Open Ecosystem Telco Cloud

Ericsson and VMware: Virtualized Evolved Packet Core on Telco Cloud Infrastructure

There is a tremendous market growth in the mobile packet core area, both in new subscribers for mobile broadband as well as increased network throughput driven by the increasing data consumption, primarily from video. Notwithstanding the emergence of 5G Core, there remains high demand for network expansions using 4G technologies based on Evolved Packet Core.

Ericsson and VMware established an alliance in 2019 with the overarching goal of helping CSPs who have opted to deploy a combination of Ericsson and VMware technology to successfully conquer the challenges of this momentous transition. This blog will help you understand our technical collaboration which recently involved system verification for Ericsson virtualized Evolved Packet Core on VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure, validating that the platform can onboard and host Packet Core virtualized network functions (VNFs).

Ericsson virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) on VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure is ready for production deployment in communication service provider (CSP) networks. Together, we join forces to meet the needs of Communication Service Providers (CSPs) who have chosen VMware products as Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure, and Ericsson virtualized Evolved Packet Core.

Ericsson and VMware run several technology collaborations projects where particular combinations of Ericsson and VMware offerings are certified or system verified in a common environment prior to deployment in customer networks. Such technical collaboration projects accelerate the interoperability work and enhance the ability to rapidly provide CSPs with highly cost effective and pre-tested solutions, reducing the risks involved in introducing services to customer networks.

Ericsson’s vEPC solution is built up of several Virtual Network Functions (VNF) which integrate with VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure. The vEPC solution is verified for ETSI MANO (Management, automation and network orchestration) lifecycle management (LCM) workflows utilizing the VMware Cloud Director interface. This work allows us to provide CSPs running software from both companies with further confirmation of streamlined management & operations integration and accelerated time to market.

Ericsson vEPC: A complete portfolio of products serving operators globally

The mobile packet core is an essential part of a cellular network. A mobile device, whether a smartphone or an IoT device, uses the cellular radio network for physical access before traffic is passed on to the mobile packet core and onwards to the Internet. Apart from acting as the gateway to the Internet, the mobile packet core assigns devices’ IP addresses, provides charging data, and enforces data rates and volume thresholds. It is also responsible for mobility of data connections across the network.

Since the telecommunications industry started with NFV all components of Ericsson’s Evolved Packet Core have been virtualized. This, in combination with enhancements in standardization, enables the separation of the User Plane (for data) and the Control Plane (for signaling), allowing for individual scaling of these functions as well as User Plane deployment at the network edge, closer to data origin.

Ericsson virtualized Evolved Packet Gateway (vEPG) has a Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) function, which allows the data forwarding component of the vEPG to be decentralized to the edge of the network, and by that to cater for low latency applications and use-cases.

Ericsson’s market leading packet core software has been powering mobile broadband and data networks for over 20 years and has been deployed across hundreds of customer networks globally with world-class in-service-performance during extreme traffic conditions.

  • Evolved Packet Gateway (EPG) provides the Serving Gateway, PDN Gateway, User Plane Function and Traffic Detection functionality for GSM, WCDMA, LTE, 5G, Wi-Fi and CDMA interworking, allowing for seamless transitions between the access types.
  • SGSN-MME supports all 3GPP access types (GSM, WCDMA and LTE) as well as non-3GPP accesses (Wi-Fi and CDMA), being the central network function for mobility and session management.
  • Wi-Fi Mobility Gateway (WMG) integrates the traffic from non-3GPP networks, both trusted and untrusted, into the mobile packet core.
  • Service Aware Policy Controller (SAPC) provides 3GPP PCRF (Policy and Charging Rules Functionality).

Ericsson’s vEPC VNFs come with MANO lifecycle management (LCM) workflows utilizing VMware Cloud Director interface.

VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure: A production-proven NFV platform

VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure is a fully integrated, modular, multitenant network function virtualization (NFV) platform. It provides compute, storage, networking, management, and operations capabilities to help simplify, scale, and secure production NFV services. The transformative platform allows CSPs to accelerate time to market, increase revenue, streamline operations, reduce network infrastructure costs, and deploy elastic business models for telecommunication workloads.

VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure is built on VMware’s proven and trusted stack and is deployed in production at many of the world’s leading CSPs who see it as a key element of their evolution from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to Cloud as a Service (CaaS). It enables network function deployment on a consistent horizontal platform while enforcing carrier-grade security and delivering the data-plane performance CSPs demand.

Leveraging VMware’s Cloud Director and VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure provides scalability through dynamic provisioning and consumption of infrastructure across geographies. Service components can be programmatically deployed from core to edge while achieving multi-cloud deployment scalability and manageability. As a result, CSPs now have the flexible architecture they need to deploy applications and services today for 4G/LTE or 5G networks, and tomorrow – for the next G.

Testing to ensure carrier grade reliability

Ericsson’s vEPC solution on VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure gives operators the flexibility to expand EPC capacity on a modern NFVI, growing network resources in-line with demand from mobile broadband subscribers.

Figure: Ericsson virtualized Evolved Packet Core system verified on VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure with MANO lifecycle management (LCM) workflows utilizing the VMware Cloud Director interface

All nodes of the Ericsson vEPC solution are independently certified against VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure platform to ensure the software design is capable to utilize the compute, storage and networking resources provided by the platform.

In addition, Ericsson has system verified the Ericsson vEPC solution for mobile broadband on a VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure reference configuration, executing multiple rigorous test cases, including maximum capacity, 48-hour stability, and others. These certification and system verifications reduce project risk and reduce lead times in customer rollout, as proven-to-work configurations are documented, and centrally created deployment guidelines are made available to project teams. These will safeguard the design and instantiation of the customer solution.

Target market

Target market is any communication service provider who chooses the combination of Ericsson vEPC network functions and VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure platform.

Ericsson and VMware are from a business, delivery, and support perspective individually responsible for their respective product and service offerings.

To Learn More about this solution, please visit Ericsson’s website for the vEPC and VMware’s website for Telco Cloud Infrastructure and Cloud Director.

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