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O-RAN Alliance, Linux Foundation team on software

The O-RAN Alliance and the Linux Foundation forged a new open-source software community they argued is essential to accelerate delivery of commercial 5G network infrastructure.

In a joint statement, the groups said the O-RAN SC initiative “fosters collaboration with adjacent open source networking communities” and will deliver software aligned with the O-RAN Alliance’s open architecture at a time when “profound transformation” of the mobile industry “means it’s critical to make network infrastructure available as quickly as possible”.

The target is open source software enabling modular, open, intelligent, efficient and agile disaggregated radio access networks (RAN).

Initial software projects “may” include: near real time RAN intelligent controller; non-real time RAN intelligent controller; cloudification and virtualisation platforms; open central unit; open distributed unit; 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,” the groups stated.

Andre Fuetsch, chairman of O-RAN Alliance (and CTO at AT&T) said: “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.”

In a blog post, Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge & IOT at the Linux Foundation, noted that while there have already been efforts to bring open source to software technologies such as SDN, NFV and NFV orchestration, the RAN has been dominated by proprietary technology.

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