Tech Updates

Introducing NiralOS – The open source NOS for Disaggregated Cell Site Gateways (DCSG)

NiralOS Introduction

Niral Networks aims to democratize the wireline routing and switching systems in Service Provider’s infrastructure with its NiralOS. NiralOS is an open source Networking Operating System (NOS) for routing products. NiralOS can be integrated with any Whitebox hardware to provide DCSG (Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway), Access Router solution.

Niral Networks is actively working with following open source community to develop NiralOS:

The seed code was contributed by AT&T to speed the adoption and use of white boxes in a service provider’s infrastructure.
Niral team is active with the community. Some of its contributions include:
• ISIS support for IPv4 and IPv6
• MPLS VPN Support for IPv4
• FRR 7.3 Integration
• 6PE/6VPE support
FRR has its roots in the Quagga Project. FRR is an IP routing protocol suite for Linux and Unix platforms, which includes protocol daemons for BGP, IS-IS, LDP, OSPF, PIM, and RIP.
Niral team is working with the community to bring in Telco specific features. Some of Niral’s work includes:
• 6PE/6VPE support

Benefits of NiralOS to the Mobile Network Operators

NiralOS is developed with contribution from Open Source community, Open Innovation Group within the organization, individuals willing to collaborate to the Open Source Ecosystem.

  • Roadmap of new feature development is discussed in the open community, and operators can collaborate to influence its roadmap.
  • Operators have flexibility to take the software support from any vendor or from their own R&D team. Making the NiralOS truly vendor agnostic.
  • Flexibility in feature enrichment as any team, including the operator’s own R&D team can enrich the open source code.
  • Operator is flexible to work with Niral Networks to develop their own customization related to north-bound integration, third-party software integration, specific white box integration. Source Code of the customized component is the Intellectual Property of the customer.
  • Cost-effective and flexible pricing. Niral has a Zero-CAPEX, SaaS-based pricing.

Mobile Networks Operators Transformation

Mobile Network Operators understand the risk of vendor lock-in and are fast transforming from traditional and proprietary solutions to openness and disaggregation. Many operators have set up their own Research and Development arm and are working with open source communities or developing their vendor-agnostic NOS to mitigate the risk of vendor lock-in.

Operators with the indigenous R&D teamAT&TVerizonOrangeNTTViettelJio, etc.

More recently, network operators like AT&T have begun embracing the concept of disaggregated routing in collaboration with open-source projects. Excerpt from an innovation blog by Andre Fuetsch – President – AT&T Labs and Chief Technology Officer on  December 04, 2018, says:

“… One major element is the equipment that goes into the more than 60,000 cell towers in our wireless network. In these towers, we have high-powered routers directing the data traffic flowing back and forth between our customers and the internet.

Traditionally, we bought these routers from a handful of vendors, and the equipment was highly specialized and came with specialized software. The hardware and software functioned as a single unit. Being dependent on a single vendor makes upgrades slower, increases cost, and hampers innovation.

So, much like we’ve done in other parts of our network, we’re changing the model.

Rather than buying a single, closed package, we’re designing our own hardware specs for these routers and encouraging any manufacturer to build to those specifications. This is known as the “white box” model. In addition, we’re writing our own software for these machines, and we’ll release parts of it into open source, so any other service provider can use it…”

Below is a list of few Open source initiatives where Operators are contributing.

Project / CommunityOperator ContributorsOther Contributors to the Source Code
DANOSAT&TNiral Networks
FRROrangeCumulus, Vmware, 6wind, Big Switch, Netdef, LabN, Niral Networks, etc.
O-RANAT&T, China Mobile, NTT, BT, Jio, Airtel, etc.Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Altiostar, Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, etc.
ONOSAT&T, China Unicom, NTT, Comcast, etc.Google, Edgecore, Intel, Ciena, Broadcom, Delta
STRATUMChina Unicom, KPN, NTT, Turk TelecomBig Switch, Cisco, Delta, Broadcom, Barefoot, Mellanox
DPDKAT&TIntel, ARM, Ericsson, F5, NXP
LF NetworkingDeutsche Telecom, AT&T, Bell, VodafoneEricsson,  Cisco, Huawei, Intel, Juniper, Red Hat, ZTE
LF EdgeNTT, AT&TDELL, GE, HP, Samsung, Qualcomm
Open ComputeAT&TArista, ASUS, Alibaba, IBM
PRPLWRTBT, Vodafone, Verizon, Deutsche TelecomIntel, Broadcom, Qualcomm, etc.

Story behind NiralOS

While working closely with Mobile Network Operators in previous projects, the Niral team understood the risk experienced by operators due to Vendor Lock-in and challenges due to the Proprietary, Closed, Rigid, and Expensive Solutions. It is predicted that 5G Networks need to be 10X denser than 4G Networks. The denser network would require devices from more vendors leading to further risk of vendor lock-in.

Niral Network’s co-founding team has a combined experience of more than 70 man-years in the Networking Industry. They have rich product experience in Telecom, Data Center, and Enterprise verticals. The team has worked closely with customers in the US, India, Europe, Australia, Middle-East, and South-East Asia. They have co-founded multiple startups in the US and India and co-authored numerous patents and technical publications in the area of computer networks.

After multiple deliberations with customer and open source ecosystems, the Niral team came up with the concept of the Vendor-Agnostic Open Product Framework. Niral Open Product Framework enables Mobile Network Operators to transition from Vendor Controlled to Operator Deliberated approach that reduces the risk of vendor lock-in.

Niral Open Product Frameworks

Niral Open Product Frameworks are Open software products built using open source code with interoperable APIs and curated to be robust, scalable, and feature compliant. Any individual or community is open to contributing towards its software enrichment or support. It is integrable to any off-the-shelf White box hardware to create a Disaggregated Networking Solution.

Niral Open Product Framework is built on 4 principles:

  1. Open Source Software Curation – Work with Open Source Ecosystems to develop, integrate Open Source Software, and curate it to make is robust, scalable, feature, and standard compliant.
  2. Telco Collaborated Customization – Work with Mobile Operator to customize it to their requirement and integrate into their existing Network components.
  3. Disaggregation as per Operator’s Choice of White box hardware and software – Work with Mobile Operator to integrate their choice of White Box Hardware and Third-Party Software
  4. Flexible Support from Niral or any Third Party – Continue to provide support, maintenance and develop new features
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