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Metaswitch & Vodafone conduct industry’s first 5G wireless wireline convergence tests

Posted by Metaswitch

Cloud native communications leader Metaswitch today announced that its Access Gateway Function (AGF) solution has been successfully tested by Vodafone for the industry’s first implementation of the 5G Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) AGF standard. The AGF in Metaswitch’s 5G Fusion Core solution, which is aligned with Broadband Forum and 3GPP specifications, was tested in Vodafone Group labs in the U.K.

“We have been very active in supporting the Wireless Wireline Convergence activity in the Broadband Forum,” said Gavin Young, Head of Fixed Access Centre of Excellence at Vodafone Group, “and we are proud to be hosting the world’s first operator test of this technology. Working with Metaswitch, we have been able to prove that the technology works in practice, and we have been very impressed both by the performance of the AGF in Metaswitch’s 5G Fusion Core solution and its cloud native architecture. This trial more than justifies our faith in the value and the practicality of broadband convergence.”

The Metaswitch AGF is part of its 5G Fusion Core solution and is a true cloud native solution in which all functional elements, including User Plane Function (UPF) and Access Gateway Function (AGF), are deployed in containers and orchestrated by Kubernetes to ensure strong performance and network deployment flexibility for service providers.

5G Wireless Wireline Convergence offers a path to a fully converged broadband access network that serves both wireline and mobile subscribers from a single technology stack. This facilitates the use of common credentials, authentication and a unified approach to applying network policy.  When fully implemented, WWC seamlessly integrates fixed and wireless services, simplifying service provider offerings, reducing the overall complexity of subscriber and service management, and promoting always-on services through converged connectivity.

Vodafone 5G Access Gateway Function Evaluation Milestones

The Metaswitch Fusion Core 5G WWC solution includes an Access Gateway Function built to align with the new Broadband Forum TR-456 specification, in addition to other 5G packet core functions including the world’s highest-performance software UPF. The Fusion Core UPF and AGF are both powered by Metaswitch’s Composable Network Application Processor (CNAP) software packet processing technology, which in recent tests conducted with Intel demonstrated 500 Gbps UPF throughput on a single two-socket industry-standard server.

The trial system was deployed in Vodafone Labs entirely remotely, taking advantage of the automation capabilities of Kubernetes and Helm, and has successfully demonstrated the attachment of standard fixed network residential gateways (FN-RG) to the 5G packet core, with mapping between wireline broadband and 5G authentication, authorization and session establishment procedures performed in the AGF.

“WWC is emerging as one of the most critical use cases for the Metaswitch 5G packet core and is an area in which we are poised to provide unique value to the global carrier industry,” said Martin Taylor, Metaswitch CTO. “This industry-first evaluation test builds on a great deal of interest from converged network operators and is clearly demonstrating Fusion Core’s ability to deliver extraordinary levels of performance and efficiency from both AGF and UPF to make it cost effective.”

―CT Bureau

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