Like a real operator network: Testbed for future mobile broadband communication
Release from Wed., December 05, 2012
Berlin/ Germany, December 5th, 2012 – With its OpenEPC software, Fraunhofer FOKUS provides a testbed toolkit that enables prototyping of seamless IP connectivity-related features like QoS (Quality of Service) and charging, mobility management, access control and security for 3GPP and non-3GPP wireless network technologies including 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE), 3G, 2G and WLAN. OpenEPC Rel. 4 is now delivered to customers and partners around the globe. As main new feature the testbed can be equipped with real devices and radio networks mirroring the operator network very close to reality.
With the adoption of LTE (Long Term Evolution) along with other broadband wireless technologies such as 3G and 2G, and with the increasing penetration of new multimedia devices, such as smart phones and tablets, the mobile communication market is opened towards new domains such as Cloud Computing, Machine-to-Machine Communication, and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) based operator services. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standardized the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) as the core network for LTE, preparing the operator network for the scalability requirements of a future mobile broadband communication. Fraunhofer FOKUS has developed the OpenEPC toolkit, a software implementation inspired by the 3GPP EPC Releases 8, 9, 10, and 11, which enables operators, vendors, and the scientific community to gain know-how and to adopt the new EPC technology in reasonable time. OpenEPC based testbeds, such as the Fraunhofer FOKUS FUSECO Playground, allow developers to prototype, measure, test, and perform research for optimizing future mobile applications and optimized core network functionality. Developers learn how applications can be specifically tailored for mobile environments, are able to build on top of a reference implementation of 3GPP functionality and can use it to support the proof of concept.
Cost-efficient, Open and Adaptable
The OpenEPC software toolkit can be easily installed and run as it was developed for off-the-shelf devices. The resulting testbed can be equipped with real mobile devices, and with cost efficient commercially available radio components from third parties. This reduces the overall costs for mobile broadband testbeds significantly. Another unique advantage: customers and partners could have access to the source code and gain hands-on experience in the use of the technology. Furthermore, the software consists of a highly modular and configurable architecture so that the testbeds are easy adaptable to specific needs and changing requirements.
With Release 4, Open EPC has become more realistic as real phones, radio access nodes and apps can be flexibly integrated; thus mirroring in a comprehensive and realistic form the operator core network with its many features.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Magedanz, head of the FOKUS competence center Next Generation Network Infrastructures (NGNI) and professor within the electrical engineering and computer sciences faculty at the Technische Universität Berlin, explains: “We are very proud to provide OpenEPC Release 4 to our customers and partners. OpenEPC was successfully introduced in 2010 with lots of functional extensions demanded by customers during the last two years. With Rel. 4, the toolkit has reached its functional maturity state. It mirrors the operator network very close to reality as it interconnects smoothly with cost-efficient radio network equipments and enables connectivity for common mobile devices. I’m convinced that OpenEPC will reduce the gap between research and development and networks which are already in practical use by enabling the efficient realization of meaningful testbeds.”
The toolkit is scalable starting from a complete core network in a single box, up to medium-scale distributed proof of concept testbeds. OpenEPC Rel. 4 is available under a multitude of paid binary, source code, or redistribution licenses.