Spirent Communications and Nokia have just announced a partnership, as the two companies have announced a successful deployment of a first 5G Lab as a service for Nokia's Oulu-based network infrastructure testing labs. Nokia needs no special introduction, but chances are that quite a few of you are not familiar with Spirent Communications, this company is actually one of the leading providers of lifecycle service assurance solutions.
So, what's this 5G Lab all about? Well, the 5G Labs a Service (Laas) essentially enables automation of 5G testing, and its main goal is to accelerate Nokia's releases of both virtual network functions and physical infrastructure. In addition to that, it also streamlines the use of shared lab resources across both teams and geographies, and that results in lower costs and improved efficiency, which is always a good thing. 5G LaaS is a self-service portal, and it can be accessed by hundreds of simultaneous users, no matter where are they from. It also offers support for thousands of devices and tens of thousands of connections for both 5G and legacy infrastructure, said Nokia. Thanks to this portal, Nokia can rapidly spin-up, tear down and reuse 5G hybrid test beds, and their location doesn't even matter, as everything is accessible from around the world, so their engineers can do it from wherever. Nokia and Spirent Communications plan to deploy 5G LaaS to additional Nokia facilities in the near future as well, as the company informed us that their plans are already in motion.
Now, 5G test automation is not exactly a simple process, it requires integration of a complex mix of layer 1 optical and RF switches, layer 2 and virtual switches, power control units and test management software, according to Nokia. It also requires 'sophisticated functionality' to reserve resources, spin up topologies and manage test environment changes. In order to assist Nokia, Spirent Communications had deployed Spirent Velocity, which is a tech orchestrator for hybrid virtual-physical lab environments, which not only maintains the full state of the lab, but it also automates resource sharing among users, and that's an important step when it comes to such testing.