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ONF and TIP Announce Liaison Agreement

Nov 13, 2019
Timon Sloane
Timon Sloane About the author

Today the ONF and TIP (Telecom Infra Project) announced an expansion of their collaboration into both the mobile and fixed broadband domains

The ONF and TIP are synergistic organizations.  Both organizations are operator led and share the common goal of driving transformation in the telecom market to reduce costs and increase the availability of connectivity for end users.  The primary differences between the organizations are:

  • ONF takes a software centric approach leveraging disaggregation, white boxes and open source
  • TIP focuses on creating robust availability of white box hardware for the telecom space

These differences are actually mutually beneficial.  TIP is fostering availability of white box hardware that the ONF can use in platforms and solutions.  ONF is creating open source software that can run on the TIP hardware as an optional software stack (with other stacks coming from commercial offerings or elsewhere).  In this way TIP increases the availability of hardware options for ONF solutions, and the ONF offers an open source alternative for TIP hardware platforms.With this announcement, ONF and TIP are expanding a collaboration that started earlier this year between our respective optical projects, the ONF’s ODTN and TIP’s OOPT.  This collaboration quickly began producing great results, including an impending field trial in South America, and has thus demonstrated the potential for the additional forms of collaboration being announced today.

Mobile Network Initiatives

In the mobile domain, the ONF and TIP have ongoing work that can follow this same model leveraging ONF software and TIP hardware platforms.  There are a number of possible collaborations, including:

  • Integrating TIP’s OpenRAN 5GNR hardware platforms with an enhanced version of ONF's Open Evolved Mobile Core (OMEC) platform to create a Non-Standalone (NSA) end-to-end solution. 
  • Integration with ONF’s ONOS-based O-RAN compliant RIC controller for 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) networks to allow for programmatic, policy-driven control of the RAN.  
  • Integration with ONF’s planned RAN-DU and RAN-CU software stacks based on the O-RAN architecture.  ONF plans to develop such stacks based on O-RAN specifications, leveraging O-RAN Software Community components.

In these ways, the ONF/TIP collaboration will be helping to drive innovation across the mobile ecosystem.

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Figure 1: ONF Architecture with OpenRAN 5G NR

Ultimately, this collaboration will further explore the integration with ONF’s Converged Multi-Access and Core (COMAC) platform.  This work can help introduce 5G as a component of a converged wired/wireless platform, enabling a new range of converged networks and services.

Fixed Broadband Initiatives

The ONF’s SDN-Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA) platform for broadband access is currently focused on delivering a deployment grade platform for PON networks.  While the community is hard at work on taking this solution to production, the vision for SEBA has always been to add support for additional access technologies.

TIP has expertise in the development of mmWave wireless mesh networks and associated provisioning mechanisms and routing protocols.   A mmWave network is a fixed wireless broadband access technology, and operator interest has led to the plan to add mmWave as an access option under the SEBA platform.

The scope for the initial collaboration will be the integration of TIP mmWave mesh networks with the ONF SEBA architecture as part of a solution simultaneously supporting multiple access technologies.

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Figure 2: ONF SEBA Architecture with Fixed Wireless Access

Perspectives from Leading Operators Deutsche Telekom & Sprint

“Deutsche Telekom believes in the essential role of open standards, hardware and software disaggregation and fast prototyping in the quick and cost effective deployment of new equipment and services,” said Dr. Andreas Gladisch, Vice President, Emerging Technologies, Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom and co-chair of the TIP mmWave Networks Project Group. “We welcome this initiative between TIP and ONF to explore hybrid access networks using PON, mmWave and other wired and wireless technologies under an SDN architecture.”

“Sprint is a proponent of the power of community to accelerate network transformation and is already an active participant in the work of both TIP and ONF,” said Dr. Durga Satapathy, Director of Technology Innovation & Architecture at Sprint and co-chair of TIP OpenRAN 5GNR Project Group. “Sprint is delighted to see TIP and ONF collaborating to accelerate open and disaggregated 5G network solutions.”

Visit ONF at the TIP Summit in Amsterdam

ONF will be in participating in the TIP Summit, which takes place at RAI, Amsterdam, Netherlands from November 13 to 14. The event features a vast global community deploying the next great telecom infrastructure.   To learn more about the event, go to https://summit.telecominfraproject.com/

To learn more about TIP, please visit us at https://telecominfraproject.com/

To learn more about ONF, please visit us at https://opennetworking.org/

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Timon SloaneVP, Marketing & Ecosystem
Timon Sloane is the vice president of marketing and ecosystem of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). He leads the organization’s efforts building an open source ecosystem, thus helping to enable broad transformation of the networking industry through the adoption open source business practices.