O-RAN Alliance and Linux Foundation form O-RAN Open Source Community; Open Networking Assessment and Telcos
On April 2nd, the O-RAN Alliance and the Linux Foundation jointly announced the creation of the O-RAN Software Community (O-RAN SC). The O-RAN SC will provide open software aligned with the O-RAN Alliance’s open architecture. As a new open source community under the Linux Foundation, the O-RAN SC is sponsored by the O-RAN Alliance, and together they will develop open source software enabling modular, open, intelligent, efficient, and agile disaggregated radio access networks. The initial set of software projects may include: near-real-time RAN intelligent controller (nRT RIC), non-real-time RAN intelligent controller (NRT RIC), cloudification and virtualization platforms, open central unit (O-CU), open distributed unit (O-DU), and a test and integration effort to provide a working reference implementation. Working with other adjacent open source networking communities, the O-RAN SC will enable collaborative development across the full operator network stack.
Background: The telecom industry is experiencing a profound transformation and 5G is expected to radically change how we live, work, and play. This means it’s critical to make network infrastructure commercially available as quickly as possible to ensure business success for operators. It’s time to turn to open source, as it is one of the most efficient ways to accelerate product development in a collaborative and cost-efficient way.
“This collaboration between the O-RAN Alliance and the Linux Foundation is a tremendous accomplishment that represents the culmination of years of thoughtful innovation around the next generation of networks,” said Andre Fuetsch, Chairman of the O-RAN Alliance, and President of AT&T Labs and Chief Technology Officer at AT&T. “The launch of the O-RAN SC marks the next phase of that innovation, where the benefits of disaggregated and software-centric platforms will move out to the edge of the network. This new open source community will be critical if 5G is to reach its full potential.”
“We are really excited to see the establishment of the O-RAN Open Source Community,” said Chih-Lin I, chief scientist of China Mobile, co-chair of the O-RAN Technical Steering Committee and member of the Executive Committee of the O-RAN Alliance. “The O-RAN Alliance is aiming at building an ‘Open’ and ‘Smart’ Radio Access Network for future wireless systems. From day one, the Alliance has embraced open source as one of the most powerful means to achieve its vision. The O-RAN Open Source Community is the fruit of a yearlong extensive deliberation between the O-RAN Alliance and the Linux Foundation. We believe that the power of open source will further the momentum and accelerate the development, test, commercialization and deployment of O-RAN solutions.”
“We are excited to collaborate with O-RAN Alliance in bringing communities together to create software for this important access area of Telecommunications,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge & IOT, the Linux Foundation. “This step towards execution marks another major milestone in networking partnerships across standards and open source organizations.”
About O-RAN Alliance
The O-RAN Alliance is a world-wide, carrier-led effort to drive new levels of openness in the radio access network of next generation wireless systems. Future RANs will be built on a foundation of virtualized network elements, white-box hardware and standardized interfaces that fully embrace O-RAN’s core principles of intelligence and openness. An ecosystem of innovative new products is already emerging that will form the underpinnings of the multi-vendor, interoperable, autonomous RAN, envisioned by many in the past, but only now enabled by the global industry-wide vision, commitment and leadership of O-RAN Alliance members and contributors.
More information about O-RAN can be found at www.o-ran.org.
About the Linux Foundation
Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more. The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information please visit us at www.linuxfoundation.org.
Assessment of Open Networking:
While Open Source Software (e.g. ONAP from ONF, Sonic from OCP) and Hardware (from OCP, TIP, Open RAN consortiums, ONF, etc) for networking is advancing rapidly, Open Networking via SDN, NFV, SD-WAN is really a euphemism for closed networking. That’s because almost all such “Open Networks” are proprietary to either the service provider (e.g. Amazon, Google, AT&T, etc) or SD-WAN vendor (many).
Some hyper-scale cloud providers (e.g. Microsoft) use a mix of open source software and purpose built proprietary software. Others (like Amazon and Google) use only their own (proprietary) software. Open Networking hasn’t much of an impact on the enterprise network yet, because of complex support and training issues. It seems like the main beneficiary of open networking will be Facebook (which started the OCP and TIP) and global telcos/ISPs (e.g. Yahoo Japan).
Telco Focused Open Source Projects:
Telcos such as AT&T, Verizon, China Mobile, DTK, and others have embraced open source technologies to move faster into the future. And LF Networking is at the heart of this transformation. AT&T seems to be the leading open source software telco. The company contributed their own software on virtual networks as ONAP to the Linux Foundation. The project is now being used by in production by other companies, and AT&T in return is benefiting from the work the competitors are doing to improve the code base.
AT&T also led the effort on Project CORD (Central Office Rearchitected as a Data center). CORD combines NFV, SDN, and the elasticity of commodity clouds to bring data center economics and cloud agility to the Telco Central Office. CORD lets the network operator manage their Central Offices using declarative modeling languages for agile, real-time configuration of new customer services. Major service providers like AT&T, SK Telecom, Verizon, China Unicom and NTT Communications are already supporting CORD.
AT&T contributed to the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) work on multi-gigabit PON virtual optical line termination hardware abstraction (VOLTHA), which is an open source software stack for PON networks. ONF is now working on integrating the ONAP operating system with multi-gigabit passive optical networks. ONAP was created by the merger of the Open ECOMP platform created by AT&T Labs with a similar, preexisting open source development project.
AT&T and the ONF will build on ongoing field trials of XGS-PON technology designed to support speeds up to 10 Gbps. The current XGS-PON trial is testing multi-gigabit high-speed internet traffic and providing AT&T DirecTV NOW video to trial participants. “Collaboration and openness across AT&T, the ONF and VOLTHA teams will be key to bringing this 10 Gbps broadband network to customers faster,” said Igal Elbaz, AT&T senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design, in the press release. “Now that we’ve proven the viability of open access technology in our trials, we can start the integration with our operations and management automation platform – ONAP.
ONF also provides a variety of Reference Designs, which are are “blueprints” developed by ONF’s Operator members to address specific use cases for the emerging edge cloud. Each Reference Design is backed by specific network operator partner(s) who plan to deploy these designs into their production networks and will include participation from invited supply chain partners sharing the vision and demonstrating active investment in building open source solutions.
The Telecom Infra Project aims to collaborate on building new technologies, examining new business approaches, and spurring investment in the telecom space. TIP Project Groups are divided into three strategic networks areas that collectively make up an end-to-end network: Access, Backhaul, and Core and Management. TIP members include operators, suppliers, developers, systems integrators, startups, and other entities that have joined TIP to build new technologies and develop innovative approaches for deploying telecom network infrastructure. Most telco members are outside the U.S. However, Century Link, Cox Communications, Sprint, and Windstream are U.S. based members. Representatives from Deutsche Telekom, BT, Vodafone, and Telefonica are on the TIP Board of Directors.
AT&T, ONF Collaborate on Virtualized Multi-Gigabit PON Service Automation
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LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across networking projects, today announced continued community momentum, including further collaboration with Standards bodies, evolution of compliance programs, new project milestones, and increased integration with adjacent communities. Formed in January 2018, LFN is focused on nurturing integration, efficiencies and member engagement across FD.io, OpenDaylight, ONAP, OPNFV, PNDA, Tungsten Fabric, and SNAS as well as the broader open source networking ecosystem. As the projects are hosted under the same umbrella, LFN builds upon synergies to enable rapid innovation and adoption.
“We are thrilled to have recently celebrated our first year as an umbrella organization, bringing continued growth across the ecosystem supporting the end-to-end open source networking stack,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Automation, Edge & IoT, the Linux Foundation. “The LFN community — along with other ecosystem partners, including standards bodies — has truly come together to evolve the future of open source networking.”
This week, LFN is participating in Open Networking Summit (April 3-5) in San Jose, Calif., through a series of presentations, demos, and trainings. Fore information about ways to engage onsite, please visit here.
Increased Integration at one-year mark
Open source and open standards further align as panel of experts convenes on stage during ONS North America, April 5, to discuss how the two types of organizations work together to further telecom’s conversion to open source. Additionally, the O-RAN Alliance and the Linux Foundation jointly announced the creation of the O-RAN Software Community (O-RAN SC) to provide open software aligned with the O-RAN Alliance’s open architecture.
LFN kicked off its second year by co-locating OPNFV and ONAP developer events at the Nokia facility in Nozay, France, January 8-11. The joint event brought together commercial vendors and open source community members to plan the ONAP Dublin release, perform testing and integration of OPNFV Gambia, and foster collaboration between communities. Attended by 213 individuals from 55 organizations that included 11 end-users and 11 research and nonprofit organizations, more details on results and outcomes are included in the event report here.
Further aligning LFN communities to ease interoperability issues for telcos and vendors, the OPNFV Verification Program (OVP) has expanded to now include VNF compliance testing based on ONAP requirements. OVP also introduced its Verified Labs Program with the induction of the University of New Hampshire-Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL) as the first verified lab.
Cloud native Network Functions (CNFs) continue to evolve in collaboration with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) community. In February, CNCF and ONAP announced the open source CNF Testbed which demonstrates the same networking code running as both Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) on OpenStack and as CNFs on Kubernetes.
Expanded Networking Training Courses – Become a Certified ONAP Professional
According to last year’s Open Source Jobs Report , 46 percent of hiring managers are looking to recruit in “Networking” technologies, and a roughly equal percentage cite “Networking” as a technology most affecting their hiring decisions.The Linux Foundation provides a rich set of training courses — including free eLearning, paid eLearning, and in-person — focused on networking to help advance knowledge, skills, and career development.
Further showcasing the value of these skill sets, the ONAP courses, initially kicked off in March of 2018, have proven immensely popular, with over 18,000 enrollments so far across free and paid eLearning courses. A Certified ONAP Professional (COP) Beta Program is underway and scheduled to launch in late June 2019. Created in tandem with ONAP expert volunteers to identify core domains and critical skills, knowledge and competencies applicable to the Certified ONAP Professional (COP). For more details on the exam curriculum, to participate in the Beta, please visit https://www.onap.org/home/community/onap-training.
Below is a list of currently-available networking course offerings:
Intro to ONAP: Complete Network Automation (LFS163)
Intro to OPNFV: NFV Acceleration (LFS164)
Intro to Open Source Networking Technologies (LFS165)
Essentials of Linux System Administration (LFS201)
Linux Networking and Administration (LFS211)
ONAP Fundamentals (LFS263)
OPNFV Fundamentals (LFS264)
Software Defined Networking w/ OpenDaylight and Tungsten Fabric (LFS265)
Additional Project Deployments & Milestones
LFN projects continue to evolve with new releases, projects, and community growth. Specific examples include:
FD.io has added a valuable project to it’s portfolio that removes a key hurdle to adoption of FD.io technologies: Sweetcomb management agent, which addresses deployment of equipment based on the FD.io dataplane into an operator’s network by responding to configuration and telemetry requests received from industry-adopted methods (including Netconf, Restconf, OpenConfig gNMI, and SSL clients) while adhering to IETF and OpenConfig data models. Sweetcomb is backed by a dedicated set of developers from across 13 organizations (including Alibaba, China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, Cisco, HuachenTel, Huawei, Intel, NXP, Pantheon Technologies, Tencent, Tieto, and ZTE).
In addition to the upcoming ONAP Certification training course, the ONAP community is hard at work on its fourth release, ONAP Dublin. Expected early summer, Dublin builds upon the work of the Developer Design Forum; “Security by Design” will be an important sub-theme, and a new SDC dashboard called “Controller Design Studio for APP-C” and SDN-C design is under development.
OPNFV Hunter, the eighth release of OPNFV, is planned for May 2019. It will further the state of NFV around continuous delivery, cloud native network functions (CNFs), testing, carrier-grade features, and upstream project integration. Projects such as C-RAN (cloud radio access network for 5G), AUTO (ONAP automated OPNFV) and Edge Cloud have continued to make progress and are planning to participate. There will again be a two-track release with a Continuous Delivery option.
OpenDaylight, the most pervasive open source SDN controller that helps power over 1B global network subscribers, celebrates its sixth anniversary with the availability of its 10th release, OpenDaylight Neon. Neon hardens SDN controller features and advances support for edge, cloud native, and downstream projects like ONAP, Kubernetes, and OpenStack. Learn more about OpenDaylight’s latest release here.
The Tungsten Fabric community has been named a 2019 Google Summer of Code (GSoC) organization. GSoC is global program focused on connecting students to open source organizations. Learn more about Tungsten Fabric’s GSoC projects here.
Initiated last fall, the Tungsten Fabric Carbide Quick-Start Environment continues to gain traction. Hosted at Amazon Web Services and free to use, it allows developers using Kubernetes with limited networking experience to deploy a configuration-free Kubernetes and Tungsten Fabric cluster, usually in less than 15 minutes.
LFN will also participate in KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe, May 20-23, in Barcelona. The project will host two co-located mini summits as well as in-booth demonstrations. More details are available here.
Follow LF Networking on Twitter at @LF_Networking to stay up-to-date on project activity, including real-time updates from ONS.
About The Linux Foundation
Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more. The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information please visit us at http://www.linuxfoundation.org.
AT&T made a series of announcements at the Open Networking Summit last week which were aimed at fostering a more open and interoperable approach to the hardware and software that powers radio access networks (RAN).
The initial seed code for the 5G RAN Intelligent Controller, which AT&T co-developed with Nokia, was contributed to the Linux Foundation in partnership with the O-RAN Alliance as open source software. “This is really the first open source project that we’re launching. There will be more down the road, but this is really the first step here in terms of opening up the radio access network,” Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and CTO at AT&T, told SDxCentral.
“We want to be able to expose more of the controller so we can drive more visibility and more control. And when you have more visibility and control, then you have programmability,” he said. “It is going to break the vendor and technology lock in” and “open up a whole new level of interoperability. … Traditional areas of the network that have been controlled by a few are now being opened up to many.”
Having more competition, more developers at the table and lowering the entry barrier will ultimately drive better solutions and experiences for AT&T’s customers, Fuetsch explained. “O-RAN will help drive greater interoperability between RAN equipment vendors,” he said. “I think it’s fair to say that all the O-RAN operators are highly motivated to drive more innovation and interoperability, and thus competition into their radio access networks.”
Participation from incumbent RAN suppliers is critical to that effort, and a majority of vendors have at least joined the O-RAN Alliance, but some are contributing much more than others, Fuetsch explained.
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