Intel’s Open Source And Private Network Brain Trust Is Growing

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With the hiring of the Open Networking Foundation (ONFdevelopment )’s team, which has been working on multiple projects spanning the mobile, broadband, and programmable networking sectors, and the acquisition of Ananki, the 5G private networking software development company spun out of the ONF in September 2021, Intel has gained some significant open source networking expertise in recent weeks.

Parulkar was also the CEO of Ananki, an ONF spin-off that took the software stacks developed by multiple ONF projects – including Aether (connected edge cloud), SD-RAN, SD-Fabric, and SD-Core – and made them available as a SaaS (software-as-a-service) to make “private 5G as easy to consume as wifi for enterprises.” (See Ananki, an ONF spinoff that aims to make private 5G as simple as wi-fi.) Intel hasn’t made a public announcement regarding the deal, and no financial specifics have been disclosed.

However, it indicates Intel’s intention to expand its footprint in private wireless networking and provide its technology as a SaaS model, which makes sense in a more scattered, cloud-oriented IT resource world: The (rapidly rising) private networking sector as a whole should take notice.

The ONF R&D team was adopted as part of a broader reorganisation of the Foundation that saw it morph into a “more classic open source organisation” by putting its portfolio of open networking platforms into the open source community, including public 5G (SD-Core, SD-RAN), private 5G networks (Aether), software-defined broadband (SEBA/VOLTHA), and P4 programmable networks (SD-Fabric, PINS). The Foundation is forming “governance boards” to help the open source community “direct the effort” (see this announcement for more details).

“Now that the ONF’s projects have reached maturity and market adoption, it is time for the projects to be released into the open source community. This has always been our vision,” noted the ONF’s Chair and AT&T Executive Vice President & Network CTO, Andre Fuetsch in this announcement. “We are pleased with the progress we have made toward more open, disaggregated and interoperable networks. With the development team joining Intel, we are optimistic that project contributions will continue to grow.”

Guru Parulkar, the now-former ONF Executive Director and Board Member, stated on LinkedIn that he joined Intel’s Network and Edge team as VP of Software on April 5th.

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