Mavenir, in collaboration with MobiledgeX and Deutsche Telekom, have demonstrated and validated the reference design for deploying cloud-native 5G User Plane Function (UPF) to support Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) applications, tailored to each use case need for proximity and performance. The reference design is fully cloud-native, abstracted away from underlying cloud architecture, infrastructure vendor and operating owner.
“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,” says Alex Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom.
A service-based, cloud-native UPF is at the core of the reference design. Since the introduction of mobile packet data in 3G, all data traffic, irrespective of source, destination, and requesting application, has been tunneled back to a limited number of fixed (packet gateway) anchor points inside the mobile networks.
This is increasingly inefficient, non-performant, and prone to bottlenecks. 5G Core standards enable dynamic placement of the anchor point (the UPF) based on the application and network’s needs. The combination of Mavenir’s widely deployed 4G/5G cloud-native Converged Packet Core solution, coupled with the MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud platform enables the UPF to be placed on different clouds from different vendors with different ownership.
Service provider control, security, and privacy are maintained by a customer’s owning operator at all times, even when roaming. This architecture helps optimal placement of the application’s backend servers, enabling a superior user experience and increased network efficiency, by significantly reducing the distance the data needs to travel before it is processed.
Validated Reference Design
For this trial validation, the Mavenir 5G Core is running in Deutsche Telekom’s network. Two network and vendor-independent cloudlets, located in Germany, have been deployed as valid UPF placements in the 5G Core routing. For instance, a video application is started on a 5G phone connected to Deutsche Telekom’s 5G network in Berlin. The request is sent to the 5G Core that selects UPF placement in the Berlin cloudlet.
Tunneling is established. The video request is passed to the local edge-placed video cache and delivery commences. The identical request is made in Hanover. The traffic is then established to the Hanover cloudlet and local fulfillment 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.
“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,” says Bejoy Pankajakshan, Chief Strategy Officer, Mavenir. “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 MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud platform enables our operator customers to dynamically manage and allocate UPF functionality across their own cloud infrastructure independent of vendor, in roaming partners mobile networks, in private 4G/5G networks, and in public clouds, all through one pane of glass and in one trusted and secure operation,” says Sunay Tripathi, Chief Technology Officer & EVP of Engineering & Product, MobiledgeX.
“Cloud-native UPF operation transforms traffic patterns in mobile operator networks, making the telecom operator the largest customer of their own edge cloud offering which is necessary to be a true cloud leader. We are very excited that Deutsche Telekom has taken the initiative to lead.”