Vodafone Transforms Fixed Access

Prototype shows that using traffic steering on a cloud native architecture enables rapid response to increases in traffic.

At a glance:

  • Vodafone is a one of the world’s largest telecommunications, IoT, and mobile services providers.

  • Intel, Vodafone, and the Berlin institute of Software Defined Networking embarked on building a functional lab prototype using the Intel® Tofino™ 64 x 100G ports P4 programmable switch, 3rd gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, and the Intel® Ethernet Network Adapter E810. The prototype demonstrated that the flexibility of the approach lends itself well to the fundamentals and flexibility required of the edge traffic steering on a multilocational architecture.



Executive Summary

Edge computing is not new but has taken on a new level of importance with digitization of operator networks. This opportunity depends on the efficient steering of enterprise or subscriber traffic to the correct edge application or service. Operators and new independent software entrants are exploring innovative use cases and services, and the operator community is developing new architectural approaches via the standard bodies (such as the Broadband Forum) to enhance their current fixed access network assets to take advantage of these rapidly emerging opportunities.

Fixed access service providers have a huge opportunity to differentiate their networks by moving away from the traditional static mapping of subscriber to service and allowing individual subscriber sessions to be steered to the right location to support their service needs, including appropriate latency for edge applications. At the same time, there is a need to support more continuous deployment of new continuous integration/continuous delivery-like software capabilities into the network without requiring long planning cycles and network outages.

A new, more dynamic Fixed Access Architecture is being defined that supports cloud native principles to enable the control and user plane of the network to be scaled up in rapid response to increases in customer traffic load or service needs and allows new features to be rolled out to the control and user planes in a continuous deployment approach without costly and time-consuming outages for maintenance.