Monday, April 11, 2022

Intel acquires the Open Networking Foundation's team

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), which was established in 2011 with a mission of transforming networking by championing software-defined networking (SDN), disaggregation and open source, has released all of its projects to open source with permissive software licenses as it transitions away from code development by an internal team. To this end, ONF has open sourced the entirety of its portfolio of production-ready platforms, including solutions for public 5G (SD-Core, SD-RAN), private 5G networks (Aether), software-defined broadband (SEBA/VOLTHA) and P4 programmable networks (SD-Fabric, PINS).

As part of the announcement, it was disclosed that Intel has acquired the Open Networking Foundation's (ONF’s) development team and Ananki, the independent venture-backed company that was recently spun out of the ONF to deliver open source-based Software-Defined Private 5G as a commercial service. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The ONF Executive Director, Guru Parulkar has joined Intel as VP of its Network and Edge Group under Nick McKeown, founding ONF board member and Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Network and Edge Group at Intel. In addition, the majority of ONF’s internal development team will transition to be employed by Intel.

Timon Sloane will lead the ONF as General Manager, and new Area Governance Boards will be formed to steer the major project areas as ONF transitions into a more classic open source organization.

“ONF has made important contributions to the industry with its software-defined development projects, and I am confident that its move to a community-sourced model as part of its next stage of growth will fuel further contributions as the industry and its needs advance,” said Nick McKeown, founding ONF board member and Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Network and Edge Group at Intel. “As a result of ONF’s shift in direction, we are pleased to welcome ONF’s development team to Intel. We look forward to our continued contributions to ONF projects, the ongoing success of ONF-developed platforms, and our active participation in the ONF community.”

“ONF’s journey has been transformational,” said Guru Parulkar, VP Intel NEX and Board Member, ONF. “In collaboration with our partners, our small amazing team has challenged the status quo and ignited the SDN movement. We have built platforms that naysayers said were doomed to fail, we’ve proven what’s possible, and today a number of our platforms have been deployed in production networks and others are now production ready and expected to be broadly adopted. I’m exceptionally proud of our team and of the work we have accomplished to date - but our work is not done. Today we are simply shifting to a new model optimized for the next phase of our transformative journey towards open networking. While ONF’s engineering team is moving to Intel, the work of ONF proceeds unabated, and I’m more bullish than ever that its impact will continue to grow.”

ONF spins out Ananki, a start-up focused on private 5G

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) launched Ananki, an independent venture-backed company to deliver open source-based Software-Defined Private 5G as a commercial service to address enterprises’ unique requirements of Industry 4.0. The ambition is to enable enterprise private 5G that is hardened and optimized for industrial applications, yet as easy to consume as Wi-Fi.

Ananki’s technological foundation is ONF’s open source Aether, SD-RAN, SD-Fabric and SD-Core projects. The company will offer a private 5G solution delivered as a SaaS. 

Key attributes:

  • Optimized 5G+ Experience - Software-defined, automated, AI powered, application optimized connectivity, with enhanced security enabled by a programmable data plane 
  • Cloud First - pre-integrated with hyperscaler cloud and edge, delivering private 5G as a SaaS service, creating a continuously improving experience running on any multi-cloud platform
  • Industry 4.0 Ready - Empowering developers to build transformative IoT, IIoT and OT solutions with rich APIs

“ONF continues to innovate in ways that magnify the power of open systems and open source across our industry. The ONF board recognizes that the lack of support for open source initiatives from commercial companies remains an inhibiting factor for scaled adoption. To meet this challenge, we have agreed to spin out Ananki as an independent company to pursue commercialization of Aether with a view that this will help accelerate the adoption and impact of open source,” states Andre Fuetsch, ONF Board Chair and AT&T CTO.

Guru Parulkar, Executive Director ONF and CEO of Ananki, comments: “Ananki is broadening the impact of the ONF’s work, and will help ONF’s Aether become much more broadly adopted.  By providing a commercially supported option for consuming Aether, many more organizations will be able to easily and economically leverage the benefits of Private 5G for building Industry 4.0 solutions.  And in turn, Ananki is committed to contributing back to the ONF open source, helping to advance the Aether platform and broaden the ONF community.”

 ONF's Aether Edge Cloud selected for DARPA's Pronto Project

The Open Networking Foundation's Aether 5G Connected Edge Cloud platform is being used as the software platform for Pronto, a project backed by $30 million in DARPA funding to develop secure 5G network infrastructure. Specifically, DARPA is funding ONF to build, deploy and operate the network to support research by Cornell, Princeton and Stanford universities in the areas of network verification and closed-loop control. 

Aether (pronounced ‘ee-ther’) provides mobile connectivity and edge cloud services for distributed enterprise networks, all provisioned and managed from a centralized cloud. ONF will enhance and deploy its open source Aether software platform as the foundation for the Pronto research work, and in turn the research results will be open sourced back into Aether to help advance Aether as a platform for future secure 5G network infrastructure.

One of Pronto's goals is "to leverage network programmability to enable deep and wide network visibility, verification, and closed-loop control, giving programmers tools to build and dynamically deploy customized network functionality in a secure and reliable manner."

ONF also confirmed that it is now running a beta production deployment of Aether.  This deployment is a single unified cloud managed network interconnecting the project’s commercial partners AT&T, Ciena, Intel, Google, NTT, ONF and Telefonica. This initial deployment supports CBRS and/or 4G/LTE radio access at all sites, and is cloud managed from a shared core running in the Google public cloud.

The University campuses are being added to this Aether deployment in support of Pronto. Campus sites will be used by Pronto researchers to advance the Pronto research, serving as both a development platform and a testbed for use case experimentation. The Aether footprint is expected to grow on the university campuses as Aether’s 5G Connected Edge Cloud capabilities are leveraged both for research on additional use cases as well as for select campus operations.

ONF's Aether targets Enterprise 5G/LTE-Edge-Cloud-as-a-Service

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced Aether – the first open-source platform for delivering Enterprise 5G/LTE-Edge-Cloud-as-a-Service.

Aether (pronounced ‘ee-ther’) provides mobile connectivity and edge cloud services for distributed enterprise networks, all provisioned and managed from a centralized cloud.

Aether leverages existing work from ONF including the CORD and ONOS platforms. It can be run in a Kubernetes environment, and it simultaneously supports deployment on licensed (4G/5G) and unlicensed (CBRS) spectrum.

IOWN Global Forum's Vision 2030 Roadmap

The IOWN Global Forum, which is pursuing the vision of an Innovative Optical and Wireless Network based on next generation photonics-based technologies, published its Vision 2030 Roadmap. The consortium said has completed Phase 1 of its mission and is now moving onto Phase 2, which includes designing Proof of Concepts for some of the world’s most advanced communications technologies.

“We are progressing steadily towards achieving our 2030 goals for a more connected world,” said Katsuhiko Kawazoe, Ph.D., President and Chairperson of the board, IOWN Global Forum. “The finalization of our Roadmap and other key work items showcases how far we’ve come and a path for delivering the communications infrastructure of tomorrow. Now more than ever, this is the ideal time for innovators to join with us to build the future.”

The Vision 2030 Roadmap summarizes the group’s plan to realize reliable, high-speed, low-latency data and communications paths over an all-optical data transport layer using a data-centric infrastructure. The IOWN Global Forum’s technical reference documents focus on the network architecture framework and methodologies for moving data in faster and more energy-efficient ways than what is available today.

Now the organization’s focus will shift to developing the technical specifications needed to build reference implementations and Proof of Concepts based on adopting IOWN technologies. The learnings gained from these next work items will inform a clearer view of how the group’s technical concepts, such as Open All-Photonics Network (Open APN), Data-Centric Infrastructure (DCI), and Data Hub, will be implemented in future real-world applications.

In addition, the IOWN Global Forum said it will continue to build new liaison relationships with other organizations to align and complement the various aspects of its respective work and standardization efforts.

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Turkcell and Ericsson target Industry 4.0 with Private 5G

Turkcell and Ericsson signed a collaboration agreement for the digital transformation of industries utilizing Ericsson Private Network solution. 

The companies will explore use cases for different industries in Turkey like smart manufacturing, oil and gas, ports, airports, energy and utilities, and mining. Use cases range from tracking assets, real-time automation to enhanced productivity, optimizing business operations through digital twins and data-driven insights, performing better site inspections or remote-controlled robotics to increase worker safety, and leveraging the capabilities of digital technologies such as Augmented Reality to enhance worker capabilities.

Ceyhun Özata, Executive Vice President for Corporate Sales at Turkcell says: “We are always looking ahead in our digital journey. Partnering with Ericsson on the Private Network solution contributes to the digital transformation of enterprises and industries in Turkey. With the support of Ericsson's leadership and ecosystem of Industry 4.0 partners, we will benefit from a high-performance, secure, and flexible private network that will open doors to numerous use cases in the diverse pool of industries in Turkey.”

The collaboration is driven by the successful deployment of the Ericsson Private Network trial that was conducted recently at the beginning of February in the Turkcell Office.

Netomnia secures £295 million for UK fibre rollout

Netomnia, a provider of full fibre broadband infrastructure based in the UK, secured £295 million in new funding led by DigitalBridge Investment Management. DigitalBridge’s equity investment will come alongside follow-on commitments from existing shareholders Soho Square Capital LLP and Advencap Limited.

Netomnia has achieved more than 130,000 premises passed since rollout commenced in 2020.

“We are thrilled to partner with DigitalBridge and benefit from their support and industry expertise as we work towards our target of one million premises passed in the next two years. We are scaling rapidly and aim to play an active role in unleashing the UK’s digital potential by delivering the benefits that come with multi-gigabit fibre broadband," states Jeremy Chelot, founder of Netomnia.