Skip to main content

How can you test URLLC 5G applications running XDP?


How can you test URLLC 5G applications running XDP?

Emblasoft Evolver’s Uranium module offers XDP-enabled testing at the microsecond-level for the most-demanding URLLC 5G use cases. It's a new way to test and assure the performance of ultra-high speed, low latency applications throughout their lifecycle – which is essential for your customers with challenging, vertically-focused requirements.

The 5G revolution – including 5G Standalone (SA) which will support network slicing – is well underway. The dynamically provisioned, software-defined, virtualised 5G network will support three main use cases: Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC), and Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC). In turn, it will offer multiple monetisation opportunities for service providers.

Meanwhile, 3GPP Release 18, with implementable specifications expected by mid-2024, adds significant new capabilities and features, such as enhanced data rates, lower latency, network slicing enhancements, 5G Multicast, and so on.

Supporting ultra-high speeds and low latency applications

Supporting ultra-high speeds and low latency applications requires edge processing. But, even then, some mission-critical 5G applications will be highly demanding of network performance. They will process high data volumes, at unprecedented levels of latency. MNOs and other stakeholders will seek to support such applications and deliver the network capabilities they require.

However, these applications will need to be tested and assured – for functionality, performance and in-service, so that users can be sure that they meet expectations. Today’s test and assurance solutions don’t typically offer the performance required to truly emulate and monitor performance of such applications. So, how can MNOs and others provide the validate new high-performance applications and provide the assurances that their customers will need?

One answer lies in the introduction of XDP-enabled technology and its integration with proven 5G-capable test and assurance solutions. XDP or eXpress Data Path, a Linux networking feature that enables high-performance packet-processing programs that run in the kernel.

Originally the Linux kernel network stack was designed to support multiple protocols and features. The downside, however, is a heavy packet processing demand. XDP was conceived of to overcome this challenge by processing packets earlier in the process. It’s a framework that runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and performs high-speed packet processing.

It means it can support the exceptional reliability and latency required by 5G URLLC, which is defined as no more than 0.001% of 20-byte packets failing to be delivered within 1 millisecond (ms). In turn, this means it can help MNOs and service providers to validate and assure new use cases, such as video surveillance, factory and industrial automation, cloud-based video gaming, and so on, which require edge processing at exceptional speeds.

New use cases place demanding requirements on edge processing

Consider an automated factory. All connected devices and machines not only produce vast amounts of data, but also processing of that data needs to be completed with extremely low latency in order to ensure that every process occurs at the right time, in the right place (often at precise locations).

Essentially, real-time automation for industrial processes depends on ensuring the correct response times. Remote systems are monitored wirelessly, while control systems collect and respond to the information they gather. In this context, low latency and high data throughput are essential.

Operators of smart factories and their connectivity providers need assurance that the correct conditions can be met. Likewise, video gaming (often performed with multiple players over the cloud) needs real-time data to be processed and shared back at ultra-low latency. How can service providers assure the performance of such high-demand applications to ensure monetisation of new revenue opportunities?

Emblasoft Evolver Uranium module

Emblasoft Evolver’s XDP-enabled Uranium module can deliver cost-effective, high-throughput data generation and simulate heavy loads – allowing key 5G entities and functions to be tested at the level required.

For example, in the above (and many other scenarios), the UPF will be locally deployed (or in a nearby edge location) to perform processing of user plane data from the distributed devices in the factory. Performance at the desired throughput needs to be verified.

With the addition of the Uranium module, Evolver can provide the extreme load generation capabilities required for user plane data, emulating flows from the factory floor. For example, a single Uranium module enables UPF testing at 20Gbits per user.

In another configuration, it can support 1m PDU sessions at 400 Mbps with 40,000 concurrent subscriber data sessions – so both scale in terms of numbers and peak loads can also be validated.

Uranium takes advantage of the key benefits provided by XDP NIC technology, including low latency, high throughput, and customisation. As such, it enables use-case-oriented offers by supporting high throughput UPF validation and RTP traffic generation.

Put simply, Emblasoft Evolver’s new Uranium module can meet the most challenging testing requirements providing validation of data plan function performance at an unprecedented price point. In turn, this means that MNOs, service providers and others can easily validate high-performance applications, under real-world conditions – ensuring they can be successfully delivered to their customers.

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, download our latest paper by clicking here.