Nervion: A Cloud Native RAN Emulator for Scalable and Flexible Mobile Core Evaluation

Jon Larrea, Mahesh K. Marina, Jacobus Van der Merwe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Given the wide interest on mobile core systems and their pivotal role in the operations of current and future mobile network services, we focus on the issue of their effective evaluation, considering the radio access network (RAN) emulation methodology. While there exist a number of different RAN emulators, following different paradigms, they are limited in their scalability and flexibility, and moreover there is no one commonly accepted RAN emulator. Motivated by this, we present Nervion, a scalable and flexible RAN emulator for mobile core system evaluation that takes a novel cloud-native approach. Nervion embeds innovations to enable scalability via abstractions and RAN element containerization, and additionally supports an even more scalable control-plane only mode. It also offers ample flexibility in terms of realizing arbitrary RAN emulation scenarios, mapping them to compute clusters, and evaluating diverse core system designs. We develop a prototype implementation of Nervion that supports 4G and 5G standard compliant RAN emulation and integrate it into the Powder platform to benefit the research community. Our experimental evaluations validate its correctness and demonstrate its scalability relative to representative set of existing RAN emulators. We also present multiple case studies using Nervion that highlight its flexibility to support diverse types of mobile core evaluations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 27th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom 2021)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages736-748
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450383424
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2021
Event27th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 31 Jan 20214 Feb 2022
https://www.sigmobile.org/mobicom/2021/index.html

Conference

Conference27th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking
Abbreviated titleMobiCom 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Period31/01/214/02/22
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Mobile Core Systems
  • Evaluation
  • RAN Emulation
  • Cloud Native

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