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Emblasoft announces Uranium module with XDP — enabling terabit+ throughput testing for ultra-high performance 5G applications

Emblasoft announces Uranium module with XDP — enabling terabit+ throughput testing for ultra-high performance 5G applications


Emblasoft announces Uranium module with XDP — enabling terabit+ throughput testing for ultra-high performance 5G applications

Emblasoft Evolver’s new, game-changing and cost-effective Uranium module supports XDP to enable comprehensive testing at the microsecond-level of even the most-demanding URLLC 5G user plane cases.

Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) represent the foundation on which 5G (and, particularly, 5G Standalone [SA]) will fulfil its promise. NFV virtualises all appliances within the network and, alongside SDN, enables network slicing – which enables multiple virtual networks to operate as independent networks, each with their own specific attributes, within a shared physical infrastructure.

The challenge of testing 5G URLLC applications

In a network slice, for example, at a high level the two technologies can enable the separation of the three main 5G use cases – Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) for high data rates and enhanced coverage; Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) to support large IoT device estates; and Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC) to enable critical applications with exceptionally low latency (one millisecond or lower), and very high reliability and availability. Each use case demands very different characteristics and requirements as enabled by network slices.

However, as 5G SA deployments accelerate and use cases evolve, one of the biggest challenges in the 5G network is that of ensuring packet throughput and quality for URLLC slice use cases (and others that have low latency / high performance requirements).

While eMBB and mMTC network requirements are relatively well understood, understanding the of demands of 5G URLLC use cases is still in its infancy. Notably, exceptional reliability and latency in URLLC applications is defined as no more than 0.001% of 20-byte packets failing to be delivered within 1 millisecond (ms). As other slices are defined, there may be many more applications and services that require similar performance.

NFV essentially virtualises network services and functions traditionally performed on hardware devices and platforms and instead uses centralised software running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based hardware at the edge of the network to speed up processing for mission-critical applications.

However, while NFV provides cost-effective, scalable software, processing and storage, it becomes challenging to ensure user plane packet processing and network performance under heavy loads with demanding latency requirements. Some NFs are also complex and run at the application layer, which requires the use of additional abstractions such as the Linux kernel networking stack to meet service level requirements.

XDP enables ultra-fast processing at the 5G edge

But while the Linux kernel’s network stack provides flexibility and supports multiple protocols, it requires packets to undergo multiple processing steps before they can be passed to an application. In turn, this requires a large processing overhead, leading to delays and packet degradation.

The solution was the creation of eXpress Data Path (XDP), a framework that runs on COTS and performs high-speed packet processing within eBPF applications (extended Berkeley Packet Filter). It enables execution of network functions at the edge and provides a mechanism to process network packets earlier and faster than via the kernel’s native network stack.

To enable faster responses, XDP runs an eBPF program as soon as a packet is received by the network interface, which bypasses the multiple steps required previously, and hence accelerates processing time significantly, particularly at the performance levels demanded by URLLC. How can we validate such performance?

To serve this need, at an exceptional performance level that can match processing requirements at a microsecond (ms) level (1,000 times faster than milliseconds!), Emblasoft Evolver has launched its new Uranium module with XPD processing.

Emblasoft Evolver’s Uranium enables URLLC testing at microsecond speeds

Emblasoft Evolver’s Uranium module delivers cost-effective, high-throughput data generation – enabling low latency measurements for any data plane application, such as extreme high-load 5G E2E and user plane verification – using COTS hardware.

It means that Emblasoft Evolver’s Uranium module offers a highly disruptive solution for URLLC applications at an exceptional price point (as it runs on COTS hardware) and at microsecond speeds. It supports standard COTS hardware, Linux network cards, and high traffic-load generation with low latency measurement on each packet – including RTT/jitter measurement of +/-10ms and lost/late packets – to enable the comprehensive testing of URLLC applications at low cost. 

The Emblasoft Evolver Uranium module enables end-to-end 5G testing over multiple different network slices, and is able to handle 100,000 users per 400 Gbits of traffic per 1U server (equivalent to 4Mbps per user per server).

It can do this over four gNodeBs – and, if more are required, testing can be scaled cost-effectively by adding more COTS units, so it’s easy to grow and increase capacity. Uranium also enables UPF testing at up to 20Gbits per user.

Cost-effective and scalable, Uranium supports lifecycle testing of low-latency, ultra-reliable 5G applications

Uranium takes advantage of the key benefits provided by XDP NIC technology when it comes to 5G testing. The game-changing benefits provided by Uranium include:

  • Low Latency – XDP's ability to process packets at the NIC level significantly reduces latency, crucial for meeting the stringent requirements of 5G applications such as augmented reality, VR, and autonomous vehicles.
  • High Throughput – By offloading packet processing to the NIC, XDP enhances the overall throughput of the traffic enabling large volumes of data to be handled efficiently and at speeds in the fraction of a millisecond range.
  • Customisation – Uranium enables network engineers to tailor packet processing logic to specific use cases, allowing for an exceptionally adaptable and customisable 5G testing environment.

It supports a wide range of use cases - high throughput UPF validation and RTP traffic generation – are just two examples, as well as the PFCP task emulation, and  HTTP and other application protocols. Uranium enables testing of UPF in isolation, core end-to-end network testing, and can test EPC entities in isolation (for example, SGW-U and PGW-U).

Emblasoft Evolver’s new Uranium module can meet the most challenging testing requirements when it comes to high-data throughput and URLLC applications and provides validation of data plane function performance at an unprecedented price point.

Furthermore, our Active Monitoring module ensures continuous testing and monitoring to ensure that demanding performance requirements are met throughout the lifecycle of the service or slice.

To find out more, or to book a demo, contact us today.