User Plane Hardware Acceleration in Access Networks: Experiences in Offloading Network Functions in Real 5G Deployments

Kundel, Ralf
Meuser, Tobias
Koppe, Timo
Hark, Rhaban
Steinmetz, Ralf
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Fulfilling the ambitious Quality of Service demands of today’s wireless networks, especially low latency, high bandwidths and availability, is a big challenge for researchers, network architects, and operators. Each networking component on the data path between the user equipment and the destination data network, e.g., the Internet, must provide the highest performance to meet these requirements. This work demonstrates how different network elements of the user plane, describing the whole path of user traffic, can be sped up with different hardware acceleration technologies. For that, we demonstrate how to build up a 5G standalone campus network for evaluation, working end-to-end with real user equipment and open-source software components. Further, we analyze the user-plane network functions of 5G networks from the radio access network to the core. Based on our real 5G setup, the practical evaluation of the analysis results shows up how the 5G user-plane hardware can be accelerated best.
Cellular and Wireless Networks, 5g, fpga, hardware acceleration, p4
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