Linux Foundation, Google Cloud launch Nephio to automate 5G edge sites

The Linux Foundation partnered with Google Cloud and others to create a new open source project called Nephio. It aims to create cloud-native automation and management of 5G networks across multiple edge locations.

The project has support from several founding organizations. Interestingly, most of the service provider founders are not based in the U.S. They include Bharti Airtel, Bell Canada, Jio, Orange, Rakuten Mobile, TIM and Telus, to name a few. But none of the big-name U.S. service providers are founding members.

Several vendors are getting in at the start as well, including ARM, Casa Systems, Ericsson, F5, Intel, Juniper, Mavenir, Nokia, Parallel Wireless, Vmware and more.

“Telecommunication companies are looking for new solutions for managing their cloud-ready and cloud-native infrastructures as well as their 5G networks,” said Amol Phadke, managing director of Telecom Industry Products & Solutions at Google Cloud, in a statement. “We look forward to working alongside The Linux Foundation, and our partners, in the creation of Nephio to set an industry open standard for Kubernetes-based intent automation that will result in faster and better-connected, cloud-native networks of the future.”

Nephio will not provide cloud infrastructure nor network functions. According to its website, Nephio will use Kubernetes container management as a uniform automation control plane in each site to configure all aspects of the distributed cloud and network functions.

Manish Gangey, SVP and head of R&D at Bharti Airtel, said, “Zero touch deployment, configuration and operations of network functions predominantly on the edge of the network and in multi-cloud and multi-vendor scenarios is a significant challenge for all operators across the globe. A cloud-native orchestration and automation approach is the absolute need of the hour.”