Quortus will soon be releasing its PocketEPC, a virtualized application-based implementation of a cellular function. The company says the app is 3GPP-standards compliant and intended for deployment at the network edge. PocketEPC will be available through the Lime Micro LimeNET Ubuntu App Store during the third quarter.
Quortus is advocating for what it is calling an edge-function app ecosystem, which it says will make it possible for enterprises, developers, and academia get access to technology that is typically only available to large vendors. The benefit of edge-function apps is that they can be pushed to the network edge by mobile operators or enterprises and used to basically run a private network.
The company is already working with Telefónica España on a private LTE technology based on MEC. Named LTE Nano, the technology is basically a 4G network in a box that uses Qurotus’ technology to take the evolved packet core (EPC) and put it at the network edge.
In an interview with SDxCentral, Quortus CTO Riki Dolby said that MEC is really about enabling mobile operators to extend their network. “MEC is really an operator network extension play,” he said. “But the private cellular piece could be owned by the enterprise itself. Dolby noted this scenario is possible if an enterprise is using Citizen Band Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum, which is unlicensed spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band. The band was primarily used by the military and government, but in 2016 the FCC approved rules for the 3.5 CBRS band to be available for mobile broadband and other commercial uses.
In this scenario, the user could couple the Quortus’ app-based approach with edge-located cellular equipment such as a base station, or use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. This type of deployment would allow enterprise-grade cellular applications to run over a network that the enterprise can then customize and manage.
Dolby said the company is working on a private LTE trial with Telefónica España at a car factory. In this trial, the factory uses its private LTE network for Internet of Things (IoT) applications as well as push-to-talk (PTT). Dolby said the vEPC routes traffic in the factory so that low latency traffic is treated differently than other traffic.
“It’s still now trivial to be an operator,” Dolby said. “But the world has gotten to the point where we can host stuff and offer it as a software.”
The company said its customers range from mobile operators to enterprises. In countries where spectrum is deregulated, like Holland, Quortus is able to sell directly to enterprises so they can deploy entire networks in unlicensed spectrum.