ADVA has announced general availability of its Ensemble Activator, a network operating system (NOS) specifically designed for disaggregated cell site gateways (DCSGs), an important element of the emerging open cellular networks and of initiatives like Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and Open Compute Project (OCP).
Ensemble Activator was developed under the auspices of TIP, and disaggregates the software from the hardware to allow open, vendor-neutral transport infrastructure to support 5G.
Eli Angel, VP of product line management, Ethernet access at ADVA, said: “Ensemble Activator has now proven itself in a wide range of real life scenarios. These include 5G field trials where it combined with third party white box hardware to create an open and cohesive DCSG solution. By turning cost-effective bare-metal switches into powerful packet network devices, it will equip MNOs to build tomorrow’s mobile infrastructure.”
The software has gone through multiple tests with third party hardware from suppliers such as Alpha Networks, Delta and Edgecore, and integrates into existing management and control systems.
“Supporting the disaggregation of hardware and software while meeting the performance needs of the most demanding mobile networks is critical in transitioning today’s technology to open, highly scalable mobile transport architectures and enabling the mass roll-out of 5G services,” commented Luis Martin Garcia, manager of network technologies at Facebook and co-chair of the TIP DCSG group.
This falls within TIP’s broad Open Optical and Packet Transport (OOPT) work. DCSGs are being trialled or deployed by Telefónica in Germany and Ecuador, while other leading operators in the DCSG sub-group include Vodafone, Orange and TIM Brasil, which have prepared a joint RFI for this technology, to assess what the vendors, new and old, can offer in compliance with the new specs.
Other suppliers are active too. Two vendors, Aviat and Metaswitch, have cooperated to develop a product based on TIP DCSG requirements. The gateway uses Aviat’s network operating system, AOS, and a routing stack and network operating system toolkit from Metaswitch, an early pioneer in virtualized networks including the core. The combination of software runs on hardware which conforms with the TIP specs.
Two other partners, Volta Networks and Edgecore Networks, are also working on an open, virtualized cell site gateway. Volta’s cloud-native virtual routing software, the Elastic Virtual Routing Engine (VEVRE), has now been implemented on Edgecore’s AS7316-26XB open cell site gateway switch.
ADVA has also been working with Edgecore on a product to conform to the DCSG specifications, called Odyssey-DCSG. As well as the NOS, this supports open operations and management (O&M) approaches in order to allow MNOs greater freedom to select different technologies for each layer of the stack. Edgecore contributed the hardware design of the cell site gateway to TIP and it is now part of ADVA’s integrated solution.
Early this year, OOPT added a new project, focused on Disaggregated Open Routers (DOR). That bid to enable open IP/MPLS routers is led by KDDI and Vodafone, with vendor support from ADVA, Delta, Edgecore Networks, Exaware, Infinera, Ufispace and Volta Networks, many of which are also participating in other OOPT initiatives.