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Red Hat Virtual Central Office (VCO)

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Solution Overview
WWT has collaborated with Red Hat to build the Red Hat Virtual Central Office (VCO) solution. This solution provides a blueprint for modernizing service provider operations at the network edge via an open, software-defined infrastructure platform. It enables service providers to quickly and seamlessly deploy new capabilities for low latency and high-bandwidth application services.

The VCO solution hosted in WWT's Advanced Technology Center (ATC) uses Red Hat's software suite (including Red Hat OpenStack 13) running on powerful Intel-based hardware from HPE to deliver a 4G LTE mobile broadband internet service based on the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) architecture. 

The virtualized Central Office is built with the following technology pillars - 
  • SDN; control and data plane separation 
  • NFV; virtualization of network functions, by decoupling hardware from software and extending software-centricity via open protocols and APIs) 
  • Service and network orchestration; self organizing, autonomous/autonomic management 
  • Open protocols, interfaces and APIs, preferably with open source software implementations 
  • COTS and/or open, multi-source “white box” hardware for networking or compute or storage 

The solution consists of components from the following industry leading partners:
  • Altiostar - virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN)
  • Affirmed Networks - virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC)
  • Cumulus Networks - Linux open Network Operating System
  • Edgecore Networks - Baremetal Switches
  • F5 - virtualized Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT)
  • HPE - virtualized Home Subscriber Server (vHSS)

Before You Get Started

Watch this video to learn what is a Virtual Central Office and see a demonstration of the lab environment.

Goals & Objectives

The purpose of the lab is to highlight the benefits of deploying mobility services at the edge of a mobile network that's built on hyper-converged infrastructure. 

The user is able to get a first hand experience of a 4G LTE mobile network architecture based on 3GPP CUPS. CUPS allows for reducing latency on application services, e.g. by selecting user plane nodes which are closer to the radio network or more appropriate for the intended mobile device usage type without increasing the number of control plane nodes.

Users can login to the various network elements in the topology to review subscriber session information and walk through the call flow sequence when a mobile device connects to a 4G LTE network.

UE - User equipment
RRU - Radio remote unit
CU - Central unit
SGW-U - Serving gateway user plane function
MME - Mobility management entity
HSS - Home subscriber server
SGW-C - Serving gateway control plane function
PGW - Packet gateway
CG-NAT - Carrier-grade network address translation

Hardware & Software

CORE + CENTRAL OFFICE
3 Controllers + 3 or 4 OSD Compute Nodes
HPE Proliant DL380 Gen10 24SFF
  • 2 x Intel Xeon-Gold 6152
  • 256GB RAM
  • 1 x 480GB SSD
  • 1 x 2.4TB HDD
  • 1 x HPE FlexFabric 10Gb 2-port 534FLR-SFP+ Adapter
  • 2 x HPE Eth 10/25Gb 2p 661SFP28 Adapter

Leaf Switches
  • 2 x EdgeCore AS5812-54X (Cumulus Linux NOS)
Spine Switches
  • 2 x EdgeCore AS6712-32X (Cumulus Linux NOS)

Altiostar Intelligent Microcellular Remote Radio Head (iRRH) - iRU22360700
  • 2.6 GHz (3GPP Band 7)

Technologies