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Looking Back at an Amazing 2021 and Forward to an Exciting 2022

Jan 19, 2022
Timon Sloane
Timon Sloane About the author

ONF’s 2021 was packed with innovation, accomplishments and major software releases. In this blog we summarize ONF’s major announcements and provide an update on our growing membership plus insights into where we are headed in 2002.

ONF Membership and Ecosystem Update

ONF was pleased to welcome 35 new commercial members plus 26 new university members last year. The growing popularity of ONF's mobile and broadband solutions has helped expand our ecosystem with dedicated market leaders and innovators from throughout the industry.

A Look Back at 2021 Accomplishments


ONF announced the first release of its SD-RAN Software Platform for Open RAN. In this release,SD RAN delivered a complete Open Source RAN solution for developers including nRT-RIC, RU/DU/CU, and xApp Framework Consistent with O-RAN Architecture. SD-RAN v1.0 is a cloud-native exemplar platform for software-defined RAN that is consistent with the O-RAN architecture.  

ONF released Stratum v20.12.  The release contained enhancements to Stratum’s support for Intel® Tofino™, including support for TNA and multi-pipe programs as well as initial support for the newer BfRt API (which offers advanced features and higher performance). The platform interface was modularized, which will serve as a foundation for supporting different platform APIs (beyond ONLP) in future releases.

Deutsche Telekom Announce Access 4.0 in Production Leveraging ONF’s VOLTHA and SEBA. Deutsche Telekom (DT) announced its Access 4.0 (A4) platform began providing services to customers in Stuttgart in December 2020. This marked a major milestone in DT’s efforts building a state-of-the-art disaggregated broadband solution that blends open source and vendor proprietary components into a production-grade highly optimized solution for providing FTTx services.


Türk Telekom Announced Production Broadband Network Based on ONF’s SEBA Reference Design and Using VOLTHA and ONOS Open Source Platforms. Türk Telekom (TT) announced that together with its Netsia subsidiary Argela, the successful launch of a commercial broadband network in Turkey which is being used to deliver high speed Internet, IPTV and voice services in two Turkish cities.


ONF Released SEBA™ Reference Design Version 2. It included major feature enhancements such as BNG, scaling principles,NBI APIs and device management specification for broadband access networks. The reference design was authored and is backed by multiple tier 1 operators: AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, NTT and Türk Telekom, with contributions from ONF supply chain partners Ciena, Radisys and Netsia.

ONF announced the Aether network for Private 5G and edge cloud connectivity over a secure network was rapidly expanding around the globe.


ONF Announced the first release of SD-RAN v1.1.  A major highlight of this release included collaboration between ONF, AirHop and Facebook towards a demonstration of SON functionality as an xApp, demonstrating the first multi-vendor xApp solution and proving the power of a RIC-based open RAN architecture. 

ONF, AirHop, Facebook and Telecom Infra Project Demonstrate First O-RAN Aligned, xApp-Powered Open RAN Solution. This marked the first multi-vendor, radio access network (RAN) automation demonstration, consistent with the O-RAN architecture, to provide operators with supplier flexibility for network optimization. The joint collaboration supports a broad range of automation services in the form of software services, called xApps by O-RAN, that run on the RAN intelligent controller (RIC).

ONF announced the release of VOLTHA v2.7 along with an updated ONOS release (v2.2.8). This release incorporated operator feedback and added capabilities to meet the day-to-day operational requirements learned from the live production deployments of VOLTHA and ONOS at Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Türk Telekom (TT)

ONF released Stratum 21.03 which includes many bug fixes and new features for Stratum running on Intel® Tofino™, including support for meter entries, remote bfshell for debugging, basic port shaping configuration, and P4Runtime read improvements. 


ONF Announced Hosting of PINS Project. P4 integrated networking stack (PINS) makes it possible to use SDN (and an external controller) to dynamically add new advanced functions to a traditional routed network. Google and Intel are key contributors to the PINS community.  

ONF hosted the 2021 P4 workshop! This virtual event attracted over 1300 attendees over the three days of engaging live keynotes by industry and academia luminaries and included an additional 25 technical talks, demos and tutorials.


ONF Launched New Cloud-Native, Software Defined SD-Core Project SD-Core is optimized for Private 5G and Industry 4.0 projects, and enables SaaS delivery of Connectivity-as-a-Service. The project builds an open source 5G/4G disaggregated mobile core optimized for emerging private 5G and enterprise use cases.

ONF announced the SD-Fabric™ Project, an Open Source, Full Stack Programmable Network Fabric for Hybrid Cloud, Edge Cloud, 5G and Industrial IoT. The new open source fabric consists of a P4-programmable hybrid cloud network fabric that gives programmers the power to push customized packet processing deep into networking elements. SD-Fabric is a cloud-managed, full stack, programmable network fabric that enables new classes of emerging edge applications for Industry 4.0 that are powered by 5G wireless.


ONF celebrated the 1 year anniversary of Project Pronto. Marking the one-year anniversary, the Pronto team released videos that use drones flying in formation to demonstrate how verification and closed loop control showcase and create a more resilient and secure network. The demos clearly highlight how Project Pronto is addressing some of the biggest security challenges of 5G. Pronto utilizes ONF’s Aether as the foundational platform for the project.


ONF Announced Formation of Ananki, a new company focused on delivery of private 5G as a commercial service leveraging ONF’s Aether, SD-RAN, SD-Fabric and SD-Core projects. Ananki uniquely meets the requirements of enterprise Industry 4.0 and it accelerates impact and adoption of ONF’s open source software. 

ONF Spotlight Event on Private 5G for Industry 4.0 ONF hosted this virtual event focused on the massive digital transformation underway to Industry 4.0 is taking place worldwide across virtually every type of business. This event brought together early adopters and innovators who shared their insights and experiences in their journey to transform with 5G and edge cloud.


ONF and Deutsche Telekom Demonstration of Fully Disaggregated Open RAN with Open RIC Platform (SD-RAN). ONF SD-RAN’s RIC and eight participating vendors’ products integrated for ongoing outdoor field trial as part of the SD-RAN Berlin Trial, the first field trial implementing fully disaggregated open RAN solutions as defined by the O-RAN architecture. A live webinar premiered the launch and included a demonstration which was recorded.

ONF released Aether v.1.5. The update to Aether focused on support for the 5G SD-Core.

First release of ONF’s SD-Fabric v1.0 which includes support for the In-band Network Telemetry (INT) standard on both switches and end hosts, INT-XD mode (Telemetry Report Specification v0.5 compliant), and integrated SD-Fabric with Intel DeepInsight.


ONF Released SD-RAN version 1.3 with an enhanced RIC platform. This release brought forth 2 new use cases to the RIC, one involving Mobile Handovers and the other introducing RAN Slicing. 

ONF Released Stratum v21.10 to enable SD Fabric and 5G connectivity through Aether. The release contained several new features and fixes for Stratum's Intel® Tofino™ target, marking stratum_bfrt  the default and recommended target for Tofino users. 


ONF, along with Airhop, Facebook and Radisys announced their completed participation in the O-RAN Alliance Global PlugfestThroughout Summer 2021, the ONF participated in the ORAN Global Plugfest, serving as the 3rd annual O-RAN ALLIANCE Global Plugfest that featured 77 companies at 7 venues. All the companies involved have performed testing, integration or proof of concept (PoC) throughout 7 venues globally.

ONF announced that Netsia Successfully Deployed its Broadband Suite with ONF’s SEBA Architecture to Türk Telekom to Meet Broadband Access for 1 Million Households. Broadband access network was based on the SDN-Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA) reference architecture throughout the country of Turkey.

The 4th European P4 Workshop was held as a virtual event in conjunction with ACM/IEEE ANCS’21. The event brought together the P4 community to discuss P4-based research, projects, and tools. The talks and slides are open for viewing.

Looking Forward

We are already off to a fast start in 2022 and moving forward with exciting plans for ONF mobile and broadband projects. We published a detailed series of blogs in December 2021 in each of these areas but below is a short summary.

What’s Next for Aether Private 5G and Connected Edge Cloud?

ONF and the Aether community are planning to continue advancing the platform, enabling enterprises to observe a high quality Industry 4.0 experience. For this purpose, innovation, specification and development will occur concerning:

  • AI-based Closed-Loop Control for 5G Connectivity
  • APIs for Coordinated End-to-End Management and Control
  • APIs for Industry 4.0 Applications
  • Aether Operationalization on Commercial Edge and Multi-Cloud Services
  • Runtime Operational Control Enhancements

What’s Next for SD-RAN and SD-Core: Software Defined Open RAN and Mobile Core?

Go forward 2022 plans for ONF’s SD-RAN are to continue to deliver on its vision and enable the required mobile network transformation to realize the following:

  • Driving Software-Driven Standards
  • Portability SDK
  • New xApps and Service Models
  • On-going and New Trials

SD-CORE: Plans are to continue to deliver on its vision and enable the required mobile network transformation to realize the following:

  • Open APIs
  • Neutral Host and Network Sharing Support
  • Integration with eSIM Provisioning Solutions
  • Integration with Lawful Intercept Platforms

What’s Next for SD-Fabric: An End-to-End Programmable Data Plane?

ONF and the SD-Fabric community have opportunities to expand the SDN control domain and introduce additional data plane programmability. These are categorized into three threads:

  • Extending SD-Fabric to NIC and vSwitch
  • Generalize Network Function Embedding
  • Bring Benefits of SDN and Data Plane Programmability to Existing Switch Stacks

What’s Next for ONF SEBA/VOLTHA, SDN-Enabled Broadband Access Projects?

To support existing deployments, expand their scale and increase the operator’s footprint, the SEBA/VOLTHA project is exploring focus in three areas going forward:

  • Expand the scale, features, automation and testing,
  • Aligning with Broadband Forum on outwards facing APIs
  • Creating an open source, software defined and disaggregated BNG solution

For SEBA/VOLTHA  to deliver on its vision and enable the level of broadband access transformation that it has initiated, an essential level of joint development is envisioned to accelerate for global adoption.  A number of targeted improvements and enhancements have been identified by the VOLTHA team to this end.  This work covers a selected balance between scale improvements, bug-fixes and new features. 

Getting Involved

ONF operates with a unique model of blending engineering resources from ONF along with engineers and other resources from aligned companies in the ONF community. We invite you to learn more and get involved in any of our exciting open source projects.

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Timon SloaneVP, Marketing & Ecosystem
Timon Sloane is the vice president of marketing and ecosystem of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). He leads the organization’s efforts building an open source ecosystem, thus helping to enable broad transformation of the networking industry through the adoption open source business practices.