Verizon has become the newest member of ONOS, a Linux Foundation collaborative project that aims to build a carrier-grade, SDN-enabled operating system for service providers.

ONOS brands itself as an "SDN network operating system." It's a set of communications tools and applications that allow organizations to build clustered network infrastructure that takes full advantage of software-defined networking, or SDN. The idea is to make communications more scalable, more reliable and faster by abstracting infrastructure from physical devices.

ONOS open-sourced its code in December 2014. Last October, the project took the further step of becoming a Linux Foundation collaborative project, with a founding membership that included AT&T, NTT Communications, SK Telecom, China Unicom, Ciena, Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Intel and NEC.

On Jan. 21 Verizon joined that line-up, bringing the support of another major American telecommunications services provider to the project.

"Verizon recognizes the potential of ONOS as an open source SDN platform and the service provider solutions it enables, as well as the promise it holds to transform the networking industry," said Brian Higgins, Vice President of Network Planning at Verizon. "By joining the partnership, we hope to advance open source SDN and NFV solutions based on ONOS and to help shape the future of this ecosystem."

ONOS already had the support of other big telecoms. But Verizon's endorsement is an important additional step toward making open source SDN-based solutions the norm for mainstream service providers.