Spirent Communications, a global enabler in test & measurement, has assisted China Telecom Beijing Research Institute to complete carrier-class virtual broadband remote access server (vBRAS) three-tier decoupling test, marking a significant breakthrough in China Telecom’s CTNet2025 Network Restructuring.
The three-tier project successfully decoupled VNF elements, the virtualization layer and the hardware layer, which is the key to large-scale NFV deployments. Only with decoupling of the three tiers, it is possible to create realistic network function virtualization and to eliminate soft silos to accelerate the development of a new industrial eco-system, which is China Telecom’s primary goal for promoting its CTNet2025 initiative.
At present, three-tier decoupling faces great challenges, including how to orchestrate components of different levels from different vendors, how to test across different virtualization platforms, and how to introduce new testing methodologies for three-tier decoupling.
The capability to test across various platforms is critical in understanding the benchmark performance matrix of virtual network elements on each platform, allowing for accurate infrastructure capacity planning and deployment of future services.
For the test, Spirent provided a suite of test solutions including: Spirent iTest automated test case execution engine; Spirent TestCenter performance testing emulation; and CloudStress, a synthetic workload generator. All these solutions were seamlessly integrated with the TeleTOS framework, an automated test orchestration system, developed in-house by China Telecom, that greatly improves test efficiency while allowing for quick turn-up and operation of new services. It also enables achievement of a DevOps model for virtual network services and integration of service development, testing, and operations.
“As a key technology in the process of network restructuring, NFV faces many challenges in deploying applications at scale in the existing networks, and the three-tier decoupling is one of the greatest challenges. Before the vBRAS three-tier decoupling, only hardware and software decoupling or two-tier decoupling was possible, says Dr. Zhu Xuetian, Director, Network Technology Research Department of the China Telecom Beijing Research Institute. “Today, we are able to achieve three-tier decoupling in a very short time-period due to unrelenting dedication and continuous collaboration from Spirent. We have also developed the TeleTOS automated test orchestration system in-house and integrated it with Spirent’s innovative test solutions thereby greatly reducing the time needed for testing and accelerating our time to value.”
“The complete end-to-end Spirent NFV solutions provide carriers with the necessary tools to assess various virtual network elements including NFV Infrastructure, VNF and MANO. In addition, Spirent has made many contributions in NFV testing methodologies, allowing China Telecom to ensure its high Quality of Service in virtualized operating networks, to turn-up and operate new services in an accelerated and effective way,” says Tan Hao, VP of Sales in Greater China and East Asia.
The carrier-grade, virtualization network emulation and verification platform developed by this team, covers traditional test cases of vBRAS and includes new test cases for NFV infrastructure benchmarking, performance evaluation, noisy neighbor scenarios, stability and life cycle management. The decoupling test has provided reliable technical evidence for large-scale carrier deployments of VNF.
It has also created a solid foundation and has explored new test concepts and test methodologies for future three-tier decoupling tests on VNF network elements such as vEPC, vFirewall and vCPE, representing a solid leap forward on the road for network restructuring for China Telecom.