Aether opens limitless opportunities in the world of 5G and Private LTE

Open Networking Foundation (ONF) recently unveiled the Aether platform. This raises some obvious questions in our minds:

What is Aether? Why was it needed? What will change because of Aether?

Simply put, Aether is world’s first open source software and hardware platform that provides 5G/LTE Edge as service. That’s good information. But it doesn’t really explain the concept much, does it? Let’s try and understand it better.

Why do we need Aether or anything similar?

Multiple types of data such as machine data, process data, financial data, quality data and human data is omnipresent across industries. It is growing multifold at an astonishing rate. This is part of the digitalization journeys which most industries are going through. Data science techniques use this data to solve problems. And IoT is one of the biggest sources of such data. When you IoTize devices and end points, you start generating lots & lots of data. The existing infrastructure acts as a kind of bottleneck in this journey for following reasons:

  1. Data transfers to public networks bring forth data security problems.
  2. Highly reliable Wi-Fi is not available and that causes latency issues.
  3. You incur high bandwidth costs to send data to the cloud.
5G comes to the rescue

4G architecture has limitations. 5G architecture allows network slicing. It means you can allocate a pipe for a specific application’s data transfer. It also allows us to compute a lot more at the edge. Now you can send data to nearest node, compute & make decisions right there, and get output back. This reduces latency.

What is Private LTE?

Now that we have taken care of latency, how do we take care of security? Imagine a cellular network that is dedicated only to your factory. Private LTE is a local cellular network that includes cell sites and core network servers dedicated to supporting the connectivity of a specific organization’s requirements. Since the data resides locally, it solves the problem of security. Additionally, you also save bandwidth costs on the side, by communicating and transferring data to local cells.

What is Aether?

Aether is world’s first open source software and hardware platform that provides 5G/LTE Edge as service. Is the definition making more sense now?

The Aether platform provides enterprises a cost-effective and flexible option to set up a private LTE service through secure and reliable cellular networks. Enterprises can manage their sensitive data on-prem, manage their own traffic and subscribers as well.

Aether can act as catalyst to your organization’s digital transformation journey. It opens the door for enormous business opportunities not only for enterprises, but also for the telecom operators and cloud providers. Think of an enterprise licensing spectrum and having its own private cellular network.

Increased capacity, lower latency, highly improved quality of experience are some of the many benefits of enterprise 5G.

Highlights of Aether
  • It provides 5G/LTE Edge as service
  • It provides cellular grade security and reliability
  • Aether is a distributed platform managed through a central cloud
  • It Supports wireless devices using licensed, unlicensed and lightly licensed (CBRS) spectrum.
Use cases for Aether

IoT, analytics, end-to-end Automation, machine learning, enterprise integrations and data centric decision making are only some of the many use cases for Aether. The opportunities are just limitless!

What is GS Lab’s contribution?

GS Lab has been working with ONF for the past few years. GS Lab specializes in Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC). It is alternatively called mobile core.  We are pleased to be an active contributor to Aether platform. GS Lab is also an active contributor to OMEC (Open Mobile Enhance Core). OMEC is a disaggregated, user plane-control plane separated 3GPP-compliant mobile core. GS Lab has also developed standalone OMEC-IN-A-Box automated deployment of OMEC components along with CDN making it easy for deployment & trials.

What’s next?

GS Lab is setting up an Aether Edge site at its facilities in Pune, India. Along with its expertise in telecom, GS Lab is looking to leverage its product engineering capabilities to integrate enterprise applications and IMS. We look forward to making Private LTE is a reality!

Amit Wankhede | EPC Specialist at GS Lab
Author
Amit Wankhede | Associate Architect

Amit Wankhede is an Associate Architect at GS Lab and has an experience of more than 15 years in IT. Apart from leading research in 5G, he also spearheads GS Lab’s contribution at ONF. After working in areas like deployment automation, DevOps, micro services architecture and cloud services, Amit is now working in the telecom domain since the past 2 years.