Aug 19, 2019 Linux / Open Source

5G moving from hype to reality, with Ericsson as an industry leader

By Jeff Gowan

Recently I’ve seen a couple of interesting items on the topic of 5G.

The first is, “Ericsson Rides 5G Wave Across Asia, North America” from SDX Central. The article summarizes some key points gleaned from a recent Ericsson earnings call with analysts. Some of the most interesting points were:

“Ericsson is riding a wave of 5G momentum and says its products are deployed in about two-thirds of all commercially launched 5G networks to date. ‘5G is rapidly gaining momentum around the world and 5G is now launched in four continents,’ CEO Börje Ekholm said.

“Ericsson’s total sales grew 7% during the second quarter and revenue in Ericsson’s networks division grew 11% year-over-year, driven largely by network deployments in North America and northeast Asia where the earliest 5G networks got off the ground.”

“We continue to invest in our 5G portfolio, both in radio as well as in our cloud native core portfolio and digital services,” Ekholm said, adding that the company’s cloud native 5G core is gaining traction. Earlier this week, Ericsson and Verizon detailed results of a container-based evolved packet core (EPC) technology trial running on a live network. While the cloud-native technology was deployed on Verizon’s existing 4G LTE mobile core, the trial was positioned as a precursor to making those capabilities commercially available on a 5G network riding on a 5G mobile core.

“Ericsson equipment is currently live on 15 commercially available 5G networks and the vendor has inked more 5G contracts”

Very impressive work Ericsson!

Global 5G

The second item is this map of 5G commercial network world coverage. This map gives a visual summary of where you can find 5G commercial networks, trials/field testing, research and development, and GSM-3G-4G-LTE networks as of June 15, 2019 at the time of this writing. What’s more interesting is the detail underneath the map about who is doing what, where. Not surprisingly Ericsson was mentioned numerous times along with Nokia, Samsung, and a host of service providers.

Why are these interesting?

There are two things that jump out at me with these articles. The first is that they show how the industry is no longer focused on just touting the benefits of 5G, they are sharing what’s actually happening out in the field. The second thing that is interesting to me is how many Wind River customers are mentioned.

Wind River has long been a provider of software into the telecommunications market. We count all of the top telecom equipment manufacturers in the world as customers and are deployed at most all of the communications service providers worldwide.

A relative timeline

It all started with VxWorks. If I had a nickel for every time someone I was talking to at one of our telco tradeshow booths said something like, “I’ve worked with VxWorks” I could buy a liter of craft beer for myself, and maybe a half-pint for a friend.

More recently, like during the 3G, 4G, and now 5G evolutions, Wind River has been a leading provider of embedded Linux solutions to the telecommunications industry. Wind River Linux is built on the latest Yocto Project compatible platform and provides features that meet the requirements of the Linux Foundation’s Carrier Grade Linux specifications. One of the reasons our customers use Wind River Linux is because they know how important it is to be able to tune the kernel for low latency performance, especially as CSPs continue to virtualize functions at the network edge, like the radio access network (RAN) and multi-access edge computing (MEC). A second key feature with Wind River Linux is security. The Wind River security team is constantly monitoring the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database at for potential issues affecting Wind River Linux. We also monitor specific notifications from agencies like NISC, US CERT and multiple other public and private security lists. Along with this monitoring we provide an assessment of potential vulnerabilities, notifications, and remediation as appropriate in order to help keep our customer’s products secure.

Our latest initiative in telecommunications is through the open source project, StarlingX. StarlingX is a container-based open source infrastructure for the edge that integrates Kubernetes, OpenStack, Ceph, and a number of other upstream projects in order to solve the operational problem of deploying and managing distributed networks like the kind we see in 5g edge deployments. StarlingX provides the reliability, flexibility, low latency, and manageability that will be needed for massively distributed systems such as the virtual RAN (vRAN.) StarlingX also provides enhanced security at the software level, knowing that some edge deployments won’t have the physical security of a typical data center. Wind River Cloud Platform is the commercial version of StarlingX that is supported by Wind River.

In addition to our products, Wind River is involved in numerous open source projects and consortia. This includes: OpenStack, CNCF, Linux Foundation, O-RAN, ETSI, OPNFV, ONAP, and Open Source MANO to name a few. With over 35 years serving customers in markets with the highest standards for reliability, security, and performance, Wind River uniquely positioned to play an active roll in helping to shape the edge infrastructure of the future.

Looking ahead

I’m excited to see our customers making 5G deployments happening. Wind River has always been a provider of the technologies needed to help industries make big technological changes happen and I’m proud of the work that Wind River is involved in now to make 5G a reality for all of us.

Previous Commercial Embedded Linux Benefits: Managing Compliance
Next Why Wind River for Automotive High Performance Compute Gateway