Cloud-as-a-Service For Enterprise 5G/LTE Edge | ONF’s Aether Platform

Aether™ is ONF’s Enterprise-5G/LTE-Edge-Cloud-as-a-Service system. Aether provides mobile connectivity and edge cloud services for distributed enterprise networks, all provisioned and managed from a centralized cloud.

Background

Digital Transformation – For several years, digital transformation of enterprise operations, aided by industrial IoT, big data analytics, AI/ML, and resulting automation and closed-loop control, has been on the top of the priority-list for most enterprise CIOs.

Need to get Real-Time Visibility and Control – CEOs and CIOs wish to drive favorable business outcomes by getting real-time visibility and control of their physical facilities, raw goods and infrastructure, work-in-progress and operational processes, with an eye to increase competitiveness, productivity and return on investment.

Business Goals & Challenges – Some hard problems need to be solved to achieve these business goals

  • Secure, high throughput and reliable connectivity is needed between machines/sensors/things
  • Ability to implement near real-time low-latency control loops
  • Balancing enterprise data sovereignty and compliance while leveraging the public cloud

Existing Solutions are Inadequate

Today’s readily available solutions – enterprise WiFi or MNO-provided cellular connectivity, and public/private cloud-based compute are unable to adequately solve these issues. Thus, until now, the desired transformation has been illusive to most. Only the largest and well-heeled enterprises could overcome the technical and business challenges to undertake and benefit from this deep transformation.

Solution: ONF’s Aether Platform

Aether™ is ONF’s “Open Source” Enterprise-5G/LTE-Edge-Cloud-as-a-Service system

Aether provides mobile connectivity and edge cloud services for distributed enterprise networks, all provisioned and managed from a centralized cloud. Based on open source components and optimized for cloud deployments, it is easy to deploy, highly scalable, and designed for rapid new service onboarding in a multi-cloud environment.

Aether is a highly flexible system that empowers various business models around private 5G/LTE enterprise networks that may involve, in addition to enterprises, one or more of the following: network operators, public cloud operators, vendors, system integrators, and new market entrants. 

Aether uses and builds upon production-tested open source components from ONF like ONOS®, Trellis™ and CORD®, and other general purpose mainstream projects (e.g. Kubernetes, Rancher, etc.)

ONF Aether Managed Services
Source: ONF Aether Platform | Figure 1: Aether Managed Services

Aether leverages state-of-the-art cloud, software-defined, and micro-services principles. Aether integrates with and offers onboarding and lifecycle management of commercial and operational platforms for video stream analytics, IoT, and AI/ML, as well as custom enterprise edge applications. 

The Aether platform is typically deployed at the enterprise site(s), with control and management performed from a central cloud. The enterprise-deployed Aether software stack – called “Aether Connected Edge” (ACE), hosts the commercial third party or in-house edge apps requiring lowlatency and highly available connectivity to devices and enterprise systems.

Additionally, it hosts the disaggregated O-RAN compliant cellular connectivity software stack and terminates the mobile user plane for enabling local breakout leveraging an SDN-managed switching fabric.

Designed to be delivered as a cloud managed service, Aether offers a harmonious substrate consisting of three enterprise services, enabling

a) private cellular connectivity

b) connected edge cloud

c) fine-grained traffic visibility and control service.

Rich northbound and southbound APIs allow the platform to host the enterprise operational platforms and applications, connect them to data sources and collect rich telemetry from the connected endpoints along with the data they exchange.

Physical deployment of the distributed Aether platform | ONF Aether Platform
Source: ONF Aether Platform | Figure 2 – Physical deployment of the distributed Aether platform

Private 4G/5G Connectivity Service

  • Best of the both worlds – WiFi’s simplicity and economics, and O-RAN/CBRS-based 5G wireless network’s performance and security;
  • Predictive end-to-end performance between device, radio access network and enterprise application, with configurable quality of service (throughput, delay and jitter) per use case;
  • Wire-speed local breakout implemented by intelligent switching hardware; and
  • Higher reliability and higher wireless coverage than WiFi.

Connected Edge Cloud Service

  • Leverages Aether’s cellular connectivity service to enable seamless integration to cloudnative edge compute; • Scalable infrastructure from small to very large enterprises;
  • Supports low latency connectivity for mission critical use cases;
  • Compute clusters interconnected with an intelligent (SDN) switching fabric capable of up to 100 Gbps port-to-port throughput;
  • Runs on well-qualified COTS hardware with support for x86, GPUs and smart-NICs; and
  • Easy onboarding and life-cycle management of edge workloads by user/ISV.

End-to-End Slicing and Fine-grained Traffic Visibility Service

  • Partitions the enterprise cellular network into multiple slices, each with a specific quality of service profile;
  • Provides for the enterprise dev-ops to assign applications and devices to assure the required QoS – a combination of throughput, latency and jitter;
  • Hardware assisted data traffic and resource utilization telemetry; and
  • Programmable micro-collection for troubleshooting or security audit.

Target Use Cases & Deployment Scenario

Aether is an essential connected edge cloud platform for all mission critical enterprise applications that require low-latency connectivity to infrastructure, with much higher reliability, privacy and security than offered by either WiFi or national mobile operators. Primary target use cases where Aether is expected to shine are shown below.

A popular way to reason about industrial digital transformation is the Automation Pyramid show in the figure below. The communication and compute required for levels 1, 2 and 3 have much stricter latency constraints (sub-second). These mission critical technology components are generally termed as operational technology (OT), as opposed to the IT components like manufacturing execution system (MES) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. 

ONF’s Aether hosts and connects next-gen OT components of Industry 4.0 Automation Pyramid
Source: ONF Aether Platform | Figure 3: ONF’s Aether hosts and connects next-gen OT components of Industry 4.0 Automation Pyramid

Aether’s Key Benefits to Smart Enterprise

ONF’s “Open Source” Aether solution’s key benefits to Smart Enterprises

Aether’s many technical innovations and managed service delivery model offer several unique benefits to the enterprise that adopts this platform. These include:

Assured Connectivity for Mission Critical workloads – Aether offers predictable and high bandwidth low latency connectivity with quality of service guarantees for OT applications, enabled by network slicing. The edge compute workloads are highly available as a result of the self-healing orchestration of micro-services via Kubernetes. 

Data Sovereignty & Control – Aether enables local breakout of mission critical data traffic. This allows enterprises to retain top-down programmable control of their systems and data, in turn, allowing enterprises to control their own destiny and avoid becoming locked into any single hyper-scaler’s ecosystem. 

Security – Aether complies with 5G/3GPP security standards, and hence offers end device security equivalent to a national mobile network provider. The deep traffic visibility and programmable access control offers extra layers of protection.

Compelling Economics – ONF’s Aether is available as open source software, and it runs on COTS hardware and small cells from from a selection of certified ODM vendors. Aether leverages free to use cellular spectrum such as the CBRS band in the US.This makes Aether less expensive than managed WiFi per sq. ft of coverage, but just as easily consumable.

Ease of WiFi – Aether tames the complexity of the LTE/5G standards to enable an easy-toconsume connectivity service that is as adaptable as WiFi, but with all the architectural benefits and predictable performance of a 3GPP-compliant solution.

Scalable Hybrid Cloud Support – The cloud native Aether edges are designed to work with enterprise apps running on private or public central clouds. The Aether edge compute infrastructure can be elastically scaled from very small to very large connected by a spine-leaf SDN fabric.

Read the complete article in the 5G Magazine

Spotlight Your Innovation in 5G Magazine

The Private Network Revolution

Related Magazine Content

Magazine
Explore Nokia’s leadership in private 5G/LTE networks, showcasing a global reach with over 500 enterprise customers and 1500+ mission-critical networks across industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and more.
Magazine
Explore Nokia’s leadership in private 5G/LTE networks, showcasing a global reach with over 500 enterprise customers and 1500+ mission-critical networks across industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and more.
Magazine
Explore how Cox’s MOCN Neutral Host revolutionizes indoor cellular connectivity in education and healthcare, offering robust, cost-effective solutions.
Magazine
Explore how Cox’s MOCN Neutral Host revolutionizes indoor cellular connectivity in education and healthcare, offering robust, cost-effective solutions.
Magazine
Discover how 5G analytics, through NWDAF, enhances telecom operations, enabling cost reduction and new revenue channels.
Magazine
Discover how 5G analytics, through NWDAF, enhances telecom operations, enabling cost reduction and new revenue channels.
Magazine
Explore how John Deere is systematically adopting private 5G networks, addressing challenges arising from rapid growth of industrial IoT and network limitations.
Magazine
Explore how John Deere is systematically adopting private 5G networks, addressing challenges arising from rapid growth of industrial IoT and network limitations.
Magazine
Organizations globally are tapping into the vast potential of the Operational IoT market, from transforming weather monitoring in remote mines to ensuring safe drinking water in African communities. The real game-changer is the integration of reliable, cost-effective satellite connections, predicted to rise to tens of millions by 2030. These connections make it possible to transmit data periodically rather than in real-time, reducing costs and meeting the specific needs of industries like agriculture, shipping, and environmental monitoring. The challenge for Systems Integrators (SIs) is to ensure their Satellite IoT deployments are not only technologically viable but also commercially successful. Ensuring robust satellite coverage, cost-effective deployment, and prolonged battery life are essential to this business case. Forward-thinking SIs have already started their journeys, optimizing Satellite IoT solutions, proving its business worth, and preparing for large-scale deployments.
Magazine
Organizations globally are tapping into the vast potential of the Operational IoT market, from transforming weather monitoring in remote mines to ensuring safe drinking water in African communities. The real game-changer is the integration of reliable, cost-effective satellite connections, predicted to rise to tens of millions by 2030. These connections make it possible to transmit data periodically rather than in real-time, reducing costs and meeting the specific needs of industries like agriculture, shipping, and environmental monitoring. The challenge for Systems Integrators (SIs) is to ensure their Satellite IoT deployments are not only technologically viable but also commercially successful. Ensuring robust satellite coverage, cost-effective deployment, and prolonged battery life are essential to this business case. Forward-thinking SIs have already started their journeys, optimizing Satellite IoT solutions, proving its business worth, and preparing for large-scale deployments.
Magazine
The emergence of 5G New Radio NTN is set to revolutionize the satellite communication market by bridging the gap between terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks. Offering improved speeds, lower latency, and enhanced reliability, 5G NR unlocks new transformative use cases from smart cities to augmented reality. With 5G NR’s potential to beam signals from space, satellite communication will gain a competitive edge, providing powerful, seamless connectivity globally. Additionally, the unification of 5G standardization for both types of technologies promises heightened interoperability, allowing users to switch between networks effortlessly. This synergy presents a lucrative opportunity for businesses in both sectors, even as technical challenges persist.
Magazine
The emergence of 5G New Radio NTN is set to revolutionize the satellite communication market by bridging the gap between terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks. Offering improved speeds, lower latency, and enhanced reliability, 5G NR unlocks new transformative use cases from smart cities to augmented reality. With 5G NR’s potential to beam signals from space, satellite communication will gain a competitive edge, providing powerful, seamless connectivity globally. Additionally, the unification of 5G standardization for both types of technologies promises heightened interoperability, allowing users to switch between networks effortlessly. This synergy presents a lucrative opportunity for businesses in both sectors, even as technical challenges persist.
Magazine
The rise of smart vehicles, projected to surpass 470 million connected cars by 2025, is rapidly transforming the transportation landscape. Enabled by IoT, these vehicles offer real-time communication with infrastructure, on-the-go diagnostics, and advanced safety features. Yet, challenges like patchy cellular network coverage persist. From facilitating autonomous driving and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to enhancing safety and sustainability, satellite-powered IoT is set to accelerate the connected vehicles revolution, optimizing transportation efficiency and environmental impact.
Magazine
The rise of smart vehicles, projected to surpass 470 million connected cars by 2025, is rapidly transforming the transportation landscape. Enabled by IoT, these vehicles offer real-time communication with infrastructure, on-the-go diagnostics, and advanced safety features. Yet, challenges like patchy cellular network coverage persist. From facilitating autonomous driving and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to enhancing safety and sustainability, satellite-powered IoT is set to accelerate the connected vehicles revolution, optimizing transportation efficiency and environmental impact.
Magazine
The mobile phone industry is undergoing a transformation, with emerging technology enabling direct communication between standard mobile phones and satellites. With regulatory changes, international partnerships, and new technological standards, mobile devices will soon boast enhanced satellite connectivity. Companies like SpaceX and Apple are diving deep into the race to provide extensive satellite communication, partnering with T-Mobile and Globalstar, respectively. As the competition intensifies, companies are pushed to innovate or risk becoming obsolete.
Magazine
The mobile phone industry is undergoing a transformation, with emerging technology enabling direct communication between standard mobile phones and satellites. With regulatory changes, international partnerships, and new technological standards, mobile devices will soon boast enhanced satellite connectivity. Companies like SpaceX and Apple are diving deep into the race to provide extensive satellite communication, partnering with T-Mobile and Globalstar, respectively. As the competition intensifies, companies are pushed to innovate or risk becoming obsolete.
Magazine
Discover how Radisys Corporation is shaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technologies. Embracing change and spurring innovation, Radisys is accelerating the deployment of flexible and integrated solutions, pioneering a new era in wireless communication. Learn how they are extending network coverage, deploying private 5G use cases, and championing energy efficiency. Explore Radisys’ strategic focus areas in partner collaboration and their extensive collaborations within the 5G ecosystem in our comprehensive article.
Magazine
Discover how Radisys Corporation is shaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technologies. Embracing change and spurring innovation, Radisys is accelerating the deployment of flexible and integrated solutions, pioneering a new era in wireless communication. Learn how they are extending network coverage, deploying private 5G use cases, and championing energy efficiency. Explore Radisys’ strategic focus areas in partner collaboration and their extensive collaborations within the 5G ecosystem in our comprehensive article.
Magazine
Discover how the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is leading the Open RAN revolution by accelerating the commercial adoption of secure, high-performance network solutions. Tackling challenges in Open RAN adoption and catalyzing industry effort, TIP’s project groups, badging processes, and marketplace initiatives are reshaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technology.
Magazine
Discover how the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is leading the Open RAN revolution by accelerating the commercial adoption of secure, high-performance network solutions. Tackling challenges in Open RAN adoption and catalyzing industry effort, TIP’s project groups, badging processes, and marketplace initiatives are reshaping the future of Open RAN and 5G technology.

Content, Design, And Lead Generation Services to Elevate your Marketing Efforts