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M-CORD: Project Update

Jul 31, 2018
Timon Sloane
Timon Sloane About the author

M-CORD snapshot project update from Oguz Sunay - M-CORD Chief Architect

M-CORD is the open source CORD platform profile for the telco-owned 5G edge cloud where telcos can host vRAN and core network VNFs/microservices as well as any of the value-add service platforms they may have. The telco edge cloud is a distributed cloud paradigm and as such it ultimately needs global orchestration of the many deployed edges, support of mobility, as well as secure connectivity to the Telco Cloud so that inter-cloud service chaining is viable.

Deploying an edge cloud is critical for telcos to create new value in the 5G world, especially for the upcoming services that require low latency and/or localization.  M-CORD is on its path to provide a compelling open source reference design for this architecture.

M-CORD Updates & Roadmap

A comprehensive, highly integrated PoC was successfully demonstrated at MWC Barcelona 2018 and ONS North America. Highlights included

  • CORD 5.0based platform.
  • 2x2 P4 fabricusing switches from Barefoot, Mellanox and Cavium.
  • ONOS Fabric application enhanced to support P4Runtime.
  • Open Source Release 12-14 compliant EPCwith the following VNF components: SPGW-u, SPGW-c, MME, HSS, HSS database.
  • SPGW-u (GTP Tunnel Encapsulation/Decapsulation) also realized as a P4 programand compiled to run on one of the leaf (Barefoot) switches.
  • ONOS SPGW-u control applicationdeveloped with P4Runtime southbound to configure the SPGW-u application.
  • ONOS-controlled programmable end-to-end network slicingincluding slicing of the RAN.
  • End-to-end slicing utilized two instances of the EPCsuite, one of which utilized the P4-based SPGW-u, resulting in the user plane packets to traverse through the fabric without ever touching a server.
  • Two end user services were instantiated: streaming video and face recognition. The face recognition application was developed to run on a GPU.
  • Network slicing for the two services were designed by ONAP’s SDC.
  • A REST-based API was developed for ONAP SDN-C – XOS communication so that ONAP can push down the slice designs to the edge for execution.
  • A third-party telemetry functionality and associated analytics engine was incorporated to the CORD platform.
  • A REST-based API was developed for telemetry function – ONOS Network Slicing App (ProgRAN) communicationso that telemetry function can pull RAN network state data from ONOS.
  • Zero touch closed loop automation intelligenceto ensure acceptable QoE for select end users was developed. The locally generated alarm engaged ONAP’s DCAE enginefor closed loop automation. ONAP’s Policy Engine then communicated the necessary slicing profile edits to XOS to complete the closed-loop.
  • An independently automated (via ONAP) MEC platform integrated with M-CORDfor inter-operable operation.
  • Performance demonstration of the P4-based 3GPP user planeillustrated the capability to carry 100Gbps traffic with nano-second delay and jitter performances.
  • M-CORD’s mobile edge platform was integrated with a geographically distant ONAP(running in Istanbul, Turkey) to conduct slice design and closed-loop automation.
  • A faster closed loop automationwas developed that was confined to the mobile edge. The capability of programmable selection of the two developed automation schemes was added to the platform


The next phase of the M-CORD PoC demonstration will be at the upcoming MWC Americas in Los Angeles in September 2018. Additionally, the following updates and features are planned for the next releases.

  • Open Source EPC: Containerized EPC (and subsequent migration to NG-CORE) that can be orchestrated by Kubernetes.
  • Support for Mobility: Subscriber state migration/synchronization across multiple edge clouds
  • Global Orchestration: Global control of the telco owned distributed edge cloud platform for seamless nation-wide operation.
  • Telemetry-as-a-Service: Collection of network/infrastructure/resources/service states and creating a platform that programmatically exposes a subscribed, abstracted version of these states to third-party (or open source) analytics engines.
  • SDN Services: ORAN application to control RAN, UPF.p4 application to realize the LTE/5G core network user plane on P4-capable switch(es) and configure it using P4Runtime.
  • White-Box 5G RAN Architecture: RAN constitutes a significant portion of the telco CAPEX and OPEX. With operator and supply chain participation, a white-box RAN ecosystem can be kick started to develop a hardware platform that contains a pluggable RF module, power amplifier module, and a compute platform all with clearly defined interfaces as well as requirements for the software that would run on it.
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Timon SloaneVP, Marketing & Ecosystem
Timon Sloane is the vice president of marketing and ecosystem of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). He leads the organization’s efforts building an open source ecosystem, thus helping to enable broad transformation of the networking industry through the adoption open source business practices.