MobiledgeX, Mavenir collaborate on 5G edge with Deutsche Telekom

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A service-oriented, cloud-native 5G User Plane Function (UPF) is at the core of the reference design. (Getty Images)

Separately, both Mavenir and MobiledgeX have done their fair share of deals with Deutsche Telekom. Today, they announced a collaboration whereby they’re validating the reference design for deploying cloud-native 5G User Plane Function (UPF) to support Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) applications, tailored for proximity and performance use cases.

San Jose, California-based MobiledgeX was founded by Deutsche Telekom AG, and it’s not afraid to use its service provider affiliation to the fullest extent. MobiledgeX has deals with top global operators around the world and tests a lot of its software at DT before making it available to other operators.  

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As for Richardson, Texas-based Mavenir, it's also established a name for itself, most notably, in recent years, in the open Radio Access Network (RAN) movement. But its history goes back to 2005 and it boasts a lot of varied expertise in wireless tech. 

Both MobiledgeX and Mavenir have worked with DT before where MobiledgeX was the orchestration platform for distributed edge and Mavenir was the supplier of Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and other applications.

But this is the first time the MobiledgeX control plane and orchestration engine is being used to deploy Mavenir’s new 5G core UPF functions on edge sites, according to Sunay Tripathi, CTO and EVP Engineering for MobiledgeX.

“In our ongoing work with operators behind the flurry of cloud deals being announced, we are emphasizing that 5G itself is the first real killer edge use case. And that it is important for operators to run their own critical 5G applications on their own edge infrastructure,” Tripathi told Fierce via email. “As a major global operator, Deutsche Telekom is showing the power of telco edge, which easily extends to scenarios where an operator may also be engaged with public cloud.”

From a technical standpoint, EPC previously was a very centralized, complicated and resource-heavy application, Tripathi said. Installing and managing was a “very human resource-intensive operation,” he said, and required packets from users and devices to always go to the core side, leading to higher latencies and bandwidth bottlenecks.

“As part of 5G architecture, the EPC was split up into a control plane (centralized) and user plane (distributed),” he said. “This most recent work with Deutsche Telekom and Mavenir shows the UPF for 5G core can be distributed and automated on telco edge itself.” 

Here are some of the details about the trial validation, according to a press release. With the Mavenir 5G Core running in Deutsche Telekom’s network, two network and vendor-independent cloudlets, located in Germany, were deployed as valid UPF placements in the 5G core routing.

By way of example, a video application is started on a 5G phone connected to Deutsche Telekom’s 5G network in Berlin. The request is sent to the 5G core that selects UPF placement in the Berlin cloudlet. Tunneling is established and the video request is passed to the local edge-placed video cache; delivery starts.

An identical request is made in Hanover. The traffic is then established to the Hanover cloudlet and that’s where local fulfillment occurs. The MobiledgeX Edge Cloud 3.0 platform dynamically controls the secure placement, lifecycle management and video traffic routing of the edge-based UPF and the video application.

“This is a successful milestone for cloud-native 5G Core traffic routing, giving Deutsche Telekom the freedom to deliver a point of interconnect/local breakouts anywhere in the world, on any cloud,” said Bejoy Pankajakshan, chief strategy officer at Mavenir, in a statement. “Cloud-native design of 5G network functions integrated with orchestration tools makes it possible to achieve a new level of flexibility in network function placement. Automation, agility, and flexibility are at the heart of this project.”