The era of 5G and IoT means both opportunities and challenges for telecom operators. While the new network technologies can bring new business opportunities, there are challenges that should not be overlooked. First, with the explosion of Internet consumption from mobile devices, telecom operators have adopted Carrier-Grade NAT (CG-NAT), a large-scale NAT measure for the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, in order to accommodate the exploding demands for IP addresses. Secondly, intense competitions among the industry and OTT have put pressure on the profitability of telecom operators. Therefore, convergence is the trend for next-generation telecom network architecture.
In a conventional network topology, each network function is implemented through a dedicated, individual device, like PE (Provider Edge), Service (BRAS), EPC (Evolved Packet Core), firewall, DPI and DDoS protection. However, such complexity in hardware maintenance and management has been proved to be incapable of meeting the rapidly changing demands, and has accumulated the TCO and OPEX. Therefore, convergence of all the network functions into a single hardware server through virtualization is now the favored approach to simplify network topology and reduce hardware investment.
A broadband network solution provider for telecoms operators and ISP headquartered in Russia came to Lanner for a white-box networking hardware to act as the Multi-Service Gateway or Edge Router that converges all the network functions, such as peering, BRAS, PE and CG-NAT. This hardware solution must meet the following technological requirements:
- High Availability
Telecom services are 24/7-based and must constantly remain uptime. Thus, high-availability related features such as redundant power supply and hot-swappable cooling fans are essential for high-availability telecom networks.
- 100GbE Connectivity
Bandwidth and connectivity are crucial to QoS (quality of service). In fact, in order to meet the demands for better network performance, the interface has expanded from 1GbE, 10GbE, 25GbE to 100GbE. Indeed, 100GbE is now a necessity for 5G networks.
- Diverse Expansions via NIC Modules
To meet the networking demands in the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, the joint system shall be designed with diversified configurations for bandwidth expansions through NIC modules. The module expansion shall meet flexibility, adaptability, scalability and transformability (F.A.S.T). For instance, large CSPs (communication service providers) shall adopt 10GbE-based appliances in their headquarters, while in remote locations, 1GbE-based hardware can operate most of the address translations.
In this collaboration, Lanner presented NCA-5710, the high performance 1U rackmount appliances powered by 2nd gen Intel® Xeon® Processor Scalable Family and Intel® C627 or C621 chipset, offering optimal performance, high-throughput, greater packet processing capability, and much enhanced memory.
Regarding the integration of network security functions, such as DPI and DDoS prevention, NCA-5710 comes with hardware-based Intel® QuickAssist acceleration technology, enabling offloading encryption/decryption and compression for up to 100 Gbps (by SKU). As a high-availability hardware, NCA-5710 supports 1 + 1 redundant power supply units.
The NCA-5710‘s modular interface allows the installation of various Lanner F.A.S.T (flexibility, adaptability, scalability and transformability ) modules, making it available to a maximum of four slots for 1G, 10G, 40G or even 100GbE, in Fiber or Copper/Bypass NIC modular interface. For instance, N2S-MHM201, the first F.A.S.T. solution from Lanner, is built with Mellanox chipset designed for high-density rack scale server platforms running high-performance communications infrastructure applications. N2S-MHM201 supports advanced DPDK acceleration and support for 2x 100G Ethernet ports (QSFP28), delivering socket direct, multi-host performance and lightning speed for almost all networking applications. Thus, when NCA-5710 is installed with such module, the network appliance can offer the optimal performance and throughput to run as converged multi-service gateway.