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M-CORD Open Reference Solution Paves the Way for 5G Innovation

CORD Project to demonstrate open source end-to-end slicing from RAN to EPC at Mobile World Congress

MENLO PARK, Calif. Feb. 26, 2017CORD Project, the community advancing the CORD® platform for SDN, NFV and elastic cloud-based service delivery, today announces the networking industry’s first end-to-end open reference solution for mobile CORD (M-CORD) that provides the capabilities needed to unlock 5G innovation across the open networking ecosystem.

Now ready for lab explorations, M-CORD, the open reference solution for service-driven 5G architecture, includes the release of end-to-end open source slicing from programmable Radio Access Network (RAN) to disaggregated and virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and M-CORD Mini. These open source building blocks will facilitate the transition from the traditional Central Office to a virtualized data center. M-CORD was designed and developed through open source collaboration at Linux Foundation by CORD members AT&T, China Unicom, Google, Intel, Radisys, SK Telecom and Verizon, as well as collaborators Argela, Cavium, Cobham, Lime Microsystems, Quortus, Sprint, Viavi Solutions and Xpose.

“M-CORD demonstrates how virtualization, slicing and mobile edge computing can enable solutions built out of many disaggregated components,” said Guru Parulkar, executive director of Open Networking Foundation, which is merging with ON.Lab. “The mobile CORD open reference solution for 5G is an excellent proof point for how the new ONF Open Innovation Pipeline will lead to innovative new use cases, agile service delivery and ultimately a new value chain.”

Advanced Open Source LTE RAN and vEPC Reference Software

The completely pre-integrated reference software is built on the CORD platform with M-CORD distributions, including open source RAN, EPC and CORE components.

Radisys is open sourcing the industry-validated and globally tested LTE RAN software to enable service providers to adopt the M-CORD architecture. In November 2016, Radisys open sourced their modular EPC, a foundation for many products. Combining these two open source building blocks, M-CORD allows vendors to plug in the pipeline at their choosing and easily create customizable development services for a complete service provider-ready solution.

M-CORD Mini – A Package for Easy Replication and Experimentation

CORD is also fast-tracking 5G innovation through its new offering of M-CORD Mini for affordable and rapid CORD demos for performance and scale testing in a lab or field environment with minimal hardware. Running on Open Compute Project (OCP) based platforms, the M-CORD Mini will host open source mobile infrastructure services of RAN and CORE as well as open source management and a control software stack comprising ONOS, OpenStack, and XOS. The turnkey hardware infrastructure includes a Rack (4u), OCP compliant compute servers, 40G white box switch, and pre-validated Radio Resource Unit (RRU).

“M-CORD Mini allows service providers to essentially kick the M-CORD tires before they are ready to invest to scale for tens of thousands of users with the M-CORD platform,” said Aseem Parikh, Vice President of Solutions and Partnerships at ON.Lab/ONF. “Using the M-CORD Mini, development teams can design new 5G services, explore new delivery approaches and operational integrations in the lab with no hardware assembly or software integration required, lowering the barrier to entry to commercial M-CORD deployments.”

M-CORD Demos at Mobile World Congress:

The open reference M-CORD solution will be demonstrated onsite Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Feb. 27-March 2, 2017 at the following locations:

  • To learn more about M-CORD, visit Booth 5I61 in Hall 5, where ON.Lab/ONF, Radisys and other CORD contributors will demonstrate the following M-CORD demos:

○     The ON.Lab/ONF and its contributors like Argela, Cavium, Radisys, Quortus, Viavi, Xpose and others will demonstrate innovations in infrastructure and mobile services that include end-to-end slicing, Safety-as-a-Service, and analytics-as-a-service.

○     Radisys and partners will show the newest integration of M-CORD innovations run on two distinct turnkey platforms: an entry level 6U M-CORD Mini platform and a carrier grade 16U M-CORD platform, based on Radisys' DCEngine, an OCP-ACCEPTED™ CG-OpenRack-19, ready for lab and field trials.

  • Argela will show a truly portable M-CORD end-to-end RAN slicing on Cavium hardware, as well as core network slicing with co-existing virtualized Radisys open source EPC and virtualized Quortus EPC. Argela will also demonstrate programmable LTE-WiFi link aggregation and network analytics on the portable M-CORD in Hall 1 Booth 1C20.
  • Cavium will also show a complete M-CORD demonstrating with OCTEON Fusion-M RRH units and ThunderX ARM-based COTS servers in Hall 2 Booth 2M33.

Support for M-CORD:

AT&T: “The CORD architecture combines cloud, NFV and SDN to create a near real-time network cloud for agile delivery of new and innovative services that our customers have come to expect from AT&T,” said Tom Anschutz, Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T. “M-CORD takes technologies and approaches from the R-CORD system we tested in the field last year and applies them to wireless access. We are looking forward to M-CORD meeting existing and emerging mobile carrier needs, developed by an open community ecosystem that supports innovation and re-imagining how we build wireless services to meet our customers’ increasing performance and bandwidth demands.”

Cavium: “Cavium has participated in the M-CORD project in order to investigate and implement key elements of a 5G virtualized network infrastructure,” said Raj Singh, vice president and general manager of Cavium’s Networking and Communications Group. “The M-CORD focus on a fully dis-aggregated Radio Access Network (RAN) running on commercially-available hardware platforms is fully in line with Cavium’s vision of deploying workload-optimized ThunderX ARM servers to run complete end-to-end virtualized networks. Our contribution, in combination with ONOS and the broader ONF community, will allow network operators to utilize the M-CORD environment to start real life trials with a path to commercial deployment.”

China Unicom: “M-CORD provides an incredible opportunity to transform the mobile network of today to rapidly create new services that are easy to control and maintain through automated service provisioning,” said Dr. Tang Xiongyan, CTO of Network Technology Research Institute, China Unicom. “The open reference M-CORD solution and collaboration among the China CORD Industry Alliance will enable us to focus on CORD field trials and prepare for commercial deployments in the coming year.”

Google: “The M-CORD community is developing an open reference solution to provide the agility and programmability needed for 5G exploration,” said Urs Hölzle, ONF Chairman/President. “We believe that collaborating on an open source solution for SDN and NFV is the best way to enable end-to-end solutions for the 5G transition.”

Radisys: “We are excited to feature the first turnkey live M-CORD system as an open reference 5G solution in our joint booth with ON.Lab/ONF at Mobile World Congress 2017,” said Joseph Sulistyo, ‎senior director of open networking solutions, Radisys Corporation. “M-CORD brings together new innovations in RAN and CORE technology with smart mobile edge services. Radisys has contributed its open source RAN and EPC software, its DCEngine platform based on OCP’s CG-OpenRack-19 specification, and its Professional Services integration experts to deliver M-CORD as a deployment-ready, scalable solution.”

SK Telecom: “With a focus on strengthening R&D and open collaboration with the CORD Project community, SK Telecom is dedicated to advancing next-generation network ecosystems with the M-CORD end-to-end open reference solution,” said Alex Choi, Chief Technology Officer, Executive Vice President, Head of Corporate R&D Center at SK Telecom. “At SK Telecom, M-CORD is helping us develop 5G technical specifications and innovate new use cases into standards that can be commercially deployed across the globe.”

Verizon: “Open source is one of the emerging forces of transformation in the networking industry and projects like the open reference M-CORD solution hold the potential to deliver the value that edge-based services bring to the network,” said Srini Kalapala, Vice President, Global Technology and Supplier Strategy at Verizon. “Innovative architectures, platform flexibility and new applications are some of the benefits enabled by the open source CORD framework.”

The diverse CORD community comprises service provider partners AT&T, China Unicom, Google, NTT Communications, SK Telecom, and Verizon, leading vendors Ciena, Cisco, Fujitsu, Intel, NEC, Nokia, Radisys and Samsung, and more than 30 collaborating organizations.

Whether an individual or an organization, all are encouraged to get involved with the growing open source CORD community. CORD Project is hosted by The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration.

Additional Resources

About CORD Project
CORD® (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter) brings datacenter economics and cloud flexibility to the telco Central Office and to the entire access network. CORD is an open source service delivery platform that combines SDN, NFV, and elastic cloud services to network operators and service providers. It integrates ONOS, OpenStack, Docker, and XOS—all running on merchant silicon, white-box switches, commodity servers, and disaggregated access devices. The CORD reference implementation serves as a platform for multiple domains of use, with open source communities building innovative services for residential, mobile, and enterprise network customers. The CORD ecosystem comprises ON.Lab and organizations that are funding and contributing to the CORD initiative. These organizations include AT&T, China Unicom, Comcast, Google, NTT Communications Corp., SK Telecom Co. Ltd., Verizon, Ciena Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Intel Corporation, NEC Corporation, Nokia, Radisys and Samsung Electronics, Co. See the full list of members, including CORD’s collaborators, and learn how you can get involved with CORD at opencord.org.

CORD is an independently funded software project hosted by The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems.

About ON.Lab
Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) has created the leading open source platforms CORD® (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter) and ONOS® (Open Network Operating System (ONOS) for service providers. Founded by SDN’s inventors and leaders to foster an open source community to realize the full potential of SDN, ON.Lab brings innovative ideas from leading edge research and delivers high-quality open source platforms on which members of its ecosystem can build solutions. For further information, visit http://onlab.us/.

About ONF

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), the recognized leader and standard bearer for SDN.  Launched in 2011, the ONF has successfully taken Software Defined Networking (SDN) from obscurity to the universally accepted vision for next generation networking.

The ONF is led by a board including representation from leading operators including AT&T, Google, NTT Communications, SK Telecom and Verizon. The merger of ONF and ON.Lab is expected to be complete in late 2017. For further information visit https://opennetworking.org/.