Saturday 16 December 2023

Testing Vodafone UK's Open RAN Deployment Performance

It's been a while since Vodafone selected their UK Open RAN partners. The good news is that according to the press release from Samsung as well as Vodafone UK the rollout has already started. According to the press release, the following partners are involved:

  • Samsung: 4G and 5G radio, including 64T64R Massive MIMO, as well as the software platform.
  • Intel: General Purpose Processor (GPP), acceleration hardware and network interface cards.
  • Keysight: Drive test services using Keysight Nemo Solutions to assure the OpenRAN end-to-end live network performance. Pre-deployment OpenRAN functional and interoperability testing using Keysight Open RAN Architect (KORA) solutions.
  • Dell Technologies: Dell PowerEdge servers designed for cloud-based OpenRAN workloads.
  • Capgemini: Testing partner in Vodafone labs.
  • Wind River: Cloud network platforms (also known as abstraction layer software).

Dr. Peter Clarke, who is an actual medical doctor rather than a PhD, and also a mobile network infrastructure hobbyist, has been featured across our blogs on a regular basis. Recently he took a trip to the coastal town of Torquay, Devon, to see for himself how these Samsung Open RAN networks were performing. Quoting from his LinkedIn post

Vodafone UK's Samsung Networks based Open RAN 5G delivers capability and performance to the coastal town of Torquay, Devon, providing a compelling window into the future of radio access architecture. 

The Vodafone spectrum deployed is impressive, illustrating the capability of the Samsung Radios and serving the town well: 90MHz n78 with Massive MIMO on Samsung Active Antenna Units and quad 4G band through Commscope passives.

Throughputs with EN-DC utilising 50MHz n78 carrier were consistently around 500mbps, which for an umbrella site serving a town was pleasing. Field testing video below, in comments, please watch for on the scene testing.

Here is a video from his testing:

I am looking forward to the official results that will hopefully be shared around MWC 2024.

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