SRS is excited to announce our new 5G SA gNodeB architecture. Last year we announced  our O-RAN Alliance membership and signalled our intent to release an open-source O-RAN-compatible 5G SA gNodeB in 2022. To put those plans in motion we’ve carried out a major refresh of our stack architecture. In addition to our usual focus on performance, ease of use and customisation, we’re also enabling ecosystem partners to integrate, test and develop their applications with a performant and customisable O-RAN-compatible stack.

That means the new architecture, shown above, puts an added focus on disaggregation, clean interfaces and radio hardware. And from the outset we’re designing with maximum scalability in mind; an architecture that supports the stack running efficiently on everything from a Raspberry Pi to a data center. 

Disaggregation is at the core of the ORAN vision. The new architecture allows the gNodeB to be easily decomposed into its constituent parts, e.g. O-DU-low, O-DU-high, O-CU-CP and O-CU-UP. So, while users will still be able to stand up a monolithic gNodeB on a single machine in minutes, we’re also enabling users to distribute the RAN functionality across the machines and geography of their choice. Maintaining ease of use, ease of configuration and minimising time to get a network initialised continue to be design priorities for us.

Interfaces are also key to enabling the ORAN vision of realising multi-vendor interoperability of open network equipment. The new architecture sees the implementation of the ORAN interfaces shown above. We’re working to ensure that partners developing RIC and SMO solutions will have open access to a rich set of metrics and controls across Layers 1/2/3.

Radio hardware support will also change with the new architecture; we’re providing both Split 8 and Split 7.2 support. Split 8 support allows our base of existing users who have labs and test beds equipped with SDR front-ends to easily migrate to the new stack. But Split 7.2 support will allow for easier deployments of more robust networks in both indoor and outdoor environments. Additionally, our support for the FAPI+ interface will allow users to integrate our stack with third-party 5G PHY solutions such as FlexRAN  and Aerial.

We’re currently working with select ecosystem partners on the test and integration of our new architecture with 3rd-party components and will be making a wider public release of the new architecture in Q3 this year.

This release will be a deployment-ready 5G SA gNodeB with the full stack (Layers 1/2/3) implemented in portable, customisable software. As with our previous releases it will target white-box x86/ARM GPP hardware. The initial target use-case is enterprise 5G with feature set including FR1, FDD/TDD and support for 64 concurrent UEs in connected state.

Our new architecture presents a stable and scalable framework with limitless possibilities. The first release will provide a deployment-ready gNodeB stack for users and partners to continue exploring the potential of the ORAN vision with a performant, open source and readily customisable architecture. Beyond that, the new architecture will provide a platform for exploration of new 5G releases and features, and for whatever comes after 5G.