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Anchors away: Mavenir, DT, MobiledgeX prove ref design for global MEC

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The design should be a milestone for 5G Core data traffic routing, replacing 3G-era tunnelling of mobile data to a few fixed anchor points.

Mavenir, in collaboration with MobiledgeX and Deutsche Telekom, has demonstrated and validated the reference design for deploying cloud-native 5G User Plane Function (UPF).

Its purpose is to support multi-access edge computing (MEC) applications, tailored to each use case’s proximity and performance needs.

The reference design is cloud-native, abstracted from the underlying cloud architecture, infrastructure vendor and operating owner.

New connectivity options

Alex Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom, says, “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”.
A service-based, cloud-native UPF is at the core of the reference design"

Since mobile packet data was introduced with 3G, all data, irrespective of source, destination, and requesting application, has been ‘tunnelled’ back to a limited number of fixed (packet gateway) anchor points inside mobile networks.

This has become increasingly inefficient and prone to bottlenecks as data traffic has grown. 5G Core standards allow the dynamic placement of the anchor point – that is, the UPF – based on the application and network’s needs.

Anchors away

Mavenir’s 4G/5G cloud-native Converged Packet Core solution coupled with the MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud platform means the UPF can be placed on different clouds from different vendors that are owned by different parties.

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 better user experience and increased network efficiency, by significantly reducing the distance the data needs to travel before it is processed.

Trial details

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. Tunnelling is established, the video request is passed to the local edge video cache and delivery begins.

The identical request is made in Hanover, then traffic is established to the Hanover cloudlet where local fulfilment takes place.

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, according to Mavenir.

“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.”