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5G Challenge

The 5G Challenge Announces Final Winners of the Preliminary Event – RAN Subsystem Interoperability Testing

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NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is hosting the 5G Challenge in collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD) to accelerate the adoption of open interfaces, interoperable components, and multi-vendor solutions.

The 5G Challenge Preliminary Event: RAN Subsystem Interoperability comprises the first of two 5G Challenge competitions. In this first-year event, NTIA/ITS offered a $3,000,000 prize purse to contestants who successfully integrated hardware and/or software solutions for one or more of these 5G network subsystems:

  • Central Unit (CU)
  • Distributed Unit (DU)
  • Radio Unit (RU)


Stage Three Winners – Network Integration Prize

The goal of Stage Three was to integrate multiple vendor subsystems into an end-to-end network, which built upon the Stage Two results, where each contestant subsystem was evaluated separately in an emulated environment. The final Stage Three network successfully integrated subsystems from five different vendors: user equipment, radio unit (RU), distributed unit (DU), central unit (CU), and Core. In true plug-and-play fashion, contestants approached network integration with no prior experience interoperating with their fellow contestants’ subsystems. The 5G Challenge provided a rigorous five-week schedule for contestants to work through diverse issues, from 3GPP software options to discrepant hardware.

After evaluating Stage Three testing results, the 5G Challenge selected the following contestants to receive a Network Integration Prize of $250,000 each: 

  • CU: Capgemini Engineering
  • DU: Radisys Corp. 
  • RU: Mavenir Systems, Inc. 

Best Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) Prize

SBOMs facilitate improved security via vulnerability management by identifying dependencies, patch requirements, license requirements, and risk of cyberattack. 5G Contestant SBOMs were evaluated for completeness, intelligibility, depth of dependencies listed, disclosure of known unknowns, and compliance to SBOM format standards.

This prize considered SBOMs submitted by the five contestants who won Emulated Integration Prizes in Stage Two. Radisys Corp.’s win recognizes their comprehensive, informative, and high quality SBOM, which went above and beyond to report vulnerability and risk.

Stage Two Winners – Emulated Integration Prize

Before network integration, each contestant subsystem was evaluated independently with a wrap-around emulator and test harness. The contestant subsystems underwent testing to evaluate basic functionality and standards conformance. Stage Two challenged the contestants, host lab, and test software because 5G test software and some 5G interface specifications are still emerging.

After evaluating Stage Two testing results, the 5G Challenge selected the following contestants to receive an Emulated Integration Prize of $150,000 each:

  • CU: Capgemini Engineering; Mavenir Systems, Inc.; Signal System Management 
  • DU: Radisys Corp. 
  • RU: Fujitsu Network Communications; Mavenir Systems, Inc. 

Visit to learn more about event details, rules, host lab capabilities, judging, and prizes!

5G Challenge in the News:

ITS, the Nation’s Spectrum and Communications Lab, supports the Department of Defense through a combination of its subject matter experts in 5G and its Boulder research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) laboratory infrastructure, including the Advanced Communications Test Site at the Table Mountain Radio Quiet Zone. ITS performed the engineering analysis of responses to the Notice of Inquiry that informed the creation of this Challenge.

To receive Challenge updates, send an email request to and follow the 5G Challenge at

April 06, 2022