Optimizing O-RAN testing efficiency with LitePoint, accelerating 5G network development and deployment

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Senior Product Manager Middle Wen, LitePoint

The advent of the 5G era has brought with it the promise of open and flexible networks that can rapidly integrate equipment from different vendors. By reducing reliance on a single vendor, O-RAN (Open Radio Access Network) not only lowers enterprise network deployment and maintenance costs but also provides additional network functionality and services. LitePoint, a leading provider of wireless test solutions, recognizes the market's growing acceptance of O-RAN and has introduced the LitePoint IQFR1-RU, a testing solution specifically designed for 5G O-RAN radio units (RUs). This solution integrates MIMO signal generation and analysis capabilities, enabling scalable testing from research and development to manufacturing. By ensuring product compatibility and performance through automated software and real-time result displays, LitePoint enhances testing efficiency and accuracy.

According to Senior Product Manager Middle Wen, O-RAN's advantages in terms of cost-effectiveness, innovation, and a multi-vendor ecosystem have led to a rapid increase in demand for open and flexible network solutions worldwide. Research firm Dell'Oro Group estimates that O-RAN's share of global wireless access network (RAN) revenue will grow from 7%–10% in 2024 to 20%–30% by 2028. Large telecommunications companies are also actively deploying O-RAN solutions. For instance, AT&T plans to collaborate with Ericsson over the next five years, investing nearly $14 billion to place 70% of wireless network traffic on open platforms by the end of 2026. Similarly, Deutsche Telekom aims to deploy 3,000 O-RAN-compatible antennas by 2027. These deployments not only reduce costs and enhance network flexibility but also position telecom operators to capitalize on new market opportunities through innovative communication technologies.

When considering O-RAN deployment strategies, Middle Wen recommends evaluating two key aspects: multi-vendor/single-vendor systems and on-site deployment/new construction (Greenfield). In multi-vendor O-RAN systems, operators can choose components from different suppliers to enhance network flexibility and scalability, but this approach requires more complex management and integration. Single-vendor systems offer simpler integration and management but often rely on specific suppliers, limiting innovation. On-site deployment involves gradually transitioning existing system equipment to O-RAN, providing better protection for past investments but requiring compatibility adjustments. New construction offers greater design flexibility but comes with higher initial investment costs and uncertainty related to new technologies and markets.

Once the deployment strategy is determined, testing the O-RAN environment's radio units (RUs) becomes crucial to ensuring compliance with industry standards. RUs play a critical role in transmitting and receiving wireless signals, directly impacting overall network performance and reliability. The LitePoint IQFR1-RU, designed specifically for 5G O-RAN RUs, simplifies RF parameter and fronthaul compatibility testing for equipment and system vendors. By integrating multiple testing functions, it reduces reliance on external devices such as distributed unit simulators. This solution supports testing throughout various stages, from research and development to production, and is suitable for diverse testing scenarios. Testers can enhance efficiency by leveraging automated software, accelerating product time-to-market.

LitePoint's advanced automated testing tools, specifically designed for 5G device testing and validation, provide a comprehensive solution. From basic RF performance testing to complex compatibility testing, the intuitive user interface allows testers to easily configure and execute tests, obtaining rapid results. The solution supports various test configurations to meet different testing requirements and standards.

As O-RAN technology continues to evolve and deployment speeds accelerate, automated testing becomes a critical tool for ensuring equipment systems meet performance and safety standards. LitePoint's solution significantly reduces manual testing time and labor costs, enhances testing reproducibility and reliability, lowers product development and deployment barriers, and ensures stable system operation—making 5G a powerful driver for improving enterprise efficiency.