SD-Core Project to Help Private 5G Networks

The Open Network Foundation (ONF) is looking to its SD-Core Project to provide solutions for both 4G and 5G. Its efforts are aiming at building an open-source 4G/5G disaggregated mobile core to power private 5G and the use of networks for enterprises. “It’s a multi-core solution,” said ONF’s VP of Standards and Membership, Timon Sloane. ONF is designing the SD-Core as a platform for connectivity as a service to distribute connectivity from the cloud seamlessly. For its 5G offerings, both non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) are supported.

Sloane said that the SD-Core does include multiple User Plane Functions (UPFs), used to translate traffic into IP traffic. UPFs are helping bring to life some exciting results including, augmented reality (AR) and synchronizing robots, but for them to work properly, the UPFs must be placed near edge applications for peak performance. Working together, UPFs continue to boost the capabilities of 5G.

Private 5G networks are all the rage and continue to be of interest to the providers looking for clientele and to the enterprises looking for custom wireless solutions. A major contributor to the expansion of interest in private 5G networks stems from the last year or so of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum becoming available in the United States. This spectrum is allowing a much wider range of participants, some non-traditional to the wireless industry, the opportunity to create their own privatized 5G networks without needing a licensed operator to achieve this goal.

Even though enterprises will have more freedom to create their own private 5G networks, that doesn’t mean wireless providers and vendors aren’t finding opportunities. AT&T is already demonstrating its capabilities on college campuses, as is the case with its collaboration with UConn. Ericsson is demonstrating its private 5G network prowess by powering its factory in Texas. Verizon’s On Site 5G solution is coming along nicely, and newcomer DISH Wireless continues to persist with its own private 5G ambitions delivering these end-to-end networks using network slicing with some assistance from Oracle.

ONF also released its open-source SD-Fabric Project. Described to provide “a complete P4 programmable hybrid cloud network fabric”, programmers will be able to move custom packet processing deeper into the networking elements. “It really changes the network from being this kind of black box that just moves packets between servers to becoming a cloud-managed entity. We think it’s exactly the kind of capabilities and functionality that’s needed for some of these emerging apps,” said Sloane.

Working together with Cornell University, Princeton University, and Stanford University, ONF is collaborating on a $30 million DARPA-funded effort known as Project Pronto. Here, both ONF’s SD-Core and SD-Fabric efforts are being used, as well as ONF’s Aether which is an open-source private 4G/5G Connected-Edge-Cloud as a Service platform. The purpose of Project Pronto’s research is to focus on “creating an open-source end-to-end 5G connected edge cloud as a programmable, verifiable network with closed-loop control enabling research and demonstration of new concepts.”

Source: Fierce Wireless