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3 May 2022

Canonical releases real time kernel targeted at Open RAN

By Wireless Watch Staff

Canonical, the German company that develops the Ubuntu Linux distribution, has had various attempts to take a bigger position in the mobile market. The launch of a mobile version of Ubuntu, as a rival to Android, fizzled out, but now there are potentially more fruitful opportunities in the emergence of virtualized and Open RAN.

The more the network is virtualized on cloud infrastructure, the more Linux-based operating systems will be embedded in the mobile infrastructure as well as the Android devices. Canonical was highlighted last year, when five major European operators published a study of the local Open RAN ecosystem, as an EU-based firm that could play an influential role in this platforms.

Now Canonical has announced the latest release of Ubuntu, called 22.04 LTS, highlighting the new real time kernel as a feature of relevance to telcos. The company said in its announcement: “Designed to meet telco network transformation needs for 5G, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS with the real time kernel delivers performance, guaranteed ultra-low latency, and security for critical infrastructure.”

Importantly, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS has been validated to run with Intel’s FlexRAN reference architecture, which has established a powerful position in early trials and developments of vRAN or Cloud-RAN. Dan Lynch, marketing director at Intel, commented in a statement: “Ubuntu 22.04 LTS’s real time kernel unlocks low-latency use cases for real time applications like Cloud-RAN. Together with Canonical, we have validated Intel’s FlexRAN SDK to enable OpenRAN implementations requiring pre-emptive real time kernel capabilities to meet 5G latency requirements.”

“The real time kernel in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS leverages the acceleration from Intel hardware, allowing us to compete on even terms with the biggest network equipment providers”, said Radoslaw Adamczyk, technical lead at IS-Wireless, another European player in the nascent Open RAN ecosystem. “Now we have one platform for the whole stack, from bare metal with mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) to Ubuntu OS, LXD VM [Linux containers] and MicroKubernetes on the edge – tested, validated, verified and secure.”