NetworkingONF’s SD-RAN™ Now Fully Released to Open Source

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) today announced the release of its complete SD-RAN project to open source, further advancing the global open RAN movement by making available the leading open source RIC and xApp development environments to the broadest possible community.

“The journey from conceptualization to the release of SD-RAN to open source is a monumental day for the ONF and our development community who have been dedicated to furthering all aspects of the project,” said Guru Parulkar, Executive Director for the ONF. “Today’s announcement lets operators take the next big step towards deployment of a robust, secure and open source, Open RAN platform that can be uniquely customized to their needs.”

The ONF’s SD-RAN project is building open source components for open RAN, complementing the O-RAN Alliance’s focus on architecture and interfaces by building and trialing O-RAN compliant open source components. SD-RAN fosters true multi-vendor RAN solutions, demonstrating what is possible by mixing-and-matching RAN components and helping to invigorate innovation across the RAN ecosystem.

ONF’s SD-RAN implements a cloud-native near real-time RIC (nRT-RIC), an xApp development environment and a set of exemplar xApps for controlling open RAN elements (RU/DU/CU). SD-RAN is backed by a consortium of network operators who collaboratively are championing an open RAN future, including: AT&T, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Google.

Berlin SD-RAN Trial Expands
SD-RAN is the centerpiece of an ongoing outdoor field trial hosted by Deutsche Telekom (DT) in Berlin. This trial has now integrated open RAN components from eight vendors with the ONF’s SD-RAN RIC and Aether™ end-to-end 5G platform to provide live 5G services over the world’s most fully disaggregated mobile network. SD-RAN Trial participants include: AirHop, Edgecore, Facebook, Foxconn, Intel, Radisys, Supermicro, TIP and Wiwynn, and the trial is continuing to expand and diversify as additional vendor components are deployed. Aether hosts the Radisys containerized CU while the Intel® Smart Edge Open software toolkit hosts the Radisys DU to enable cloud-native deployment of the RAN workload with optimization on the 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor and Intel® vRAN Dedicated Accelerator ACC100. The Radisys CU and DU are integrated with ONF’s nRT-RIC, xApps and SD-Core 5G core. Aether’s components are interconnected with a P4-programmable Intel Tofino Intelligent Fabric Processor switch.

Visit the ONF booth at Mobile World Congress (#1F66) to meet with DT, Intel and Radisys to learn more. Vendors interested in the possibility of joining the trial are encouraged to reach out to the SD-RAN community slack or email channels.

Intel Releases Intelligent AI/ML-Driven Connection Management xApp
Demonstrating the power of open RAN and the SD-RAN open source ecosystem, Intel has released a Connection Management xApp reference implementation demonstrating the power of applying AI/ML to managing the RAN. Implementing a deep reinforcement learning (DRL) algorithm with a graph neural network (GNN) model, the xApp intelligently manages a wireless network and association of mobile user equipment with available radio cells, optimizing for user throughput, cell coverage, and load balancing. The xApp leverages Intel’s open source platforms Smart Edge Open and OpenVINO to optimize compute-intensive operations and decrease network latency. The complete developer experience kit is available here.

Getting Started with the SD-RAN Project
To learn more, a video overview of the ongoing SD-RAN field trial at Deutsche Telekom is available for on-demand viewing, and developers now have full open access to the SD-RAN documentation and github repositories. Additionally, developers are invited to join the mailing list and the bi-weekly community calls where you can track the latest developments, get your questions answered and get to know the community.


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