The Linux Foundation released the news that it will partner with Project Magma, with the intention of building a core open source mobile network platform based on the software project.
For those who are unaware of Magma, they should know what it is a software that was developed by Facebook to help telecom operators to deploy mobile networks quickly and easily. The project, which Facebook made open source in 2019, achieves by providing a core of distributed mobile packages focused on software and tools to automate network management.
This containerized networking feature integrates with the background of an existing mobile network and makes it easy to launch new services at the edge of the network.
And with the announcement, Magma will go from Facebook to the Linux Foundation with:
The goal of creating a neutral governance structure for the project that will encourage more organizations to participate and deploy the platform, said Arpit Joshipura, managing director of networking and edge at the Linux Foundation.
With that, the Linux Foundation has launched a series of networking initiatives, all intended to allow telecom operators to implement programmable network services based on virtual machines and containers. The goal is to make it easier and faster for operators deliver network services at a time when IT teams are constantly delivering infrastructure resources in minutes.
Rather, operators continue to rely heavily on the existing proprietary network infrastructure, which is still programmed manually.
Magma is an alternative to existing products, but without the high license fees that are often prohibitive for mobile operators in developing countries.
Magma includes the fundamentals of what operators need to implement a network, starting with a core of mobile packages, with automation and management tools on top.
On a more technical level, Magma has three parts: an access gateway, which is responsible for network services and policy management; an Orchestrator tool that provides monitoring and configuration services; and a federation gateway that manages interactivity with other components of the network.
Although it has been the subject of some real-world deployments, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, it has not been touted as a replacement for existing LTE (Evolved Packet Core) systems, but rather as something that can be expanded, especially in rural areas that may be in the outskirts of an existing cellular network.
Another use case offered by Facebook considers that Magma is used as the basis for a private mobile network.
According to Joshipura, "Magama provides application functions such as 'Mobile Core' that are complementary to existing telecommunications and advanced free software such as Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) or Akraino".
And is that Magma enables better connectivity by:
- Enable operators to expand capacity and reach through LTE, 5G, Wi-Fi, and CBRS.
- Allow operators to offer cellular service without vendor dependency with a modern, open source core network.
- Enable operators to manage their networks more efficiently with more automation, less downtime, better predictability, and more agility to add new services and applications.
- Enable federation between existing MNOs and new infrastructure providers to augment mobile network infrastructure more efficiently.
- Supporting open source 5G technology and incubating future wireless network use cases such as Private 5G, IAB, Augmented Networks and NTN.
Other major players contribute to Magma's development to accelerate the expansion of modern and efficient mobile networks.
The Linux Foundation has also sought the support of other major players from telecommunications providers like Qualcomm and Arm, to industry stakeholders like the OpenAirInterface (OAI) Software Alliance and the Open Infrastructure Foundation (OIF).
The German company Megatelco Deutsche Telekom, which operates networks in various markets, mainly in Europe, North America and Asia, also provides support, not forgetting the Institute for Wireless Internet of Things at Northeastern University and FreedomFi.
In addition to the fact that several members of the Magma community also collaborate within the "Open Core Network" project group of the Telecom Infra (TIP) project.