ONF to showcase CORD, 5G breakthroughs at MWC

data center (pixabay)
ONF expects to showcase a number of edge cloud innovations at the show. (Pixabay)

The Open Networking Forum (ONF) has been busy preparing a number of industry firsts to showcase at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona at the end of this month, and that’s no more evident than in the sheer number of players it’s managed to get on board in a short time.

Their message: Service providers from around the world have been embracing CORD, and the demonstrations at MWC will show all the benefits going into fueled adoption, including a bunch of industry firsts, including, to name a few:

  • New 100x performance, cost, power and space savings enabled by hardware-based VNF acceleration with SDN
  • Interoperability with ETSI MEC, demonstrating flexibility of the CORD architecture and effort to work with the broadest possible community of stakeholders
  • Demonstrations of the power of open source with 17 collaborating organizations that create a single unified 5G demo in just three months

Included in the showcase is multivendor programmable P4 fabric, including switches featuring Barefoot, Cavium and Mellanox switching silicon; facial recognition support leveraging GPU acceleration contributed by Arm; and end-to-end CORD integration from Ciena.

Aside from the technical advancements, the bigger story may be the cooperation of so many companies, some of which are rivals in business.

“To be able to do this kind of integration and the technological advancement this rapidly, with this mix of players … I think is truly remarkable,” Timon Sloane, VP of marketing and ecosystem at ONF, told FierceWirelessTech.

MWC sponsors for this include Arm, Barefoot Networks, Intel, Mariner Partners, Netsia and Radisys. Operators include AT&T, China Unicom, Comcast, Deutsche Telekom, Google, NTT Group and Turk Telecom. The technology collaborators include Cavium, Ciena, Mellanox and the ONOS Project.

Of course, the network operators are looking for the latest innovations and the most nimble and efficient ways to add new services to be competitive and successful in their markets.

Whereas 10 or more years ago they might have built it all on their own, now they're looking to open source and shared resources. “This is just a new way of going about it,” Sloane said. “It’s a fundamental shift in thinking.”  

Open source is free to download, but it’s not so much about “free” as it is a shared investment. “We think it’s a very exciting time for telecom and this is just a taste for things to come,” he said.