Sarokal Test Systems has released their first customer specific implementation of an Ethernet-based 5G Fronthaul protocol. This solution enables Sarokal X-STEP™ testers to emulate Ethernet-based Fronthaul traffic to develop 5G Fronthaul devices, like centralized and distributed baseband units (BBU), remote radio units (RRU), and different aggregation and switch units.
“When moving to 5G Fronthaul networks, Ethernet-based protocols are becoming more important. It is not feasible anymore to have direct point-to-point, always-on connections between baseband units and radio heads. Also, the network topology is changing as new units, like switches and radio aggregation units, are integrated as part of the Fronthaul network, says Harri Valasma, the CEO at Sarokal Test Systems.
Development work for public Ethernet-based Fronthaul specifications, including eCPRI and IEEE 1914, is currently ongoing and specifications are scheduled to come out starting from the second half of 2017. In the meanwhile, equipment manufacturers develop their Ethernet-based Fronthaul variants for R&D and demonstration purposes. Some of these variants may continue to exist as proprietary protocols even after the public standards are in place.
“The unique architecture of X-STEP makes it possible to support any of these variants, and we have already delivered our first Ethernet-based Fronthaul testers to our customers. Our ability to control and see everything literally in sent and received data is the key to enabling vendors to explore different implementations and proprietary solutions, as well as public standards”, Valasma continues.