The mission of the OpenAirInterfaceTM Software Alliance (OSA) is to provide software and tools for 5G Wireless Research and Product Development.
Why is there a need of Open Source for 5G?
The current generation of hardware/software for radio access network (RAN) consist of large numbers of proprietary elements that stifle innovation and increase the cost for the operators to deploy new services/application in an ever-changing fast paced cellular networks. Open source software running on general purpose processors (such as x86, ARM) can greatly simplify network access, reduce cost, increase flexibility, improve innovation speed and accelerate time-to-market for introduction of new services.There is already a movement going on within the industry on the development of Software Defined Networking (SDN) concepts to open the proprietary interfaces to control the RAN hardware/software. At the same time, open-source has made a very significant impact in the extremities of current networks, namely in the terminals due to the Android ecosystem and in cloud infrastructure due, in part, to the OpenStack ecosystem. We believe an open source implementation of fully real-time stack (eNB, UE and core network) on general purpose processors when combined with SDN, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and OpenStack and bring significant efficiency in RAN design from both innovation and cost perspective.
What is the OSA?
Established in 2014, the OSA is a French non-profit organization (“Fonds De Dotation”), funded by corporate sponsors. Our board comprises of the representatives from strategic/associate members of the alliance.
The OSA provides an established framework for intellectual property and financial contributions to contribute to the software development while at the same time limiting potential legal exposure for our project committers. The alliance also promotes meritocratic process in which individual members can contribute to the OSA software development of the core software or the projects run by various member corporations/non-profit organizations. The alliance is also responsible for organizing events/trainings and conferences around OpenAirInterfaceTM (OAI) software. The alliance also intends to provide an open collaboration amongst its member community to foster innovation and work on future 5G wireless network design.
What does OSA currently offer?
OSA currently provides a standard-compliant implementation of a subset of Release 10 LTE for UE, eNB, MME, HSS, SGw and PGw on standard Linux-based computing equipment (Intel x86 PC/ARM architectures). The software is freely distributed by the Alliance under the terms stipulated by the OSA license model. It can be used in conjunction with standard RF laboratory equipment available in many labs (i.e. National Instruments/Ettus USRP and PXIe platforms) in addition to custom RF hardware provided by EURECOM to implement these functions to a sufficient degree to allow for real-time interoperation with commercial devices. Some industrial users have already been working on OpenAirInterfaceTM (OAI)-based systems integrated with commercially-deployable remote radio-head equipment and have provided demonstrations at major industrial tradeshows (Mobile World Congress Asia 2014, Mobile World Congress Barcelona in 2013, IMIC 2013). The primary future objective is to provide an open-source reference implementation which follows the 3GPP standardization process starting from Rel-13 and the evolutionary path towards 5G and that is freely-available for experimentation on commodity laboratory equipment.
What are OSA 5G strategic vectors?
The 5G cellular network evolution is under lot of debate amongst industry and academia. However, we have established several work areas which are regularly evaluated by the board of members in which alliance invests to ensure that OSA software meets the requirements of these strategic areas. The more information about these work areas is located here.
How are OSA and its projects governed?
The OSA elects board of directors as following:
- Six representatives from the founding member (EURECOM)
- One representative of each strategic member
- The associate members elect amongst themselves one representative each year
There is a limit of 18 board of directors in the OSA Bylaws. The board then elects several officers which are responsible for running day-to-day business of the alliance. Currently, those officers are following:
- President: To oversee the entire alliance activities
- General Secretary: To oversee the technical and management structure of the alliance.
- Treasurer: To oversee the finances of the alliance
The OSA projects can be created by strategic/associate/ordinary members within the alliance strategic areas subject to the approval of the board. The project consists of Project leader and project management committee, which collectively report to their respective 5G strategic Area leader. The projects should be either created within the context of 5G strategic areas or they can also be generic projects focusssing on long-term functionality, for example (eNB/UE/Core Network).