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CORD Project and xRAN Consortium Align to Build Carrier Grade Software for Next Generation Radio Access Network (RAN)

By 2017-02-238月 22nd, 2017Press Release

xRAN and M-CORD partnership show immediate value of ONF’s new software defined standards approach


MENLO PARK, Calif. Feb. 23, 2017CORD® Project, an open source project reinventing network access to bring datacenter economics and cloud agility to service providers’ central offices, today announces an agreement to partner with xRAN Foundation, to collaborate, standardize and promote a software-based, extensible Radio Access Network (xRAN) architecture. The partnership will create a carrier grade open reference implementation of xRAN spec within M-CORD for next generation RAN.

Current RAN architectures are built using largely proprietary, closed systems. In addition, the emergence of 5G requirements, including very low latency, high throughput, availability and connection density, present technical challenges that call for faster innovation and operator flexibility to meet increasing customer demands and future operational and efficiency requirements.

To address these challenges and transform the RAN architecture, CORD Project and xRAN are bringing together two ecosystems of leading service providers, vendors, innovators and open source communities. Going forward, the xRAN consortium will focus on software-defined standards for the architecture and interface definitions for next-generation RAN. The CORD Project community will focus on implementation of xRAN standard APIs, a RAN controller built on ONOS®, (Open Network Operating System) and example RAN control applications for the M-CORD platform leveraging a variety of open and closed hardware options from multiple vendors.

As part of this partnership, ON.Lab is pleased to announce appointment of Dr. Sachin Katti, Professor of EE and CS at Stanford University, as the Chief Scientist for Mobility. He will guide the xRAN integration with M-CORD.

“Over the last year, there has been strong interest among mobile network operators to bring M-CORD software infrastructure and xRAN standardized interfaces together. Integration of the xRAN controller into the M-CORD platform, together with xRAN standardized interfaces will deliver a carrier-grade, programmable mobile network connectivity layer,” said Dr. Sachin Katti, Professor at Stanford University. “It’s time to bring the benefits of SDN to the RAN and the combination of xRAN and M-CORD is an exciting step in that direction.”

This collaborative partnership will lead to a symbiotic relationship between standards or API specs, and reference implementation, creating a virtuous cycle whereby specs help improve the reference implementation, and experience with the reference implementation will lead to revised and improved specs. Active and deeper engagement from the open networking ecosystem will produce software-defined standards and a reference implementation that will accelerate adoption of software defined RANs.

“Implementation of xRAN standards within M-CORD will make it more relevant as an open reference implementation for the industry and in return we will be able to revise the xRAN spec based on actual implementation experience on multi-vendor devices,” said Guru Parulkar, executive director of ONF, ON.Lab and Stanford Platform Lab. “This will be an excellent example of doing Software Defined Standards and open reference implementations together, the innovative approach the newly merged ONF/ON.Lab organizations are pursuing.”

xRAN and CORD Project are receiving strong carrier support for this alignment, and the existing xRAN prototype is building momentum among vendors:

AT&T: “AT&T has been a founding member and active supporter of both xRAN and CORD, and the time is right for xRAN and M-CORD to come together in this strategic partnership” said Andre Fuetsch, President, AT&T Labs and Chief Technology Officer. “The xRAN and M-CORD partnership will allow us to build mobile access networks with the ability to customize and optimize the RAN, and to more quickly create new services to meet our customers’ evolving needs.”

SK Telecom: “Bringing xRAN and M-CORD together will help us automate provisioning and grow our RAN capacity while significantly reducing capex and opex,” said Alex Choi, Chief Technology Officer, Executive Vice President, Head of Corporate R&D Center at SK Telecom.”

Since its founding xRAN Consortium has developed standardized RAN control interfaces, adopted by carriers globally. xRAN interfaces allow carrier applications to programmatically control multi-vendor RAN infrastructure. xRAN Consortium comprises top-tier operators and radio access network equipment vendors with a common goal of developing a modular architecture for the cellular radio access network. In addition to the industry leading mobile carriers AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom, includes technology suppliers and research leaders including, Intel, Texas Instruments, Aricent, Radisys and Stanford University.

Built on the base CORD platform, M-CORD is an open reference implementation for mobile wireless access. The open source CORD community is exploring and demonstrating disaggregated and virtualized RAN and Evolved Packet Core (EPC), as well as mobile edge computing to enable 5G capabilities. CORD and M-CORD serve as foundational platforms for ONF’s open end-to-end innovation pipeline. The diverse CORD community comprises service provider partners AT&T, China Unicom, Google, NTT Communications, SK Telecom, and Verizon, leading vendors Ciena, Cisco, Fujitsu, Intel, NEC, Nokia, Radisys and Samsung, and more than 30 collaborating organizations.

Whether an individual or an organization, all are encouraged to get involved with the growing open source CORD community. CORD Project is hosted by The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration.

Additional Resources

About CORD Project
CORD® (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter) brings datacenter economics and cloud flexibility to the telco Central Office and to the entire access network. CORD is an open source service delivery platform that combines SDN, NFV, and elastic cloud services to network operators and service providers. It integrates ONOS, OpenStack, Docker, and XOS—all running on merchant silicon, white-box switches, commodity servers, and disaggregated access devices. The CORD reference implementation serves as a platform for multiple domains of use, with open source communities building innovative services for residential, mobile, and enterprise network customers. The CORD ecosystem comprises ON.Lab and organizations that are funding and contributing to the CORD initiative. These organizations include AT&T, China Unicom, Comcast, Google, NTT Communications Corp., SK Telecom Co. Ltd., Verizon, Ciena Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Intel Corporation, NEC Corporation, Nokia, Radisys and Samsung Electronics, Co. See the full list of members, including CORD’s collaborators, and learn how you can get involved with CORD at

CORD is an independently funded software project hosted by The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems.

About xRAN Foundation

The xRAN Foundation was formed to develop, standardize and promote an open alternative to the traditionally closed, hardware-based RAN architecture. xRAN fundamentally advances RAN architecture in three areas – decouples the RAN control plane from the user plane, builds a modular eNB software stack that operates on common-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and publishes open north- and south-bound interfaces to the industry. For more information about membership go to or email

About ONF

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), the recognized leader and standard bearer for SDN.  Launched in 2011, the ONF has successfully taken Software Defined Networking (SDN) from obscurity to the universally accepted vision for next generation networking.

The ONF is led by a board including representation from leading operators including AT&T, Google, NTT Communications, SK Telecom and Verizon. The merger of ONF and ON.Lab is expected to be complete in late 2017. For further information visit


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