Researcher (scientific/technical/engineering)

Date of the expedition

From 01/09/2023 to 29/02/2024

Selected Track

Paired Teams

Project title

Keeping OpenAirInterface fit using the OpenRAN gym

Host Organization

Northeastern University



Florian Kaltenberger is an Associate Professor in the Communication Systems department at EURECOM (France). He received his Diploma degree (Dipl.-Ing.) and his PhD both in Technical Mathematics from the Vienna University of Technology 2002 and 2007 respectively.

He is part of the management team for the real-time open-source 5G platform and special advisor to the OAI software alliance. He is coordinating the developments of the OAI radio access network project group, which delivered support for 5G non-standalone access in 2020 and for 5G standalone access in 2021. He also manages several research projects (industrial and academic) around the platform and teaches a course on radio engineering. His research interests include 5G and beyond systems at large, software defined radio, open-source software, massive and distributed multi-antenna systems, as well as non-terrestrial networks. Florian is currently on sabbatical at Northeasern University, where he will intensify his research on 6G and open RAN systems as well as work on the creation of a community of communities around an end-to-end reference architecture with components from mature—but not integrated—open-source projects and organizations.

Project Summary

Mobile communication networks are a cornerstone of our society and our industry. The current 5th generation provides the technological capabilities to support several new use cases such as industrial automation, the internet of things, healthcare, augmented reality, etc. Especially networks following the open RAN architecture and specifications provide the necessary flexibility to easily adapt them to these new use cases. However, today there are only a handful manufacturers that can provide such equipment and their solutions are still very expensive.

One way to accelerate the development of such open RAN systems while at the same time bringing down the costs of 5G radio networks is by leveraging open-source projects. Today there are number of such open-source projects, for example, the OpenAirInterface, which provides a complete implementation of 5G networks that runs as on virtualized general-purpose computing, and radio infrastructure. It can be complemented by other open-source projects such as the ones from the O-RAN software community or the ONOS project from the Linux networking foundation.

Open RAN systems can also leverage AI/ML to optimize their performance for specific use cases. The OpenRAN Gym from the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things at Northeastern University is the first publicly available research platform for data-driven O-RAN experimentation at scale. Building on frameworks for data collection and RAN control, OpenRAN Gym enables end-to-end design and testing of data-driven xApps by offering an O-RAN-compliant near-real-time RIC and E2 termination.

During this fellowship, the applicant will bring his expertise of the OpenAirInterface project and work together with the new Open6G research center at the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things at Northeastern University to integrate OAI 5G in the Open RAN gym framework. We will especially leverage the Colosseum testbed to deploy OAI at scale.

Key Result

2 submitted papers:

D Villa, I Khan, F Kaltenberger, N Hedberg, RS da Silva, A Kelkar, C Dick, et al. “An Open, Programmable, Multi-vendor 5G O-RAN Testbed with NVIDIA ARC and OpenAirInterface,“ arXiv preprint arXiv:2310.17062

R Mundlamuri, S Badran, R Gangula, F Kaltenberger, J M Jornet, T Melodia, “5G over Terahertz Using OpenAirInterface,” submitted to 19th Wireless On-Demand Network systems and Services Conference (WONS), Avoriaz, France, Jan 2024.

One workshop organized:

Impact of the Fellowship

After 3 months into the fellowship some of the impacts are already visible while others will follow later. The most visible impact so far was the organization of the joint workshop between the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA) and the O-RAN Software Community (OSC) which was held at the Northeastern Innovation campus in Burlington (MA) on November 14 and 15 2023. It attracted more than 150 participants and featured several interesting keynotes from political, academic, and industrial stakeholders, excellent technical presentations, panel discussions, demos and posters.

From a research perspective the fellowship also produced some new research results in the form of paper submissions. The first one is the first results from a fully virtualized and accelerated private 5G deployment based on OpenAirInterface and Nvidia Aerial at Northeastern university. The second one demonstrated for the first time a real 5G link over a terraherz link, again based on OAI.