Accelerating free5GC Data Plane Using Programmable Hardware

Muthuraman Elangovan*, Muhammad Shahid Iqbal*, Chien Chen, Jyh-Cheng Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

– The demands of today’s 5G mobile network, especially low latency and high bandwidth, are a big challenge for the 5G Core (5GC) provider. The most critical user data packet handler in the 5GC Network Function (NF) is the User Plane Function (UPF), which is responsible for moving data from the user equipment to the destination data network, and vice versa. Existing work mainly focuses on implementing UPF using the key technologies of high-speed data processing. In this paper, with a mobile core provider called free5GC for a standalone (SA) 5G network, we share our experience with the implementation of UPF by using a programmable hardware appliance, which can offer more Tbps compared to the implementation of software UPF that can offer only a few hundred Gbps. For that, we demonstrate how to build up a more flexible architecture of UPF by using the Software-Defined Networking (SDN) concept due to the opacity of protocol specification. We split the UPF control signal implementation into a software application, and user data packet processing into a programmable hardware appliance. We also show how to integrate a number of current UPF data plane free5GC implementations such as Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), Linux kernel module, and SmartNIC. Furthermore, we analyze and make use of microservices to support the specific features of the UPF data plane that cannot be implemented in a programmable hardware appliance. We tested our free5GC mobile network and the new UPF design architecture that can run on a real programmable hardware appliance from Accton CSP-7551. The evaluation results show that our programmable user plane can reach the line rate.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAPNOMS 2023 - 24th Asia-Pacific Network Operations and Management Symposium
Subtitle of host publicationIntelligent Management for Enabling the Digital Transformation
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages137-142
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9788995004395
StatePublished - 2023
Event24th Asia-Pacific Network Operations and Management Symposium, APNOMS 2023 - Sejong, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 6 Sep 20238 Sep 2023

Publication series

NameAPNOMS 2023 - 24th Asia-Pacific Network Operations and Management Symposium: Intelligent Management for Enabling the Digital Transformation

Conference

Conference24th Asia-Pacific Network Operations and Management Symposium, APNOMS 2023
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
CitySejong
Period6/09/238/09/23

Keywords

  • 5G
  • free5GC
  • P4
  • Tofino
  • UPF

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