PAWR platforms earn OTIC status for O-RAN Alliance testing and certification

WASHINGTON , US – The Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) Project Office announces that multiple PAWR testbeds have gained O-RAN ALLIANCE approval as Open Testing and Integration Centers (OTICs). These include: POWDER in Salt Lake City, Utah; ARA in Ames, Iowa; and Colosseum, an affiliated platform in the PAWR programme, which has earned OTIC status as part of the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things (WIoT) in the Boston area. The three testbeds join PAWR platform COSMOS, which was named an OTIC earlier this year.

The PAWR programme of large-scale wireless testbeds was created and initially funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, with matching funding and in-kind contributions provided by leading wireless companies and associations. As OTICs, the PAWR platforms will support wide adoption of O-RAN ALLIANCE specifications, and the testing and verification of O-RAN systems and subsystems.

PAWR Platform OTIC Capabilities

  • Powder at the University of Utah – POWDER supports end-to-end Open RAN testing in lab and field scenarios and has developed a Testing Orchestration and Testing Automation (TOTA) framework to provide streamlined, on-demand testing capabilities. O-RAN ALLIANCE defined OTIC services provided by POWDER will include interoperability and end-to-end testing, badging and certification. POWDER will offer additional Open RAN related services including use case and proof-of-concept development and evaluation, functional testing in lab and field environments, and Open RAN intelligent ecosystem research, testing and development.
  • ARA at Iowa State University – ARA enables research into connectivity solutions for rural environments, including offering a heterogeneous set of access network technologies to support innovative Open RAN testing and development for digital agriculture, rural education, and more. As an OTIC, ARA will support Open RAN R&D, device-level and end-to-end testing of performance, interoperability, and conformance in both sandbox and at-scale field settings.
  • Colosseum as part of the Institute for the WIoT at Northeastern University – The Northeastern team is using the Colosseum infrastructure, which is affiliated with the PAWR programme, and other assets of the Institute’s Open 6G Hub to provide testing capabilities for end-to-end AI and ML solutions that will enable new Open RAN use cases. Through its OTIC, Northeastern will provide testing, certification, and badging capabilities.

Since 2018, the PAWR programme has been tackling difficult networking challenges, providing shared, open network infrastructure as a way of driving wireless research and innovation. Since 2020, multiple PAWR platforms have also participated actively in Open RAN development efforts, supporting interoperability testing and proof-of-concept (POC) demonstrations, while continuing to build capacity for both automated testing and advanced feature development.

“By becoming OTICs, the PAWR testbeds are advancing important innovations in wireless research from the academic community and beyond and helping to bridge the gap between government investment and industry-driven change,” said Margaret Martonosi, NSF Assistant Director for Computer and information Science and Engineering. “Wireless communications are vital to both the public and private sectors, and through the services these platforms will provide as OTICs, the PAWR testbeds will accelerate the timeline that begins with cutting-edge research and leads to successful deployment of new wireless technologies.”

“The PAWR platforms are establishing themselves as premier centres of excellence for Open RAN research and testing,” said Mari Silbey, PAWR Programme Director. “This expansion of our testing ecosystem is critical not only for accelerating O-RAN deployments, but also lowering the barrier to entry for companies bringing critical new wireless innovations to market.”

For more information on the PAWR programme, visit the PAWR website.

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