NFV Infrastructure: Cobham Wireless Debuts ‘Lab-as-a-Service’ for core network testing


Cobham Wireless has launched TeraVM LaaS (Lab-as-a-Service) for core network testing. The solution is designed to support mobile operator networks as they shift towards virtualised, NFV infrastructures.

The Lab-as-a-Service model for validating network performance enables the automation of network deployment and validation in a scalable, cost-effective manner.

The introduction of LTE-Advanced and 5G requires mobile operators to invest in virtual core network technology, in order to operate with dynamic flexibility and reduced cost. TeraVM LaaS provides a comprehensive validation platform for the virtual evolved packet core (vEPC), offering an automation framework, that integrates with any orchestration (MANO) platform for both EPC network functions and test elements simultaneously.”

TeraVM LaaS offers a complete end-to-end testing solution from RAN to core when used with Cobham Wireless’ TM500, which stress tests the impact of RAN traffic on the core network.

Partnering with ng4T, TeraVM LaaS can emulate thousands of base stations and millions of mobile subscribers in a single virtual machine. Carsten Fuchs, COO at ng4T commented, “Combining TeraVM’s high performance application traffic generator with the NG40 multi vRAN control plane load generator enables service providers to scale within a data centre, emulating hundreds of gigabits per second of real world data traffic, and millions of connections, at the same time. This offers a game-changing solution for virtual core network validation.”

TeraVM LaaS can be deployed as a virtual network function (VNF) due to the addition of its software defined lab (SDL) functionality, via Luxoft’s NFV automation and testing framework. “Cobham Wireless’ partnership with Luxoft allows for simplification and automation of a full end-to-end test environment. This includes the creation of test beds, automation of the start-up, teardown and configuration of test topologies, configuration of physical and virtual networks and easy access and sharing of VNFs,” said Luxoft’s Product Manager, James Hopson.

“Previously it would have taken one to two weeks to set up a complete RAN to core test lab. Now the unique SDL configuration that TeraVM LaaS offers means a single user can perform the set-up and testing of two vEPC test deployment configurations in less than an hour,”

Robert Winters, Global Director at Cobham Wireless said, “Virtual environments are more dynamic and flexible than their hardware-oriented predecessors. However, these new environments require careful benchmarking and validation, supported by an overarching requirement for security. VNF vendors have become more reluctant to provide benchmark figures due to the almost infinite configurability of underlying resources in a mobile service cloud. Adding containers and virtual network functions on x86 servers in the mobile network infrastructure introduces another abstraction layer adding to the challenge of performance validation.

“Cobham Wireless’ TeraVM LaaS can verify conformance for a wide range of new virtual, ETSI-NFV enhancements, in preparation for 5G. This includes being able to test new services, software upgrades, power outage and failover scenarios, capacity planning upgrades, new vendor integration, edge computing and network slicing. Service providers can ensure improved operational efficiency and security from the RAN and Edge, through to the core network,” Winters finished.