NFV startup Core Network Dynamics has launched a "carrier-grade" version of its OpenEPC technology aimed at supporting commercial deployments.
The German startup, which was spun out of the Fraunhofer Institute in 2013, has been working with more than 60 companies, including some of the world's biggest telecom operators, in a "testbed" environment.
Those include the likes of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), Orange (NYSE: FTE), Telefónica and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD).
The OpenEPC 7 release would allow operators to move the technology into a live commercial environment, claims the company.
Core Network Dynamics GmbH (CND) is one of a number of NFV startups whose software expertise could prove hugely disruptive to traditional equipment vendors such as Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK).
Using its technology, a mobile operator could run an entire core mobile network on a Raspberry Pi, a single-board computer about the size of a credit card, CEO Carsten Brinkshulte told Light Reading during a previous discussion. (See NFV Startup Could Challenge Incumbents .)
The technology could also allow service providers to operate more decentralized networks in which intelligence moves to the "edge" and there is greater redundancy than in a traditional design.
Due to become commercially available later this year, OpenEPC 7 will include support for some of the key elements of 3GPP Release 13, the next iteration of 4G technology.
Those include the LTE-M technology intended for Internet of Things communications.
CND says it is also working on adding support for various features that will become essential for public safety use cases.
IoT and public safety represent two of the biggest opportunities for CND. Brinkshulte says network topologies will need to become more decentralized to support billions of connected devices. He has also argued that authorities could save about 40% on the cost of deploying a public safety network by using OpenEPC instead of old-fashioned TETRA networks.
A number of European governments are now looking to overhaul their TETRA networks. CND already claims to have landed one such contract to build a public safety network based on a 4G mesh network, although it has not disclosed the identity of the customer.
"We are delivering on our first public safety contract in Europe to build a secure, private LTE mesh network that aims to put a radio cell running OpenEPC into vehicles and attach an antenna to the roof, so that every vehicle will effectively become a mini mobile operator," said Brinkschulte in a company statement released today.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading