Mobile Virtual EPC Applications

Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) technologies are used for provisioning of 4G LTE mobile core network services, in virtual machines implemented on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. These services include transfer of voice, data and video from a mobile device to the IP network. Netronome’s Agilio CX SmartNIC and Agilio software provide 3-5 times higher vEPC bandwidth on the same number of CPU cores by offloading the datapath involving the network and virtual machines (VMs) user plane traffic. This means higher levels of mobile core network services at lower CAPEX. Netronome has partnered with Tieto in the implementation and benchmarking of this proof of concept.


vEPC based mobile core network services are implemented using components such as the mobility management entity (MME), packet gateway (P-GW) and serving gateway (S-GW). These software components are run in VMs in COTS servers. The number of such VMs that can be deployed in a server and the bandwidth that can be delivered to these applications has a direct implication on service levels and number of concurrent mobile user connections that can be supported by a given set of servers.


The Netronome® Agilio® solution is able to achieve higher performance per vEPC VNF (P-GW and S-GW) while delivering significant savings in the number of CPU cores used for network processing by implementing transparent Open vSwitch datapath offload. The performance advantage and savings are further enhanced when VXLAN and multiple ACL rules per VM are applied to simulate a secure multi-tenant environment in this proof of concept. Please refer to the Virtual EPC White Paper for more details.

Test Setup/Tools

Netronome has partnered with Tieto to deliver a vEPC proof of concept implementation that can be experienced through the vEPC test drive section. The test setup utilizes the MME, P-GW and S-GW software and the Tieto IP (TIP) stack from Tieto and is installed on Dell servers where the Agilio CX SmartNIC are installed. OVS based L2 and L3 forwarding rules between the VMs are offloaded to the Agilio CX solution. For multi-tenant and secure environments, VXLAN and security rules are applied to the VMs. Please refer to the Virtual EPC White Paper for more details.


vEPC consists of mobility management entity (MME), packet gateway (P-GW) and serving gateway (S-GW)) which can run in virtual machine (VM). The virtualized functions allocated to VMs are called a virtual network functions (VNFs). Each VNF in a vEPC network is isolated from the other VNFs, and have their own performance requirements. However, all the VNFs implemented in a single or multiple servers must interconnect in order to forward packets between them correctly. In multi-tenant and secure environments, technologies such as VXLAN and security policies per VNF becomes important. Please refer to the Virtual EPC Whitepaper for more details.

ROI Calculator

This ROI calculator compares the CAPEX and three-year OPEX for a virtualized EPC (vEPC) application built using servers with Agilio CX SmartNIC. Compared to traditional NICs, the Agilio CX ISAs offload and accelerate server-based networking functions, helping vEPC applications run faster and improve overall server efficiency. The comparison shown below assumes an Intel server with 24 physical CPU cores and a 40GbE network interface per server. Additional configurations can be provided upon request.

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