BARCELONA, Spain – The 5G Americas trade association released an initial stab at tying together the connection between open source platforms and 5G, which further shines a spotlight on the growing connection between virtualization, software, and the next evolution of mobile technology.
The effort is in a white paper, titled The Status of Open Source for 5G. It’s admittedly “not an exhaustive” look at the connection, explained 5G Americas President Chris Pearson at this week’s MWC Barcelona event, but it’s a stab at providing some context for 5G Americas’ base.
5G Americas is a trade organization that is backed by telecom operators and vendors focused in the Western Hemisphere. This includes AT&T, Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Telefónica, and Sprint. The organization has some history in the mobile telecom space as it initially operated as 3G Americas, before migrating to 4G Americas, and now its current incarnation.
Pearson explained that the white paper is a “pretty high level” education piece on where the 5G ecosystem is in terms of using open source platforms. He said that the ecosystem is looking at ways to reduce costs and increase interoperability across systems and services, “and whether open source can be one of those things.”
The white paper touches on a number of open source initiatives focused on the telecom and 5G space, including the splitting of the core network between control and user planes; management and control functions using platforms like OpenStack and Kubernetes; and security, which Pearson noted was still of concern for telecom operators.
Many of the topics and acronyms are standard nomenclature for citizens of the SDN and NFV space, but the white paper highlights that many in the traditional telecom world has only recently been introduced to these platforms.
In a separate interview at the MWC Barcelona event, Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking, orchestration, edge computing, and IoT at the Linux Foundation, noted that his group’s LF Networking Fund (LNF) is also looking to bridge that gap between open source and traditional telecom. LNF was started last year by combining six initial projects — ONAP, OPNFV, OpenDaylight, FD.io, PNDA, and SNAS — into one project.
“A lot of larger players are already going down this path of virtualization either with actual deployments or trials,” Joshipura said. “And when they do they intersect at some point with open source.”