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Nephio Release 2: Accelerating Cloud Native Network Automation


  • Kandan Kathirvel, TSC-Chair, Nephio
  • Sana Tariq, TSC Vice-Chair, Nephio

The telecom industry is in the midst of a profound transformation, fueled by the relentless demand for greater connectivity, bandwidth, and agility. Cloud-native technologies, coupled with time-tested core principles like intent-driven automation, scalability, a unified framework, and extensibility, are essential for telecom’s success. These core principles offer the flexibility, agility, and automation that traditional networks lack.

Project Nephio, with its recent launch of Release 2, stands at the forefront of this movement, designed to simplify and accelerate the deployment and management of network systems at a global scale. 

Nephio R1, the initial release of this much needed project, lays a robust foundation for cloud-native network automation. Building upon Google Cloud’s seed code, Nephio R1 delivered a scalable framework for intent-driven automation and common configuration templates to provision and support life-cycle management of cloud infrastructure, Kubernetes clusters, 5G network functions and its configurations.

The Nephio community is excited to announce the release of Nephio R2, a major release that brings enhanced automation, multi-vendor support, and security features. Let’s delve into the key highlights of this release:

Application and Workloads

Nephio R2 delivers major advancements for handling O-RAN components in addition to 5G core applications and workloads. Here’s what’s new:

  • OpenAirInterface Integration: Collaborating with the OpenAirInterface community, Nephio R2 gains a wealth of 5G network functions and an alternative packet core option (alongside free5GC). This showcases the flexibility of Python for developing Kubernetes operators.
  • Full RAN Use Case Support: R2 goes beyond R1’s packet core focus. It now includes RAN network functions (CU-CP, CU-UP, and DU) from OpenAirInterface, enabling comprehensive design, deployment, and end-to-end testing of full RAN use cases. The use case is comprehensively supported across design, deployment, and end-to-end testing.

Automation Framework

  • Enhanced Multi-Vendor Onboarding: Nephio R2 streamlines network function deployment with extensible CRDs, allowing customization for vendor-specific needs.

Experimental Features

Get a glimpse of the future with previews of these exciting technologies:

  • Topology Controller: Design complex network function layouts across multiple sites.
  • Nephio SDK: Streamlines the onboarding experience, starting with Helm support.
  • Observability and Policy Frameworks: Proof-of-concepts lay the groundwork for better monitoring and control.

Security Takes Center Stage

Nephio’s new Security SIG signals a major focus on security across the board.


  • Expanded Multi-Cloud Deployment: Nephio R2 can now deploy GKE, OpenShift, VMware, and OpenStack. Support will be further enhanced in R3.

The Nephio community stands out with its comprehensive, well-structured developer and operational documentation, which can be accessed here.

The Nephio community is experiencing incredible growth and momentum!  This vibrant community has expanded from 25+ founding partners to over 70 participating companies, with hundreds of developers actively engaged and a number that continues to grow.

Community spirits in pictures below:

Nephio Release 2 demonstrates this collaborative spirit, receiving contributions from telecoms, network equipment vendors, and cloud providers alike. As a true open source leader in telecom and enterprise automation innovation, the Nephio community continues to shape the future with an exciting roadmap of advancements. Let’s dive into the highlights below!

Nephio project continues to innovate, with exciting plans to integrate GenAI capabilities for intelligent automation. Nephio is considering adopting GenAI to enable use cases like automated artifact generation, conversion from legacy configurations, advanced intent handling via conversational AI, auto-generation of operational documents, and self-optimizing automation.

Alongside this, Nephio will expand its reach with support for transport networks and enterprise use cases, alongside deeper integration with Projects Sylva and Camara. As an LFN graduated project, Nephio continues to collaborate with the broader LFN community to better enable the telecom industry. This evolution, coupled with more vendor product integrations and lighthouse deployments by telecom leaders, promises to drive widespread adoption of Nephio’s cloud-native network automation solutions.

Join Nephio community at ONE Summit:

Join Nephio at the ONE Summit 2024 in San Jose from April 29 to May 1, to explore the forefront of cloud native networking. As a key project under LF Networking, Nephio is featured on the event agenda, sharing insights on 5G core & RAN management, Gen AI integration, autonomous network orchestration, and more. ONE Summit, organized by LF Networking, is a prime opportunity for learning about advancements in AI, open innovation, network security, and real-world applications in telecom and edge computing. Register now and be part of this industry-leading event.

Get involved in the community:

Nephio offers a collaborative, open-source approach to cloud-native network automation, reducing vendor lock-in and accelerating innovation. By joining Nephio, telecom operators, network providers, cloud providers and anyone invested in the future of cloud-native networks can shape the future of telecom automation, ensuring solutions align with real-world needs and drive operational efficiency. Together, let’s build a future where cloud-native networks deliver agility, efficiency, and innovation like never before.