Today, Deutsche Telekom joined the Linux Foundation as a silver member, and it joined the Linux Foundation Networking Fund (LFN) as a platinum member to help drive the development of open source software for the telecommunications industry.
Deutsche Telekom has been so active in open source networking, I was surprised it wasn’t already a member of the Linux Foundation (I had to double check with the foundation to verify this).
Arash Ashouriha, SVP of technology architecture and innovation for Deutsche Telekom, writes in a blog post, “Existing projects like ONAP, FD.io, Open Daylight, as well as upcoming projects on edge computing and AI are important for our success.”
With the addition of DT, the Linux Foundation now claims that close to 70 percent of the world’s mobile subscribers are represented by its carrier members.
Beside its engagement with the Linux Foundation, DT is a leader in the Telecom Infra Project. It co-founded TIP in 2016 along with Facebook, Intel, Nokia, and SK Telecom.
Ashouriha also pointed out that Deutsche Telekom is a founding member of the ORAN Alliance, the industry group that’s working on open source software to virtualize the radio access network (RAN). In addition to DT, the ORAN Alliance membership includes China Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, SK Telecom, Telstra, Sprint, and NTT DoCoMo.
Deutsche Telekom also participates in the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) as part of its effort to introduce more programmability in its networks. DT is one of the ONF’s operator members, which each pay $500,000 per year to participate in a strategic plan to put together modular open source components for different use cases.
As far as Europeans involved in open source networking, let’s not forget that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) basically kicked off NFV about five years ago with its NFV white paper. And Telefónica is still leading the charge in Europe with its standards work through ETSI and its associated open source work through Open Source MANO.
Despite the work being done by DT and Telefónica, there is a perception that European telecommunications operators are followers, rather than leaders, in open source.
Recently, the German company Stordis said it was repositioning itself as the champion of open source networking hardware and software for European service providers. Stordis is working closely with Barefoot Networks to make a 100G white box, programmable switch.
Stordis Director of Marketing Johannes Kuhnle said European operators have been slower to adopt open source networking, partly because they don’t understand who will provide them with support. But Stordis has a strategy to help these operators understand and adopt open source technology.
For DT’s part, a big part of its interest in the Linux Foundation is to support its 5G activities. “Intelligent and automated networks will be the critical success factor to leverage the full benefits of 5G,” said DT’s Ashouriha.
Speaking of 5G, Berlin is making a name for itself as a gathering place for 5G stakeholders. The city played host to Berlin5G Week last year. And it will host events again in 2018. In addition to sessions on 5G, the week includes separate events focused on NFV, SDN, edge computing, and industrial IoT. And this year, the OpenStack Foundation is hosting its European conference in Berlin during the same week.