Another world first: 5G carrier aggregation in multi-vendor RAN

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NTT DOCOMO, Fujitsu Limited and NEC Corporation said the interoperability complied with the Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) Alliance’s specs.

The Alliance is an international group whose aim is to facilitate standardised, open, intelligent RANs.

The carrier aggregation ran on the 3.7GHz and 4.5GHz bands designated for 5G networks.

The dual connectivity was achieved by bundling LTE bands, and showed downlink speeds of 4.2 Gbps are possible for data transmission.

DOCOMO provides commercial 5G services in Japan through a multi-vendor RAN that connects baseband units and remote radio units manufactured by Fujitsu and NEC based on O-RAN’s open fronthaul specifications.

The same system configuration was used for this 5G carrier aggregation.

Shingo Mizuno, EVP and Vice Head of System Platform Business at Fujitsu, commented, "We are delighted to have succeeded in achieving carrier aggregation for 5G high-speed data communication in an environment featuring interconnection of multi-vendor equipment compliant with O-RAN specifications.

“This key milestone in the evolution of O-RAN will contribute greatly to the delivery of convenient 5G services and RAN openness".

The results of the interoperability verification were presented between September 25 and 30, during the O-RAN Plugfest web conferences organised by the O-RAN Alliance. Plugfest was held concurrently in Japan, China, India, Europe and North America, facilitating proofs of concept and interoperability tests of O-RAN products and solutions.

More developments

DOCOMO, Fujitsu and NEC are to continue working toward the introduction of commercial 5G carrier aggregation services. NTT DOCOMO and NEC Corporation announced they have interconnected a new 5G base station baseband unit (5G-CU/DU), developed by NEC and Samsung Electronics. It complies with O-RAN Alliance specifications, with 5G base station remote radio units (5G-RUs) of other vendors on DOCOMO's commercial network. More information here.