Software were integrated successfully using O-RAN’s E2 Application Protocol and KPM Service Model (SM), as well as the pre-standard RC-PRE SM jointly developed by ONF, Facebook, AirHop, and Radisys. With these two service models, three different use-cases are realized - monitoring Key Performance Metrics, PCI Conflict Resolution and Mobility Load Balancing. New xApps were added on both Go and Python App-SDKs supporting these use cases.
  • Significant enhancements to the RIC internals. 
    • A Radio-Network Information Base (R-NIB) was added using onos-topo to store both configured and discovered information about the RAN nodes. Applications can now use the R-NIB to learn about RAN Node capabilities via the App-SDKs. 
    • A new microservice, the User Element Network Information Base (UE-NIB), was introduced to store and share near real-time information discovered about RAN UEs. 
    • SM subscription procedures were simplified by merging subscription APIs into the E2 Termination microservice, and deprecating the previously standalone subscription microservice (onos-e2sub). 
    • Functionality to handle multiple xApps making identical subscriptions for the same SM from the same RAN node without getting rejected by the latter. 
    • RIC microservices were implemented using the principles of idempotent-APIs and level-triggered control loops, to ensure that components can tolerate and gracefully recover from crashes and restarts - for example, xApp restarts or E2 node restarts.
  • Mobility Load Balancing is a new use-case  introduced in this release and the ONF RAN simulator (RANSim) was upgraded to simulate UEs moving along routes, measuring RSRP values from their serving-cell and neighboring cells, and generating A3 events that lead to gNBs making handover decisions that load-balance UE distributions in cells in the RAN. An MLB xApp can influence the A3 event generation by changing offset parameter values in the cells via the RIC.
  • White-box based CU/DU/RU with LTE support was upgraded to incorporate several stability fixes.
  • SD-RAN’s dev/test environment, sdRan-in-a-Box (RiaB) was upgraded to make installation easier with ONF’s 4G mobile-core. The automated integration-test infrastructure now includes Robot based tests for Over-The-Air (OTA) scenarios, in addition to the Helmit test infrastructure. In this release we have more than doubled the number of automated integration tests run nightly on Jenkins!

Read the full release notes on the SD-RAN documentation site. This project is licensed under the ONF Member-Only Software License. Members wishing to be granted access to the SD-RAN repository should contact membership@opennetworking.org.

Many thanks to the SD-RAN Community for their ongoing contributions and support.

Saurav Das

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Saurav Das