LF Networking became a catalyst for the telecom industry by creating an umbrella project under which various players can contribute and enrich the technologies involved.

The telecom industry is at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution. Whether it’s connected IoT devices or mobile entertainment, the modern economy runs on the Internet.

However, the backbone of networking has been running on legacy technologies. Some telecom companies are centuries old, and they have a massive infrastructure that needs to be modernized.

The great news is that this industry is already at the forefront of emerging technologies. Companies such as AT&T, Verizon, China Mobile, DTK, and others have embraced open source technologies to move faster into the future. And  LF Networking is at the heart of this transformation.

“2018 has been a fantastic year,” said Arpit Joshipura, General Manager of Networking at Linux Foundation, speaking at Open Source Summit in Vancouver last fall. “We have seen a 140-year-old telecom industry move from proprietary and legacy technologies to open source technologies with LF Networking.”

Now LF Networking has more than 100 members, which represent ~70% of the global subscribers of these telecom players. These members are actively participating in software development at LF Networking. They are collaborating on existing projects, and they are contributing their own in-house code to the foundation and releasing it as open source.

For example, AT&T contributed their own work on virtual networks as ONAP to the Linux Foundation. The project is now being used by in production by other companies, and AT&T in return is benefitting from the work the competitors are doing to improve the code base.

“Over $500 million worth of software innovation, in terms of value, has been created in the open source community,” said Joshipura. “We can now safely say that the telecom industry is going to use open source that is based out of Linux Foundation to build their next generation networks.

Telecom Transformation

What’s incredible about this transformation within the telecom industry is that unlike other industries where developers drive the change, here top leadership has advocated for change all the way down.

LF Networking became a catalyst to help the industry by creating an umbrella project under which various players can gather, contribute, and enrich the technologies involved.

The primary focus of LF Networking at the moment is to see more and more of these technologies in production. “But our next goal is to see how networking enables what we call cross-project collaboration, cross-industry collaboration, cross-community collaboration. How does blockchain impact telcos, how can telcos go cloud-native with Kubernetes… and so on,” said Joshipura.

One of the most promising areas for the networking community is edge computing, as seen in the recent creation of the new LF Edge umbrella project. There is a lot of innovation happening in the space — 5G, autonomous driving, and so on.  “Our focus is on figuring out how do these projects come together and collaborate so that there’s more value to our end users, to our members,” he said.

The Linux Foundation has a wide range of projects, many of which are building code individually. Joshipura wants these projects to collaborate closely.  “We have the concept of VNF (Virtual Network Functions). How do we make them cloud-native? We created a project called CNF (Cloud Native network Functions), but we need to work with the ONAP community, networking community, and Kubernetes community to solve some of the problems that the networking community is facing,” he said.

With its current momentum and community support, LF Networking is on track to lead the way.

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OSN Days

OSN Days are a series of one-day events to facilitate F2F collaboration. Tours this fall cover China, APAC, and North America starting October 12.

As we gear up the for the first ever Open Networking Summit Europe event, Amsterdam, September 25-27, it’s becoming clear to me just how far we’ve come this year since the formation of LF Networking. With new major operators joining, like Deutsche Telekom, and others requiring open source project automation tools in their RFPs, like Orange, it’s inspiring to witness just how much the networking industry is rallying around open source and incorporating it as a key element of their business strategies. It’s great to see LF Networking recognized for its role in bringing the ecosystem together, and to see open source community contribution increasingly recognized as driving increased business value.

At The Linux Foundation, we believe strongly in face-to-face collaboration. For those who can’t make it to Amsterdam this time, I wanted to share the good news that the next three Open Source Networking Days (OSN Days) tours will be coming this fall to China, APAC, and North America. Here are confirmed cities and dates so far. Click on the links to learn more and register. Check back soon to main OSN Days website for updates on the others.

China: Shanghai: Oct 12 | Nanjing: Oct 15 | Beijing: Oct 17

APAC: Singapore: Oct 15 | Taiwan: (Hsinchu): Oct 17 | Tokyo: Oct 23

North America: Ottawa: Oct 30 | Bay Area: Nov 1 | Dallas: Nov 6 | Toronto: Nov 8 | Boston: Nov 19 | Montreal: Nov 29 | Austin: TBD

Launched last year, OSN Days is a series of regional, one-day events hosted and organized by local open source networking ecosystem members — including industry, service providers, academia, and start-ups — with support from LF Networking and its projects:, ONAP, OpenDaylight, OPNFV, PNDA, SNAS, and Tungsten Fabric. Attendees will hear from a roster of expert speakers on the state of the industry; the projects that make up the open source networking stack, the integration points between them, the use cases and business opportunities enabled by network transformation, how to get involved, and much more. This is also a great chance to hear directly from — and engage directly with — operators such as AT&T, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Telecom, and Reliance Jio.

There is no cost to attend and I invite you to register today. If you have any questions, or would like to host an event in the future, please email

Whether at ONS Europe, OSN Days, or the other industry events and meetups on our calendar, we hope to get the chance to meet with you soon and build upon the great work we’ve started. It’s a good time to be in networking.