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The Importance of Performance in a 5G World

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

The industry is racing to the next generation – 5G – which will be virtualized, replacing the costly, legacy, hardware-based infrastructure that has been in place for decades with common off the shelf (COTS) servers that offer a host of cost and operational advantages.

But did you know they also offer performance benefits as well?

As network operators transform existing 4G networks the need to continually improve performance and scalability has become a key business imperative to drive the cost per bit delivered. With the arrival of 5G, this need becomes even more pronounced in order to profitably serve the bandwidth demands of 5G applications and services. 5G will require significantly more data-processing horsepower from the network than we have ever seen to support the exponential rise in high-bandwidth data traffic (e.g., video), the creation of data-rich services and the introduction of billions of “talking” machines via the Internet of Things (IoT).  This performance will be required across all areas of the network, especially the mobile core.

And, these performance gains are not a one-time event.

We are fortunate to be part of an industry that never stands still, and that continues to innovate and improve.   In no area is this more evident than in the continued advances in processing technologies from leaders like Intel.

By combining these advances with innovative, market-proven NFV solutions for the mobile core, we have achieved performance gains of as much as 10X over purpose-built mobile core offerings and competitive virtualized offerings.

For those of us at Affirmed Networks seeing this type of performance confirms what we’ve known all along: virtualized network functions (VNFs) that leverage the latest server technology and are architected for high data plane throughput are the best path to building the high-speed, high-capacity networks that 5G will require.

Learn more about the performance advantages of vEPC over legacy hardware in this Intel Performance Report.

Affirmed Networks Awarded Highest Honor as Part of Intel Network Builders Program

by Amit Tiwari Amit Tiwari No Comments

Last year Intel announced the Intel® Network Builders Winners’ Circle—a program for partner companies working to accelerate network transformation using Intel technology to optimize their solutions. Last week at the SDN NFV World Congress event, Intel announced the first finalists of the program at the Intel Network Builders Summit, which coincided with the SDN NFV World Congress event, attracting more than 1700 industry participants, taking place in the event in the Hague, Netherlands.

As part of this first-ever event, Intel evaluated more than 240 projects, for consideration across three award levels: Leaders’ Board, Solution Plus Partner, and Solution Partner.

Of the 64 projects that were awarded a place in the Winners Circle, we are pleased to announce that Affirmed Networks was one of just 20 companies to join the Leaders Board, the program’s highest level.

As a company committed to working with strategic partners like Intel to ensure the highest levels of success and performance for our customers, we are extremely honored to achieve the program’s distinction. As a company, we have continually invested in building the industry’s most complete ecosystem focused on driving performance and accelerating deployments. We would like to congratulate all of the companies that were recognized as part of the Network Builders Program, especially our partners who joined us in the Winner’s Circle, including Canonical, Dell, HPE, Red Hat and VMware.

The goal of the Winners’ Circle is to deliver technical leadership, advance open source standards, and collaborate with end users to drive innovation. Requirements for selection to the Intel Network Builders Winners’ Circle included open source contributions, published benchmarks and deployments to Communication Service Providers (CommSPs).

About Intel Network Builders

Intel® Network Builders is an ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs), operating system vendors (OSVs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs), system integrators, and communications service providers coming together to accelerate the adoption of network functions virtualization (NFV)- and software defined networking (SDN)-based solutions in telecommunications networks and public, private enterprise, and hybrid clouds.

5G’s Need for Speed: Why 5G Performance Matters

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

5G performance places unique demands on the network in terms of routing, scalability and services. But more than anything else, 5G has a need for speed. It’s actually more like an insatiable appetite.  This is due to the exponential rise in high-bandwidth data traffic (e.g., video), the creation of data-rich services and the introduction of billions of “talking” machines via the Internet of Things (IoT) that will require significantly more data-processing horsepower in the network.   This is particularly true in critical areas such as the mobile core. So where will mobile operators find this extra power? We believe the answer is: From Affirmed Networks and ecosystem partners such as Intel.

5G Performance Testing: Findings & Results

Recently, Intel and Affirmed, in cooperation with Dell and Spirent, completed performance testing of Affirmed’s virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) that demonstrated 151 Gbps throughput on a single Xeon-based server. To put that into perspective, that’s 5-10X faster than what can be delivered today by purpose-built mobile core offerings or competitive virtualized offerings. These results confirm what we’ve known all along: virtualized network functions (VNFs) that leverage the latest server technology and architected for high data plane throughput are the best path to building high-speed, high-capacity networks.

The 5G performance tests demonstrated:

Processor Throughput Throughput with 100% Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
Intel Xeon Platinum processor-based server


150Gbps 120Gbps
Intel Xeon Gold processor-based server


100Gbps 80Gbps
  • Single-server packet processing rates of 26 million packets per second (based on a standard 650-byte packet);
  • Linear scalability—even when full deep packet inspection (DPI) capabilities are activated;
  • Additional processing headroom under high-use conditions, with CPU and I/O utilization rates of only 60 to 80 percent.
  • Testing conducted on Affirmed’s latest software release for its 5G Mobile Core that supports which support CUPS, 5G NR, automated service provisioning, fine-grained network slicing, and integrated virtual probes

Intel Performance Infographic

The numbers clearly prove that a virtualized mobile packet core is the best path to achieving substantially higher levels of scale, performance, and efficiency for high-capacity, data-intensive workloads. Of course, not all virtual mobile packet cores are created equal, nor can anyone else make this claim. In the past, for example, legacy packet core vendors have struggled with maintaining high performance during DPI processing, in some cases reporting that performance was halved when DPI was activated on all packets. Affirmed’s vEPC solution, however, features fast-path optimization that, in the latest performance results, reveals performance levels of 120 Gbps per server even when DPI is turned on for all packets.

Our vEPC is optimized for Intel’s new generation of Xeon Scalable processors as well as high-capacity network interface cards (NICs), enabling our vEPC to deliver superior levels of performance on Intel-based servers, both now and with subsequent generations of the technology. Affirmed’s solutions are designed to support real-world environments on real-world servers. In the latest performance tests, Spirent’s Landslide platform was used to simulate an environment of 1 million subscribers running extremely high volumes of UDP, TCP, HTTP, and TTPS data traffic.


For years, traditional mobile core providers have suggested that NFV is unproven when it comes to handling the workloads of the future. These latest performance results from Affirmed and Intel clearly prove otherwise. In fact, we would say that the burden of proof has shifted to the other side of the aisle (hardware). Can your current mobile core vendor offer a path to the future that the performance and unlimited scale at a fraction of the cost?

For more information, download the complete performance report.