What is Open-RAN?

As the world of mobile telecoms networks continues to advance, the demand for increased coverage, faster speeds, and enhanced processing capabilities is pushing up the costs of the Radio Networks (RAN) on which they rely. In the past, RAN supply chains have been limited to a select few suppliers and vendors. However Open RAN (ORAN) is changing this landscape.

O-RAN introduces an open market approach enabling a diverse range of vendors and specialized equipment suppliers to embrace the opportunities presented, fostering healthy competition across the entire supply chain. In turn this newfound competition offers network designers an unprecedented array of components to choose from when deploying mobile networks, enabling sustainable management of development and deployment costs.

The Performance Challenge

In a 5G world, and beyond expected performance for the end user is an ultra fast and ultra low latency connection. To enable this accurate time synchronisation across the network is essential.

The challenge facing operators and the supply chain is that in order for all main RAN components to successfully work together and deliver this level expected of performance, they need to be standardized and be interoperable. To address this the O-RAN Alliance developed a series of performance and interface specifications as guidance in achieving this alignment.

Cutting Through the Complexities of O-RAN

Open RAN, O-RAN and Network Performance reviews why O-RAN exists, the difference between Open RAN and O-RAN, and an introduction to the Synchronization Plane.

The Role of Timing and Sync

Synchronisation is fundamental to enabling those interfaces to workAll devices must have the same concept of what time it is so they can be “talking” or “listening” at the appropriate timeA dedicated messaging channel, referred to as the synchronization plane (s-plane), is reserved for keeping devices synchronized. The synchronization plane refers to the mechanism employed within the network to ensure accurate timing and synchronization among various network elements. It acts as a central coordinator, harmonizing the operations of base stations, network switches, and other critical components, enabling smooth data transmission and providing performance assurance.

In other words accurate synchronisation relies on several network elements all operating within the defined O-RAN Alliance performance specifications. This means each RAN component needs validated for synchronization specification conformance before they can be integrated into an O-RAN network solution.

You can gain validation of accuracy and specification conformance through O-RAN Synchronisation testing. A suite of tests designed to help you navigate the O-RAN landscape and simplify your path to Sync Conformance.

The Impact of Impairments in an ORAN Network

In an O-RAN fronthaul network, latency and jitter play crucial roles in determining the overall performance and user experience.

Latency and jitter can directly affect the responsiveness and real-time capabilities of the network impacting:

  • Signal Processing by introducing delays in transmitting and receiving signals


  • Real Time Applications by causing delay to occur which affects the quality of user experience.


  • Synchronization accuracy by disrupting the coordination of RAN components which causes interference and creates a degraded network performance.


  • Packet loss which can lead to retransmissions and negatively impact the overall throughput and reliability of the network.

To manage this the O-RAN Alliance have produced a specification with latency tolerances within which RAN components need to conform to be able to maintain the required levels of performance. Gaining validation of this performance can be achieved through network emulation for planning, deployment and post deployment testing.

Your guide to simplifying the path to O-RAN synchronization and impairment conformance

Mastering Time and Sync: Achieving Optimal O-RAN Performance

Open RAN/ORAN is a concept and often the terms are used interchangeably. O-RAN (with a hyphen) is an alliance of operators, vendors, researchers and academics that have created a framework and defined a set of standards aimed at delivering more intelligent, open, virtualized and fully interoperable mobile networks.