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Open source project builds mobile networks without big carriers

Steven Max Patterson | March 18, 2014
Data centers, mobile phones, and the software industry have all been changed by open source. Are mobile networks next?

Range Networks sees other applications outside of underserved geographies, in academia and public safety. Engineering schools stress hands-on experience. But in the case of mobile phone developments, students are limited to building apps and enhancing a mobile OS and hardware. They have no access to writing software that runs inside the mobile network because Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T wouldn't think of opening up their networks for student development. With OpenBTS, students can build a mobile network on campus to use as a platform for experimental code development. The campus OpenBTS network could operate at low power to avoid interfering with the public's use of the mobile carriers' networks. Engineering school projects should lead to more contributions to the OpenBTS source tree, enhancing its features and application.

Another application is public safety. Radio spectrum used by police, firemen, FEMA, etc., is reserved strictly for public safety organizations. In a disaster, where the broadcast infrastructure is damaged or overloaded, an OpenBTS network could be deployed quickly for emergency personnel to communicate.

OpenBTS is a thrilling project. It should awaken in the hearts of the open source community the same excitement, expectations and hope as the home town baseball team's first game of the season.

Source: Network World


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