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Open Source Infrastructure Software for vRAN Deployment and Operation

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© HEAVY READING | WIND RIVER | OPEN SOURCE INFRASTRUCTURE SOFTWARE | AUGUST 2019 5 growing, as this allows the same server hardware to be used for radio and other cloud applications, driving economies of scale and common operating models. Silicon vendors are increasingly developing air interface software to sell with their products. Although these typically are not commercially-ready stacks, they leverage open source and provide a starting point for further development. Additionally, several important trends are driving a transition to COTS-based radios. Most notably, a "white box radio" market is emerging thanks to open fronthaul interfaces from Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and the O-RAN Alliance. Because radios use embedded software, these white box radios are not comparable to white box switches or universal customer premises equipment (uCPE), in the sense that it is not possible/practical to run different vendor software on the radio hardware. However, radio products and reference designs are now available from multiple independent suppliers. COTS will bring some of the commercial benefits associated with white box switches/servers to the RAN. STARLINGX EDGE VIRTUALIZATION PLATFORM StarlingX is designed to be a deployment-ready infrastructure software stack to manage cloud assets and applications running at geographically dispersed far edge locations. It is a horizontal edge cloud stack that can support a broad range of applications across sectors such as industrial Internet of Things (IoT), transportation, roadside compute, smart cities, smart buildings, video distribution, mixed reality, uCPE, etc. StarlingX is especially suitable for applications with demanding latency and reliability requirements. Regarding the mobile network, the scale of the edge opportunity is what makes it a target for StarlingX. The focus on performance also correlates closely with the ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC), massive IoT, and mobile broadband services that 5G is designed to support. The StarlingX project was launched by the OpenStack Foundation, with support from Intel and Wind River, in May 2018. The software is offered under an Apache open source license. Its first release was in autumn 2018, with a second release scheduled for Q3 2019. The unique challenges of edge deployment addressed by StarlingX include the following: • Ability to manage assets across large numbers of multi-edge locations. For example, a largish European mobile network might have thousands of aggregation sites and around 20,000 cell sites. • Need for automation. It is not practical to send staff to edge locations on a frequent basis, making zero-touch provisioning, operations, and life cycle management critical to the operation of a far edge RAN. This is one of the key objectives of StarlingX, and it could make a big contribution to vRAN efficiency. • Support for multiple use cases. Edge services may have diverse performance requirements. For example, a 5G campus network deployed for industrial IoT must support 6x9s availability and millisecond latency, while a smart city camera network must support very high area-traffic densities. • Locations may be environmentally challenging. Relative to data centers, edge sites may have access restrictions, power restrictions, weather exposure, non- redundant backhaul, etc. Hardened, integrated server/network equipment and/or Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) compliance may be required.

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