OpenAirX-Labs Aims To Drive 5G Innovation

The Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) Project Office has launched OpenAirX-Labs (OAX) as part of the PAWR program to support development and testing of an open-source standalone 5G software stack.

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The purpose of the Labs and the Alliance is to accelerate the development of open, fully stable, end-to-end 5G software, available to developers outside of the traditional telecom labs.

OAX is part of the PAWR project, a public-private partnership supporting wireless research through large, outdoor wireless testbeds throughout the United States. The effort is co-led by Northeastern University and US Ignite, a nonprofit charged with growing smart city projects and technologies.

Founding industry partners for OAX include Facebook, Interdigital, NI, Qualcomm, Radisys, and Xilinx, which are also part of PAWR’s existing industry consortium.

“The launch of OAX puts muscle not only behind U.S. efforts to expand the capabilities and performance of 5G networks, but also behind the technologies that will move the wireless industry beyond 5G,” said PAWR Technical Program Director Abhimanyu (Manu) Gosain. “By hosting OAX as part of the PAWR program, we are also ensuring there is a clear path from software development through to testing and prototyping of new software, hardware, and wireless applications.”

OAX will be located at the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things at Northeastern University in Boston, and PAWR says it will mirror a similar OpenAirInterface test location at Eurecom in France, which has a cloud-based Continuous Integration and Development (CI/CD) suite and provides a neutral, remotely accessible lab environment.

Once the initial development and testing are complete, PAWR said, the open-source 5G software will be set up as a new software profile on PAWR’s wireless test beds; it has two currently operational, one in New York City and on in Salt Lake City, with another being built in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina and a fourth, rural wireless testbed to be announced later this month.

The hope is that the undertaking will support and enable a trend in communications development that has become more software-focused and less centralized in a telecom lab, said Mari Silbey, Senior Director of Partnerships and Outreach at US Ignite.