The introduction of LTE-Advanced and 5G requires mobile operators to invest in virtual core network technology. To meet these demands, Cobham Wireless has launched TeraVM LaaS (Lab-as-a-Service) for core network testing. It is designed to support mobile operator networks as they shift towards virtualised, Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) infrastructures.
The Lab-as-a-Service model for validating network performance automates network deployment and validation in a scalable, cost effective manner, said the company.
TeraVM LaaS provides comprehensive validation for the virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC), and offers an automation framework, for both EPC network functions and test elements simultaneously.
It offers an end-to-end testing from Radio Access Network (RAN) to core when used with the company's TM500 network tester, which stress-tests the impact of RAN traffic on the core network.
Partnering with manufacturer of mobile network emulators, ng4T, TeraVM LaaS can emulate thousands of base stations and millions of mobile subscribers in a single virtual machine. Carsten Fuchs, COO at ng4T commented: “Combining TeraVM’s high performance application traffic generator with the NG40 multi vRAN control plane load generator enables service providers to scale within a data centre, emulating hundreds of gigabits per second of real world data traffic, and millions of connections, at the same time. This offers a game-changing solution for virtual core network validation.”
TeraVM LaaS can be deployed as a Virtual Network Function (VNF) due to the addition of its Software Defined Lab (SDL) functionality, via Luxoft’s NFV automation and testing framework. “Cobham Wireless’ partnership with Luxoft allows for simplification and automation of a full end-to-end test environment. This includes the creation of test beds, automation of the start-up, teardown and configuration of test topologies, configuration of physical and virtual networks and easy access and sharing of VNFs,” said Luxoft’s Product Manager, James Hopson.
“Previously it would have taken one to two weeks to set up a complete RAN to core test lab. Now, the set-up and testing of two vEPC test deployment configurations [takes] less than an hour,”
Robert Winters, Global Director at Cobham Wireless said: “Virtual environments are more dynamic and flexible than their hardware-oriented predecessors. However, these new environments require careful benchmarking and validation, supported by an overarching requirement for security. VNF vendors have become more reluctant to provide benchmark figures due to the almost infinite configurability of underlying resources in a mobile service cloud. Adding containers and virtual network functions on x86 servers in the mobile network infrastructure introduces another abstraction layer adding to the challenge of performance validation.
“Cobham Wireless’ TeraVM LaaS can verify conformance for a wide range of new virtual, ETSI-NFV enhancements, in preparation for 5G. This includes being able to test new services, software upgrades, power outage and failover scenarios, capacity planning upgrades, new vendor integration, edge computing and network slicing. Service providers can ensure improved operational efficiency and security from the RAN and Edge, through to the core network,” Winters finished.
Cobham Wireless’ TeraVM Lab-as-a-Service will be showcased with Cisco’s vEPC at Cisco Live in Las Vegas, 25th to 29th June 2017.