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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 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.