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Community Member Profile: Ajay Lotan Thakur

Jan 19, 2024
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This community member profile features Ajay Lotan Thakur, a Cloud Software Architect at Intel Corporation. He is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and contributes actively to the Aether community.

Picture1 jpgAjay is a Technical Steering Team (TST) member of the ONF's SD-Core, SD-RAN, and Aether projects. He is an early contributor and maintainer of the SD-Core (Private 4G, 5G) project. His primary contributions to the ONF project include the implementation of the Cloud Native SD-Core, the creation of a single configuration interface for SD-Core, and the development of the 5G test tool (gNBSim), which is actively utilized by the community. He collaborates with other community members on code reviews, design reviews, and troubleshooting issues raised by members.

"My experience working within the Aether community has been really great owing to its diversity. Community members include researchers, students, industry specialists, and, on occasion, professors. I enjoy interacting with community members that are working on either cloud native or private 4G/5G features. It gives me joy to know that I am contributing to the activities. Members from the industrial background, on the other hand, have some fascinating use cases and are attempting to learn how to use the project for a specific purpose. Working at Aether is unusual since you are surrounded by intelligent, well-read individuals. It's an excellent platform for interacting with unknown members and assisting them in achieving their goals. Not to forget it’s great to have opportunity to work with other Aether TST colleagues which includes Prof. Larry Peterson (TST Chair), Prof. Muhammad Shahbaz, Scott Baker, Sean Condon, Woojoong Kim, Gabriel Arrobo. TST Chair Prof. Larry has been known for his successful open-source initiatives, guiding researchers and shaping industry. Prof.Shahbaz has been actively doing research in 5G and the rest of the members have a great mix of Industry & research background.”

Ajay received his undergraduate degree in Engineering - Electronics and Telecommunications from SVPM's College of Engineering Malegaon (BK) Pune in 2002, followed by a Masters in Telecommunication Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru in 2004.

After graduating from college, Ajay joined NetDevices India Pvt Ltd (California based startup), which was eventually acquired by Alcatel Lucent. Alcatel Lucent is renowned for telecom and enterprise products. NetDevices was the first company to develop integrated service gateways for small offices. He was responsible for delivering the routing protocol stack for the product and wrote the most complex SIP ALG to support Voice over IP for enterprise customers. In 2009, Ajay joined Starent Network, the industry leader in 3G core network products, with over 300 operators worldwide adopting their product. It was incredible to be a part of the team that developed a 4G product from the ground up and began launching it into the market in 2009. Starent Network was already a 3G and 4G market leader when Cisco Corp acquired it in late 2009. Ajay was responsible for delivering simulators for all 4G products and he was also responsible for GTPv2 protocol development for all 4G products (MME, SGW, PGW, ePDG, SGSN, S4-SGSN). During his Cisco employment, he had worked with several tier-1 clients throughout the world and resolved their network challenges. He recalls several occurrences that were significant and turning points in his career, including working with Telecom operators to troubleshoot their live network. It was entertaining, challenging, and frustrating all at the same time enabling learning from these experiences was crucial.

Ajay left Cisco as Technical Leader in Engineering to join a startup "Affirmed Network," which was the top provider of virtualized packet core networks (4G solutions). During his three years at affirmed, he was a member of the IoT group, which created CSGN, SCEF and shortly began working on early 5G micro services-based implementation. Ajay left Affirmed to embark on an exciting new chapter of his life in the United States. He began working for the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) as a Member of Technical Staff. During his time at ONF, he was the SD-Core Lead and a key contributor to the SD-Core and Aether development. Ajay began working for Intel following Intel's acquisition of Ananki. Ajay now works at Intel Corp Canada and continues to serve as a TST member on ONF's Aether, SD-Core and SD-RAN projects. Ajay has joined the Network & Edge Group, where he works on Project Strata. Project Strata, recently announced at Intel Innovation, is an edge-native software platform developed to empower developers to build, deploy and manage distributed edge infrastructure and apps, bringing together Intel and third-party vertical applications.

Ajay was born in Dhule, a small city in the northern state of Maharashtra, India. He was brought up in Pune. He enjoys eating Indian food and occasionally cooks it. When he is not working, Ajay likes traveling with his wife and daughter. When he is not traveling, he enjoys taking his daughter snow skating, swimming, and to the library. Ajay likes learning the piano from his daughter. Ajay and his family took their first eight-day road trip around Canada at the end of last summer, visiting all the major lakes in Ontario, Canada.

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