The Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) open source project is partnering with the xRAN Foundation. The two groups plan to work on a software-based, extensible Radio Access Network (xRAN) architecture.
Apparently, the xRAN Foundation is a new standards group that was formed in late 2016. Deutsche Telekom, a founding member, is hosting a press event at Mobile World Congress next week to introduce the group and explain its mission. Other initial members of xRAN include AT&T, SK Telecom, and Intel.
The xRAN group will work with the mobile project within CORD (M-CORD) to transform the RAN architecture. The partners plan to create a carrier-grade reference implementation of the xRAN specification within M-CORD.
The xRAN group will focus on software-defined standards for the architecture and interface definitions for next-generation RAN. The CORD project community will focus on implementation of xRAN-standard application program interfaces (APIs), a RAN controller built on the Open Network Operating System (ONOS), and RAN control applications for the M-CORD platform, using a variety of open and closed hardware options from multiple vendors.
As part of this partnership, On.Lab (which curates the CORD projects) appointed Sachin Katti, an electrical engineering and computer science professor at Stanford University, as the chief scientist for mobility to guide the xRAN integration with M-CORD. Katti’s mission is to help mobile operators by bringing M-CORD software infrastructure together with xRAN standardized interfaces to deliver a carrier-grade, programmable mobile network connectivity layer.
According to xRAN’s website, the group’s work advances the RAN architecture in three areas: It decouples the RAN control plane from the user plane, builds a modular LTE eNodeB Base Station (eNB) software stack that operates on off-the-shelf hardware, and publishes open northbound and southbound interfaces.