Home > Firecell and OpenAirInterface Software Alliance announce the First-ever community project for building a Private 5G platform in open source for enterprise use cases.

Firecell and OpenAirInterface Software Alliance announce the First-ever community project for building a Private 5G platform in open source for enterprise use cases.

company
June 10, 2022
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Zineb Gdali

Firecell, a Member of the Strategic Board of the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance announced today the launch of a new project to make available the first-ever complete open-source software for Private 5G networks with OAI and announced a dozen pilots.

Nice, France June 10, 2022 – Private 5G enables thousands of new applications for enterprises such as real-time control and monitoring of a production chain, AI-driven video surveillance, indoor tracking of tools or Augmented Reality for remote maintenance. The Private 5G market is heating up and will grow exponentially over the next 10 years. It is expected to reach tens of millions of private networks, on a global scale by 2030. 

Private 5G is a profound shift for the telecom industry: the overall ecosystem is switching from a carrier-centric world to an enterprise game. This paradigm shift and the overall value chain enables a whole new level of flexibility, affordability, and scalability. 

“The Private 5G market deserves an innovative approach, and open-source software has proven to be the fastest way to spread a technology across a wide range of applications, cloud and hardware ecosystems,” said Claude Seyrat, CEO and Co-Founder, Firecell. “We are very proud of the support of the OpenAirInterface in our vision to make 5G more open than ever with the development of a complete open source software for Private 5G Networks.”

OpenAirInterface, the most comprehensive open source 5G 

The OpenAirInterface (OAI) is an open-source software that supports all the essential functions of a private network including the Radio Access Network (RAN) and Core Network (CN). Created 15 years ago by leading Telecom Research Institute EURECOM, the OpenAirInterface software supports the most recent 5G specifications including 5G-SA, O-RAN compatibility and disaggregated RAN. 

The OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA) leads the evolution of the software together with a growing community of developers from 100’s of companies and universities from around the world. Its strategic members include leaders in their fields including AMD, Firecell, Fujitsu, InterDigital, Meta Connectivity, National Instruments, Nvidia, Orange, PAWR, Qualcomm, and Sequans Communications.

“After 15 years of hard work OpenAirInterface is now very strongly positioned by offering a rich feature set. The stack supports all the key components allowing for building a private network including the 5G RAN and the 5G Core Network,” said Irfan Ghauri, Director of Operations, OpenAirInterface Software Alliance. “The OSA fosters the OAI community, manages the feature integration process through our CICD and testing framework and actively contributes to supporting our members’ work on the path towards their use-cases. This particular project of our partner, Firecell, has support of many within our community in that we are together delivering a feature-complete tested high-performance stack. Organizations like Firecell believing in the OAI stack as a viable solution is a powerful message to the world that OAI is robust enough to be used as base software for addressing markets such as the enterprise market that Firecell considers the next frontier in wireless telecoms.”

The Open Private 5G project led by Firecell 

Firecell coordinates the Private 5G project and commits development resources to develop the open-source software. The project will make use of the OAI software base as well as other open source software to build a complete, cloud-native solution for Private 5G. 

The project covers the whole 5G software stack including a completely converged 4G and 5G core and an O-RAN compatible Radio Access Network. The stack fully conforms to 3GPP, O-RAN and Small Cell forum specifications. Specific features will be added over the next months to support a broad range of Industrial IoT use cases including LTE-M, NB-IoT and CBRS. 

The OpenAirInterface Software Alliance supports the project with resources and expertise. In its role as the host of a community. OAI will continue to manage the quality and consistency of the overall OAI software across all projects including the Private 5G project led by Firecell

A dozen pilots are in preparation with major industrial players within the automotive, aeronautics, railway, and smart-building sectors. The first announcement was with the car manufacturer Stellantis (owner of Jeep, Chrysler, Peugeot and Fiat) with the objective of performing precise tracking and geo-fencing of tools on a factory plan. 

Open Source 5G speeds up the market 

The purpose of open source is to deploy faster software that is cheaper, reliable and more secure. 

Open-source software has become the foundation on which our digital economy is built. The Linux Foundation’s 2022 Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) reports that 98% of organizations use open source regularly. A European Union report showed that open-source software boosted the European Union economy by 95 billion euros. 

In the context of 5G, open source enables every player in the value chain to innovate and to develop their own solutions at an unequaled speed:

  • CPU vendors can optimize the 5G RAN code to work best with their own CPUs
  • Baseband chipset vendors can speed up their R&D to cope with the rapid evolution of 3GPP standard
  • 5G RU vendors can confirm their O-RAN support and propose a complete solution with both hardware and software to their customers
  • System integrators can ease the integration of 5G to their customer’s specific infrastructure and can support their customers far more proactively and effectively
  • Software vendors can develop new proprietary innovations much faster by relying on a stable code base e.g. cybersecurity, analytics, computer vision, asset tracking, ..

Open Source has shown how powerful it can be for the enterprise market with the spread of operating systems such as Linux or databases such as MySQL. 5G and wireless communication are the next software stack to be conquered by open source.

Open Letter to the Community

Firecell and the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance welcome all contributions on all layers of the software stack. 

Firecell and OpenAirInterface are also hiring internationally to keep up with the strong  demand for talent to address such massive innovation. If you or your organization wishes to contribute to the Private 5G project, please fill in this contact form to join the project.

About Firecell 

The company aims at democratizing private networks so they can benefit all enterprises irrespective of  their size. Firecell believes open source software is the way forward in telecom and the company thrives by helping the whole industry reduce the complexity and cost of private network deployments. For more information, please visit firecell.io. 

About OpenAirInterface Software Alliance 

The OSA was founded in 2014 by EURECOM, a research institute in the south of France. The Alliance manages and promotes OpenAirInterface (OAI) open-source software that offers 4G and 5G as well as Core Network stacks. The OAI software is used by many different organizations across the world for purposes of research and testing as well as for building blocks of systems for different 4G/5G use-cases, some of them industrial. Today, AMD, Firecell.io, Fujitsu, InterDigital, Meta Connectivity, National Instruments, Nvidia, Orange, PAWR, Qualcomm, and Sequans Communications are represented on the Board of Directors of the OSA as Strategic Members.

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¹ https://linuxfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/LFResearch_SBOM_Report_final.pdf

² https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/library/study-about-impact-open-source-software-and-hardware-technological-independence-competitiveness-and`

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