A high performance packet core for next generation cellular networks

Zafar Ayyub Qazi, Melvin Walls, Aurojit Panda, Vyas Sekar, Sylvia Ratnasamy, Scott Shenker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Cellular traffic continues to grow rapidly making the scalability of the cellular infrastructure a critical issue. However, there is mounting evidence that the current Evolved Packet Core (EPC) is ill-suited to meet these scaling demands: EPC solutions based on specialized appliances are expensive to scale and recent software EPCs perform poorly, particularly with increasing numbers of devices or signaling traffic. In this paper, we design and evaluate a new system architecture for a software EPC that achieves high and scalable performance. We postulate that the poor scaling of existing EPC systems stems from the manner in which the system is decomposed which leads to device state being duplicated across multiple components which in turn results in frequent interactions between the different components. We propose an alternate approach in which state for a single device is consolidated in one location and EPC functions are (re)organized for efficient access to this consolidated state. In effect, our design "slices" the EPC by user. We prototype and evaluate PEPC, a software EPC that implements the key components of our design. We show that PEPC achieves 3-7× higher throughput than comparable software EPCs that have been implemented in industry and over 10× higher throughput than a popular open-source implementation (OpenAirInterface). Compared to the industrial EPC implementations, PEPC sustains high data throughput for 10-100× more users devices per core, and a 10× higher ratio of signaling-to-data traffic. In addition to high performance, PEPC's by-user organization enables efficient state migration and customization of processing pipelines. We implement user migration in PEPC and show that state can be migrated with little disruption, e.g., migration adds only up to 4μs of latency to median per packet latencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCOMM 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 Conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages348-361
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450346535
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 7 2017
Event2017 Conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication, SIGCOMM 2017 - Los Angeles, United States
Duration: Aug 21 2017Aug 25 2017

Publication series

NameSIGCOMM 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 Conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication

Other

Other2017 Conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication, SIGCOMM 2017
CountryUnited States
CityLos Angeles
Period8/21/178/25/17

Keywords

  • Cellular Networks
  • EPC
  • Network Function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Communication

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  • Cite this

    Qazi, Z. A., Walls, M., Panda, A., Sekar, V., Ratnasamy, S., & Shenker, S. (2017). A high performance packet core for next generation cellular networks. In SIGCOMM 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 Conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication (pp. 348-361). (SIGCOMM 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 Conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3098822.3098848