ETSI releases insight from NFV/MEC Plugtests

25 September 2020 | Melanie Mingas


European non-profit institute ETSI has released the results of its NFV and MEC Plugtests 2020, as part of its NFV Plugtests Programme.

Conducted in June, the 2020 tests were held online for the first time and addressed a wider scope than previous events. The plugtests involved 42 organisations and more than 170 engineers who together tested more than 65 NFV and MEC solutions.

In another first, some vendors joined with commercial solutions for virtualised 5G cores, allowing to test for 5G functionality beyond NFV orchestration, and confirming NFV as one of the key enablers of 5G networks.

“ETSI Plugtests events continue to provide a unique opportunity to foster and accelerate NFV adoption and to get essential industry feedback to help us improve our specifications,” said Bruno Chatras, ETSI ISG NFV chair.

“Congratulations to the participating organisations and individuals who took on a two-fold challenge this year: address a wider scope than previous events and run the event in a fully remote mode” Chatras added.

The test sessions covered a range of configurations and showed interoperability rates from 75% to 93%. Participating organiations were able to interact remotely through the ETSI HIVE (Hub for Interoperability and Validation at ETSI) which provides a secure framework to interconnect participants’ labs and implementations.

Other highlights in the results included a new robot framework test suite to enable the automation of NFV interoperability testing and extended support and active participation of key open source communities in the NFV and cloud-native ecosystem. These are intended to include several distributors of Kubernetes, Openstack, ETSI OSM (Open Source MANO), ONAP, Openslice and StarlingX.

Elsewhere in the results, ETSI (HQ pictured) noted a growing interest in MEC technologies, specifications and APIs. It said a large number of MEC app developers tested multi-apps scenarios and full MEC services exploitation workflows

“Following on from the success of last year’s MEC track at the fourth NFV Plugtests, this year’s event was the first joint NFV / MEC event. The learnings and feedback from the event highlight the complementary nature of the two technologies. We tested solutions in which the MEC platform provided its own NFVI as well as those where the NFVI was provided by a different vendor, demonstrating achievable interoperability” says Walter Featherstone, ISG MEC DECODE chair.

“The event also provided the opportunity to showcase and validate the upcoming GS MEC-DEC 032 API Conformance Test Suites, available in both TTCN-3 and the Robot Framework, highlighting one of the latest specifications from the Deployment and Ecosystem Development (DECODE) working group. Through this and ongoing MEC Sandbox initiatives we expect to attract even greater participation from MEC Application Developers at NFV&MEC Plugtests 2021.”