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Open Source Project Builds Mobile Networks Without Big Carriers

By Network World

March 20, 2014

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Range Networks, led by former Cisco CTO Ed Kozel, is working on an open source project that aims to shift mobile network creation from proprietary hardware to inexpensive commodity hardware.

The company is looking for underserved areas that need a less expensive alternative to the large mobile network solutions created for major mobile carriers.

The company's open source OpenBTS 3G GSM stack and software defined radio (SDR) covers the 700 MHz to 2.5 GHz bands, and 4G and LTE will be added in the future.

OpenBTS runs on standard x86 hardware that can be packaged to withstand environmental elements. The specifications, schematics, and production data for the SDR are available under several open source licenses to enable others to improve the technology and produce it at a low cost. For example, University of California, Berkeley researchers are using OpenBTS in their Tier project to find unused radio spectrum that is free of interference. The identified radio spectrum can be used for voice and mobile data services, and Berkeley is contributing the white space functionality back into OpenBTS.

In addition to underserved geographies, Range Networks believes OpenBTS has applications in academia and public safety.

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