Product Brief

Aerial Research Cloud Version A1.0

With the deployment of 5G systems in full swing, the research focus on 6G wireless communications systems has begun. Keeping up with the tradition of a new generation of cellular systems once every ten years, there is an expectation that 6G systems will be standardized and ready for deployment starting around 2030[]. Since it typically takes ten years for a NG (Next Generation) wireless technology to see commercial daylight, the time to begin research for 6G is now.

It is crucial to ensure availability of a comphrehensive programmable end-to-end (E2E) research and innovation platform to develop technologies for future communication systems. While it is possible that some of the requirements for NG wireless can be met by incorporating new advancements within the advanced 5G framework, it is already clear that to meet the goals of 6G will require some fundamental shifts in system architecture, waveform design, protocols, interference management and channel modelling.

Besides enhanced mobile broadband for consumers with very high data rates of 1Tbps, 5G+ is widely expected to enable the Fifth Industrial Revolution through the digitalization and connectivity of all things (humans, machines, sensors). Digital twins of objects created in edge clouds will form the essential foundation of the future digital world. The realization of a comprehensive and true digital rendering of the physical world at every spatial and time instant will be required at extreme low latency. Sensors will accurately map every instant and integrate into the digital and virtual worlds, to enable new Artificial Intelligence(AI) enabled capabilities. Augmented reality user interfaces will enable efficient and intuitive human control of all these worlds, whether physical, or virtual. Simply put, 6G is widely expected to be smarter, faster, and more efficient than 5G. Specifically following are the key 6G trending KPIs.


The following major new use case themes are emerging that can optimally use the new communications framework:

  1. End devices extending from being single entities to a collection of multiple local entities acting in unison to create the new man-machine interface. [Reference 5G NR Rel 18 - Gateway UE function for Mission Critical Communication]

  2. Distributed compute among multiple local devices and the cloud [Reference 5G NR Rel 18 - Ad hoc Group Communication support in Mission Critical Services]

  3. Knowledge systems that store, process, and convert data into actionable knowledge through AI systems in network functions as well as operations. [Reference 5G NR Rel 18 - AI/ML model transfer in 5GS]

  4. Precision sensing and actuation to control the physical world [Reference 5G NR Rel 18 - Application layer support for Factories of the Future (FF)]

  5. Network digital twin [ Reference ITU-T Y.3090 Digital Twin Architecture and Requirements]


Aerial Research Cloud

The Aerial Research Cloud is an NVIDIA platform to shape 6G to enable usage scenarios and requirements for multi-terabit per second (Tb/s) cognitive 6G networks. A fully programmable network architecture incorporating an intelligent plane to 6G wireless connectivity. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for autonomous networks as well as innovative air-interface designs. It is a platform to enabling algorithm design for promising baseband technologies for the 6G ecosystem, including terahertz (THz) band communications, very-large-scale antenna arrays, reconfigurable intelligent surfaces, digital beamforming, spectrum sharing, and the Internet of Things.

The workloads associated with all the above items are intrinsically GPU-friendly and as such NVIDIA will play a pivotal role in becoming the innovation platform for NG wireless communications.

The Aerial Research Cloud offers an invaluable platform for next generation wireless communications, and we look forward to collaboration and contributions from our early access partners to extend our blueprints and recipes to help us shape and evolve the platform.

Key Platform Value Differentiation

  1. Displace existing narrow band non real time systems to enable wideband real time platform

  2. Overcome the lack of a complete and full-featured platform targeted for NG wireless evolution

  3. C/C++ programmable from the physical layer through to the Core Node (CN)

  4. Eases onboarding and algorithm development in real time networks

  5. Accelerate AI adoption in wireless RAN workloads

  6. Pipeline for data collection, storage, parsing using 3GPP schema for wireless communication

  7. Provide developers with full featured platform capable of being used to generate data sets, train, and simulate and develop re-enforcement learning frameworks

  8. Longer term roadmap to provide digital twin wireless network simulation framework with service and network infrastructure analysis capabilities to develop, manage an intelligent radio system


The Alpha version of the Aerial Research Cloud, release (A1.0), delivers

Aerial Research Cloud – A full featured platform targeted for next generation wireless evolution that eases onboarding and algorithm development in real time networks.

Aerial Research Cloud equips developers, researchers, and network equipment providers with all requisite components necessary to deploy a campus network for research with the following capabilities:

  1. A 3GPP Release 15 compliant and O-RAN 7.2 split 5G SA 4T4R wireless stack with all network elements from Radio Access Network and 5G Core. Aerial SDK Layer 1 is integrated with OAI DU, CU and CN.

  2. Blueprint to ease onboarding, staging, and integrating the E2E Advanced 5G network components. This blueprint topology is illustrated below and along with the comprehensive BOM, a step-by-step staging and setup recipe, tutorials, troubleshooting tips are provided to configure all the network components for a quick turnaround live network.

  3. Complete access to source code in C/C++ is available from Layer 1 through CN to jump start algorithm research



The solution enables researchers to deploy Advanced 5G in an on-prem indoor lab network and includes the following components:

  1. NVIDIA Aerial SDK Layer 1 O-RAN DU uses GPU and DPU cards to offload and accelerate computation intensive fronthaul functions, supporting 100 Gbps of transfer rate. Using NVIDIA’s GPU and DPU to perform inline processing, RAN physical layer processing can be optimized by eliminating the back-and-forth transfer of latency sensitive data between the FPGAs, hardware accelerators and CPU cores, which significantly reduces power consumption and latency.  This platform will support advanced 5G RAN system design with the integration of highly flexible general-purpose GPUs and NVIDIA DPUs. The GPU with high-level programming such as CUDA, offloads the complete Layer 1 baseband processing. The platform offers quick turnaround prototyping flexibility through use of high-level programming CUDA C/C++. The NVIDIA DPU card on the other hand, offloads the complete data transfer functions for fronthaul, including time sync using the precision time protocol (PTP).

  2. Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) compatible and interoperated radio from Foxconn Technology (O-RU) in a O-RAN compliant 7.2 split configuration.

  3. OAI’s O-RAN CU systems running on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) x86 server on the same physical server collocated with the DU. NVIDIA GPU frees up CPU resources, which could be used for CU and other network functions.

  4. OAI’s 5G SA 5GC(5G Core) functions with external protocol data unit (PDU) session point of interconnect to data network (DN)

  5. The complete list of 5G infrastructure components required to setup 5G OTA network are qualified with the Aerial Research Cloud are described in the Aerial Research Cloud Installation Guide through HW BOM

Current release supports the following capabilities

5GNR Configuration and Features

Number Antennas 4T4R
# Component Carriers 1x 100MHz carrier
Subcarrier Spacing (PDxCH; PUxCH, SSB) 30kHz
FFT Size 4096
MIMO layers DL: 2 layers; UL: 1 layers
Duplex Mode Release 15 SA TDD
Number of RRC connected UEs 16
Number of UEs/TTI 2
Frame structure and slot format DDDSU
User plane latency (RRC connected mode) 10ms one way for DL and UL
Synchronization and Timing IEEE 1588v2 PTP; SyncE; LLS-C3
Frequency Band n78
Max Transmit Power 22dBM at RF connector
Peak Throughput KPI DL: ~290Mbps; UL: ~50Mbps
Bi-directional UDP Traffic > 4 hours exercised

5G Fronthaul Configuration and Features

RU Category Category A
FH Split Compliance 7.2x with DL low-PHY to include Precoding, Digital BF, iFFT+CP and UL low-PHY to include FFT-CP, Digital BF
FH Ethernet Link 25Gbps x 1 lane
Transport encapsulation Ethernet
Transport header eCPRI
C Plane Conformant to O-RAN-WG4.CUS.0-v02.00 7.2x split
U Plane Conformant to O-RAN-WG4.CUS.0-v02.00 7.2x split
S Plane Conformant to O-RAN-WG4.CUS.0-v02.00 7.2x split
M Plane Conformant to O-RAN-WG4.CUS.0-v02.00 7.2x split
RU Beamforming Type Code book based

Architecture Capabilities
gNB PHY AERIAL SDK Layer 1 PHY adheres to 3GPP Release 15 standard specifications to deliver the following capabilities. PHY capabilities include :
  • Error detection on the transport channel and indication to higher layers
  • FEC encoding/decoding of the transport channel
  • Hybrid ARQ soft combining
  • Rate matching of the coded transport channel to physical channels
  • Mapping of the coded transport channel onto physical channels
  • Power weighting of physical channels
  • Modulation and demodulation of physical channels including
  • Frequency and time synchronization
  • Radio characteristics measurements and indication to higher layers
  • Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antenna processing
  • Transmit Diversity (TX diversity)
  • Digital and Analog Beamforming
  • RF processing

3GPP standards specifications that define the Layer 1 compliance are listed below

  • TS 38.211 (38.211 v15.8.0)( numerologies, physical resources, modulation, sequence, signal generation
  • TS 38.212 (38.212 v15.8.0) Multiplexing and channel coding
  • TS 38.213 (38.213v15.8.0) Physical layer procedures for control
  • TS 38.214 (38.214v15.8.0) Physical layer procedures for data
  • TS 38.215 (38.215v15.8.0) Physical layer measurements
  • TS 38.104 (base station radio Tx and Rx) Base Station (BS) radio transmission and reception

Aerial SDK also complies with ORAN FH CUS specification version 3 (version 4 for power scaling) Aerial SDK complies with northbound interfaces adopted by industry based on Small Cells Forum for Layer 1 and Layer 2 (SCF FAPI).

  • MAC -> PHY configuration using NR FAPI P5 interface
  • MAC <-> PHY data interface using FAPI P7 interface for BCH PDU, DCI PDU, PDSCH PDU
  • Scheduler procedures for SIB1
  • Scheduler procedures for RA
    • Contention Free RA procedure
    • Contention Based RA procedure
      • Msg3 can transfer uplink CCCH, DTCH or DCCH messages
      • CBRA can be performed using MAC CE or C-RNTI
  • Scheduler procedures for CSI-RS
  • MAC downlink scheduler
    • phy-test scheduler (fixed allocation and usable also without UE)
    • regular scheduler with dynamic allocation
    • MCS adaptation from HARQ BLER
  • MAC header generation (including timing advance)
  • ACK / NACK handling and HARQ procedures for downlink
  • MAC uplink scheduler
    • phy-test scheduler (fixed allocation)
    • regular scheduler with dynamic allocation
    • HARQ procedures for uplink
  • Scheduler procedures for SRS reception
    • Periodic SRS reception
    • Channel rank computation up to 2x2 scenario
    • TPMI computation based on SRS up 4 antenna ports and 2 layers
  • MAC procedures to handle CSI measurement report
    • evaluation of RSRP report
    • evaluation of CQI report
  • MAC scheduling of SR reception
  • Bandwidth part (BWP) operation
    • Handle multiple dedicated BWPs
    • BWP switching through RRCReconfiguration method
  • Segmentation and reassembly procedures
  • RLC Acknowledged mode supporting PDU retransmissions
  • RLC Unacknowledged mode
  • DRBs and SRBs establishment/handling and association with RLC entities
  • Timers implementation
  • Interfaces with PDCP, MAC
  • Interfaces with gtp-u (data Tx/Rx over F1-U at the DU)
  • Send/Receive operations according to 38.322 Rel.16
  • Integrity protection and ciphering procedures
  • Sequence number management, SDU dicard and in-order delivery
  • Radio bearer establishment/handling and association with PDCP entities
  • Interfaces with RRC, RLC
  • Interfaces with gtp-u (data Tx/Rx over N3 and F1-U interfaces)
  • Send/Receive operations according to 38.323 Rel.16
  • Establishment/Handling of SDAP entities.
  • Transfer of User Plane Data
  • Mapping between a QoS flow and a DRB for both DL and UL
  • Marking QoS flow ID in both DL and UL packets
  • Reflective QoS flow to DRB mapping for UL SDAP data PDUs
  • Send/Receive operations according to 37.324 Rel.15
  • Integration of X2AP messages and procedures for the exchanges with the eNB over X2 interface according to 36.423 Rel. 15
  • Integration of NGAP messages and procedures for the exchanges with the AMF over N2 interface according to 38.413 Rel. 15
    • NGAP Setup request/response
    • NGAP Initial UE message
    • NGAP Initial context setup request/response
    • NGAP Downlink/Uplink NAS transfer
    • NGAP UE context release request/complete
    • NGAP UE radio capability info indication
    • NGAP PDU session resource setup request/response
  • Interface with RRC
  • Integration of F1AP messages and procedures for the control plane exchanges between the CU and DU entities according to 38.473 Rel. 16
    • F1 Setup request/response
    • F1 DL/UL RRC message transfer
    • F1 Initial UL RRC message transfer
    • F1 UE Context setup request/response
    • F1 gNB CU configuration update
  • Interface with RRC
  • Interface with gtp-u (tunnel creation/handling for F1-U interface)
  • New gtp-u implementation supporting both N3 and F1-U interfaces according to 29.281 Rel.15
    • Interfaces with RRC, F1AP for tunnel creation
    • Interfaces with PDCP and RLC for data send/receive at the CU and DU respectively (F1-U interface)
    • Interface with SDAP for data send/receive, capture of GTP-U Optional Header, GTP-U Extension Header and PDU Session Container.
OAI CN OAI CN supports AMF, AUSF, NRF, NSSF, SMF, UDM, UDR, UPF network functions of the 5GC

NVIDIA in Telecommunications

NVIDIA is the global leader in GPU accelerated computing and is enabling a fully cloud-native virtual 5G RAN solution to support a wide range of next-generation edge AI and RAN services using COTS servers.


The NVIDIA Aerial SDK provides a cloud native virtual 5G wireless radio access network solution, with inline L1 GPU acceleration for 5G NR PHY processing. It supports gNB integration in ORAN 7.2 split configuration with commercial RUs and UEs and is hosted on off the shelf COTS servers.

CUDA Baseband (cuBB): The NVIDIA cuBB SDK provides a GPU-accelerated 5G signal-processing pipeline for Layer 1 5G NR PHY.

CUDA DOCA Libraries provides optimized input/output and packet processing. It exchanges packets directly between GPU memory and GPUDirect-capable network interface cards (i.e. Mellanox ConnectX-6 DX).

Additional information on Aerial SDK is available NVIDIA Developer Zone at *Aerial SDK*.

About Sionna – Accelerate 6G Research

Sionna is a GPU-accelerated open-source library for link-level simulations based on TensorFlow. It enables the rapid prototyping of complex communication system architectures and provides native support for the integration of neural networks.

Additional information on NVIDIA Sionna is availabe at

About the OpenAirInterface

The OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 by EURECOM, a research institute based in the South of France. The Alliance manages and promotes the OpenAirInterface (OAI) open-source software that offers 4G and 5G and Core Network stacks as well as orchestration and management and control software. OAI implements 3GPP and the O-RAN specifications.

The OAI software development is organized into three project groups: Radio Access Network (RAN), Core Network (CN), and MOSAIC5G (M5G). Another project called CI/CD allows OAI to control the quality of all software produced within the Alliance. Each project group is composed of an engineering team following and achieving the objectives defined in its roadmap. The OSA stands out thanks to its large international community of contributors and users. The OAI software is used by many organizations around the globe for research and testing purposes as well as for building blocks of systems for various 4G/5G use cases, a growing number of them industrial.

For end-to-end deployments and control, OAI enables 5G deployment including the 5G gNB, Core Network, and RAN control capability thanks to O-RAN specified E2 and RIC software.

Refer to for additional information.

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