Fingerprinting Technology for 5G/NextG O-RAN Supply CHain Risk Management

Contemporary 5G systems are currently undergoing a profound architectural transformation, primarily driven by the introduction of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN or O-RAN) technology. In contrast to traditional cellular networks, O-RAN represents an open, programmable, interoperable, and virtualized RAN architecture. This paradigm shift empowers network operators to seamlessely mix and match hardware and software components from different vendors. The outcome is increased flexibility, scalability, and cost savings for network operators, as well as enhanced competition among vendors, which ultimately benefits consumers.

Nonetheless, this newfound openness and interconnectedness in O-RAN systems come at a cost – the network's reliance on an extensive global supply chain introduces a complex web of vulnerabilities into the network infrastructure. In response to this challenge, this project puts forward an innovative approach, harnessing fingerprinting techniques, specifically focusing on distinctive power signatures and electromagnetic emanations, to fortify the supply chain risk management of 5G/NextG networks. Our strategy revolves around leveraging machine learning techniques, purposefully tailored to recognize and profile the diverse array of O-RAN components by tapping into the unique side-channel characteristics exhibited by these components, including their power signatures and electromagnetic emissions. The developed technology holds the potential to establish a robust framework for comprehensive validation and testing across the entire lifespan of deployed Open RAN systems, ultimately leading to increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness in supply chain risk management.