Open source software for 5G networks - Tech | 5G, SDN/NFV & Edge Compute


Monday, February 25, 2019

Open source software for 5G networks

With IBM buying Redhat and Microsoft buying companies like Github, it is becoming very clear that open source software has strategic importance for leading players in the industry. Both service providers and technology solution providers are embracing open source, for accelerating growth and reducing the time to market. 5G involves a lot of network infrastructure upgrades. So, the open source communities are gearing up to solve the challenges in the areas of 5G Radio management, 5G NG Core infrastructure orchestration/management and Multi-Access Edge Cloud (MEC). Some of the communities are new, and many existing communities have reincarnated to solve 5G related challenges. 

Community Name: Open AirInterface (OAI)
  • Started in: 2014
  • Description: OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA), is a consortium funded by service providers, network equipment vendors and universities to accelerate the research and development activities in 5G. OpenAirlnterface (OAI) provides open-source hardware and software wireless technology platforms (simulation, emulation, and realtime) for deployment of mock 5G networks. Some of the strategic areas of focus for the community include 5G Modem, Software-defined 5G system, Heterogeneous 5G Network, Large-scale Emulation, Internet of Things (IoT), Test and Measurement. OpenAirInterface implements 3GPP compliant radio access network (eNB, gNB and 4G, 5G UE) as well as the core network (EPC and 5G-CN).
  • Current Status: The community is very active with 50+ developers contributing code and 8K commits made so far. 
  • Key Drivers: EurecomOrange, Nokia Bell Labs, Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research, TCL and Fujitsu

  • Started in: 2013
  • Description: The 5G Public Private Partnership (5G PPP) is a joint initiative between the European Commission and European ICT industry (ICT manufacturers, telecommunications operators, service providers, SMEs and researcher Institutions). The 5G-PPP's charter is to deliver solutions, architectures, technologies and standards for the ubiquitous 5G communication infrastructures of the next decade. 5G PPP consortium is backed by a 1.4 billion Euro fund from the Horizon 2020 initiative. 5G PPP group has spun off 50+ projects focused on different verticals such as automative, manufacturing, media, energy, health and public safety and smart cities. These projects look at everything from soup to nuts in the area of 5G. 
  • Current Status: 5G PPP has launched 3 phases of projects and established 50+ communities so far - Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3.  
  • Key Drivers: Universities, R&D organizations, Network Equipment vendors.

Community Name: M-CORD
  • Started in: 2013
  • Description: M-CORD is an open source reference solution for carriers deploying 5G mobile wireless networks. It is a cloud-native solution built on SDN, NFV and cloud technologies. It includes both virtualized RAN functions and a virtualized mobile core (vEPC) to enable mobile edge applications and innovative services using a micro-services architecture. M-CORD is one of the projects under the CORD (Central Office Rearchitected as Data Center) project. It is driven by the Open Network Foundation (ONF)
  • Current Status: The community has a few dozen contributors and they've converted all of the services to support containerization (Kubernetes). The community has also integrated M-CORD with ONAP. 
  • Key Drivers: AT&T, Google, China Unicom, Juniper, NTT Group, Ciena, Radisys and several Network Equipment vendors / Service providers. 

Community Name: Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) 
  • Started in: 2017
  • Description: ONAP Platform provides capabilities for design, creation and lifecycle management of network services - both physical and virtual. It was formed by integrating the ECOMP framework opensourced by AT&T and the Open-O open source community. ONAP community is customizing the orchestrator to support use cases such as 5G Network Deployment, Network Slicing, Optimization and Automation
  • Current Status: 125+ active contributors to the community.
  • Key Drivers: Amdocs, AT&T, China Mobile, Bell Canada and a bunch of service providers / network equipment vendors. 
You can find MEC related open source software at 

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