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Deutsche Telekom is working with Mavenir and MobiledgeX for a reference design to deploy cloud-native 5G user plane function (UPF) to support multi-access edge computing (MEC) applications.
A service-based, cloud-native UPF is at the core of the reference design which has been validated and is fully cloud-native, abstracted away from underlying cloud architecture, infrastructure supplier and operating owner.
Mavenir explained that since the introduction of mobile packet data in 3G, all data traffic, irrespective of source, destination and requesting application, has been tunnelled back to a limited number of fixed (packet gateway) anchor points inside the mobile networks. This, it said, is increasingly inefficient, non-performant, and prone to bottlenecks. By contrast, 5G core standards enable dynamic placement of the anchor point (the UPF) based on the application and network’s needs.
Mavenir’s 4G/5G cloud-native converged packet core system, coupled with the MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud platform, is designed to enable the UPF to be placed on different clouds from different suppliers with different ownership. This is said to ensure that service provider control, security and privacy are maintained by a customer’s owning operator at all times, even when roaming.
Also, said Mavenir, such an architecture helps optimal placement of an application’s back-end servers, enabling a superior user experience and increased network efficiency, by significantly reducing the distance the data needs to travel before it is processed.
For the sake of trial validation, the Mavenir 5G core ran on two Deutsche Telekom network and supplier-independent cloudlets, located in Germany, deployed as valid UPF placements in the 5G core routing.
In a video use case, a video application that is started on a 5G phone connected to Deutsche Telekom’s 5G network in Berlin will see a request sent to the 5G core that selects UPF placement in the Berlin cloudlet. Tunnelling is established and the video request is then passed to the local edge-placed video cache and delivery commences.
The identical request is made in Hanover and traffic is then established to the Hanover cloudlet and local fulfilment occurs there. The MobiledgeX Edge Cloud 3.0 platform dynamically controls the secure placement, lifecycle management and video traffic routing of the edge-based UPF and the video application.
Alex Choi, SVP strategy and technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom, said: “We are excited to partner with Mavenir and MobiledgeX to demonstrate dynamic cloud-native deployment of 5G core UPF for users where it is needed. The UPF can run inside the operator’s owned network, inside a private 4G/5G network, inside the roaming network, or in the public cloud. The ability to dynamically and seamlessly orchestrate traffic across our own footprint and the footprint of others opens up the possibility for new connectivity solutions for customers.”
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Bejoy Pankajakshan, chief strategy officer at Mavenir, added: “This is a successful milestone for cloud-native 5G core traffic routing, giving Deutsche Telekom the freedom to deliver a point of interconnect/local breakouts anywhere in the world, on any cloud. Cloud-native design of 5G network functions integrated with orchestration tools makes it possible to achieve a new level of flexibility in network function placement. Automation, agility and flexibility are at the heart of this project.”
The campus network in Dallas will look to accelerate further 4G/5G solutions and will see use in demonstrating network integration across a suite of certified systems, integration with third-party suppliers for interoperability testing and a new approach to open virtualised radio access network (Open vRAN) citizens broadband radio service (CBRS)/OnGo private network deployments.
The Mavenir campus will host a private CBRS/OnGo network for indoor and outdoor interoperability, showcasing network internet of things (IoT) capabilities, radios and antennas deployed across a variety of smart use cases, including smart light poles. Also, the campus demonstrates throughput, handover and full carrier aggregation across both general authorised access (GAA) and priority access licence (PAL) spectrum.
“The Mavenir 4G/5G campus offers a network showcase Open vRAN and demonstrates open interoperability, test and implementation of end-to-end user applications, including IoT sensor and device connectivity,” said Aniruddho Basu, SVP and GM of emerging business at Mavenir, “putting Mavenir on the map for municipalities, enterprises and communication service providers looking to explore the possibilities available by operating a private network.”