NTT DOCOMO and NEC Corporation (NEC) have succeeded in interoperability testing for 5G standalone (SA) using a 5G base station baseband unit (5G CU/DU) conforming to O-RAN open interface specifications and radio units (RUs) of different vendors.
The multi-vendor interoperability test used a software upgrade to introduce SA capability to NEC's 5G non-standalone (NSA) CU/DU operating on DOCOMO's commercial network. As a result, the system was transformed from a 5G NSA system into a 5G SA system using the same 5G CU/DU hardware. Since the 5G CU/DU can also accommodate existing NSA, the unit can be used to flexibly and quickly upgrade a 5G network.
Going forward, the two companies aim to introduce the 5G CU/DU for DOCOMO's SA services in order to further expand its 5G services.
The 5G Standalone system enables network operators to flexibly provide services that take advantage of 5G features, such as eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband), mMTC (massive Machine Type Communication), and URLLC (Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications), enabling support for the diverse demands of 5G, including the enhancement and sophistication of solutions for corporate customers.
Furthermore, as the lineup of interoperable 5G base station devices expands through multi-vendor connectivity, coverage areas can be flexibly designed according to the number of users and services by taking advantage of each vendor's strengths. This is expected to enable the rapid deployment of 5G coverage areas.
Moving ahead, DOCOMO and NEC will continue to verify the performance of 5G CU/DU, and aim to introduce new units to DOCOMO's commercial network, resulting in expanded 5G coverage with sophisticated base station equipment that enables superior 5G service.