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Vodafone hosts first operator test of Wireless Wireline Convergence tech

Gavin Young Vodafone.jpg

Vodafone has become the first operator to test the Access Gateway Function (AGF) from Metaswitch, marking the industry’s first implementation of the 5G Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) AGF standard.

Part of Metaswitch’s 5G Fusion Core solution, the AGF is aligned with Broadband Forum and 3GPP specifications.

The tests, conducted at Vodafone’s UK labs, proved viability for converged broadband access to the 5G core, simplifying broadband service delivery and creating new options for converged services

“We have been very active in supporting the WWC activity in the Broadband Forum,” said Gavin Young, head of fixed access centre of excellence at Vodafone Group.

“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,” Young added.

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

5G WWC offers a path to a fully converged broadband access network that serves both wireline and mobile subscribers from a single technology stack.

Metaswitch said this facilitates the use of common credentials, authentication and a unified approach to applying network policy.  When fully implemented, WWC 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.

Achieving 500 Gbps UPF throughput

Detailing the trials, Vodafone and Metaswitch said that tests conducted with Intel demonstrated 500 Gbps UPF throughput on a single two-socket industry-standard server – making it the industry’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.

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 Metaswitch CTO Martin Taylor. his industry-first evaluation test builds on a great deal of interest from converged