Aether 2.1 Release

Note

Aether 2.1 is being deprecated. Its Guide is archived here.

Aether Highlights

This release of Aether picks up new internal modeling and scalability enhancements. The release has been primarily validated in the Aether-in-a-Box configuration, but the basis for this release has seen fairly broad use in various configurations.

As with 2.0, both 4G and 5G deployments are supported. The 5G User Plane Function (UPF) can be deployed with both compute-based software, as well as the P4-based hardware-accelerated UPF. Aether maintains backward compatibility with 4G, and both 4G and 5G slices may make use of both software and hardware based UPFs. P4 hardware and BESS software UPFs can be deployed side-by-side in a hybrid deployment.

Features & Improvements

New 5G features

This release of Aether incorporates SD-Core 1.2, which is the first version of SD-Core focused on support for Cloud Native 5G Network Functions. All new functionality in this release contributes to support of 5G Network functionality, including integration with 5G gNB small cells from Sercomm; 5G small cell hardware from T&W running 5G-SA RAN stack from Radisys; 5G slices with Application filtering; and a policy framework that supports QoS at multiple levels - subscribers, applications and slices. For more details, please refer to the SD-Core 1.2 Release notes.

SD-Fabric Integration

For this release, configurations incorporating SD-Fabric, and the P4 UPF have NOT been re-validated (as this release has only been validated on Aether-in-a-Box). Users can continue to deploy these configurations but should exercise caution to ensure the capabilities continue to operate as expected. For more details, please refer to the SD-Fabric 1.2 Release notes.

Configuration Model Improvement

The Configuration model of ROC has been upgraded in Aether 2.1 so that the “site”, “application”, “traffic-class”, and “template” are now at the highest level in the model. The connectivity-service 4g/5g is now an attribute of slice.

This change greatly simplifies the ROC API - for example the URL to retrieve a site is now:

  • aether/v2.1.x/aiab-enterprise/site/mysite

where previously the equivalent would have been:

  • aether/v2.0.x/connectivity-service-v2/enterprises/enterprise/aiab-enterprise/site/mysite

The configuration of the “enterprise” is handled now in onos-topo as an Entity. New enterprises can be added with the entities.topo.onosproject.org CRD, and will subsequently be created in onos-topo by the onos-operator. The ROC GUI remains unchanged, as it has absorbed these model changes into its internal functions.

Configuration System Improvements

Aether’s ROC configuration system internals were redesigned and reimplemented to address various instability issues and incorporate new patterns and architectures. The controllers at the core of onos-config were redesigned in TLA+ – a machine-checked formal specification language – to develop a more stable and viable architecture long-term, and the controllers were reimplemented according to the new design. On the northbound, new gNMI extensions make onos-config’s handling of gNMI Set and Get requests configurable with support for various consistency strategies when propagating changes to gNMI targets. On the southbound, support was added for handling non-persistent targets (recovering target configuration after restarts). For additional information, please see the README file for the configuration system.

Support for complex validation rules

Aether support for complex validation rules (“guardrails”) has been added to prevent misconfiguration of the system. These guardrails are specified using Aether’s yang modeling language, allowing new rules to be modified easily as needed.

Aether Testing

Aether uses automated testing based on Jenkins and Robot Framework. The tests performed are described below.

Aether-in-a-Box Deployment Tests:

SD-Core Tests (manual testing):

  • 4G

    • Functional coverage: attach, detach, dataplane traffic, handover, TAU, paging, error scenarios, failure/restart of network functions

  • 5G

    • Functional Coverage: register, deregister, dataplane traffic scenarios, handover, TAU, DDN, few error scenarios, few failure/restart of network functions, application filtering, QoS

ROC:

  • Functional API

Documentation

Aether documentation is available at docs.aetherproject.org.

Limitations and Known Issues

  • The P4 UPF does not support Slice MBR, which requires leaving out the configuration endpoint configuration for P4 UPFs. Additionally, only 1 slice can currently use a P4 UPF. The next release of Aether will remove both limitations.

  • IMSIs should not be removed from Simapp. They may be added at any time.

  • When running the ROC GUI in the Firefox browser, it is possible to enter non-numeric characters in to numeric fields.

  • Application filtering is not available for some combinations of 5G UEs and 5G gNBs. For 5G slices, it is recommended that default behavior be set to ALLOW-ALL and application filtering rules not be added at this time.

  • Kubespray is no longer supported for Aether-in-a-Box deployments due to software component incompatibilities.

  • An intermittent issue was observed where a UE may not be issued an IP address.This was observed on a few occasions during the 2.1 release, but root cause has been determined. It continues to be under investigation.

Aether 2.1.0 Release

Aether 2.1.0 is the base release of the 2.1 branch.

Aether 2.1.0 Component Versions

ROC:

  • atomix-runtime: 0.1.9

  • onos-operator: 0.5.6

  • aether-roc-umbrella: 2.1.33

SD-Core 1.2.1:

  • sdcore-helm-chart: 0.11.16 (Umbrella Helm Chart)

    • Omec-control-plane : 0.11.2

    • Omec-sub-provision : 0.5.3

    • 5g-control-plane : 0.7.17

    • 5g-ran-sim: 0.5.9

UPF: bess-upf: 0.1.0

SD-Fabric 1.2:

  • sdfabric: 1.2.0

Hardware and Vendor Dependencies:

  • Sercomm eNB: Firmware version 3922

  • gNB using T&W hardware with Radisys software:

    • Radisys 5G-SA RAN stack: TRILLIUM_5GNR_NXP_GNB_AIO_QCOM_SUB6_WITH_DPDK_BIN_REL_2.4.3

    • T&W gNB: 5G Sub-6GHz Small Cell (N78, 8GB DDR, With housing), Model SDQ001-RU (N78)

  • Mobile UE for 5G testing: MOTO G 5G (2022), Google Pixel 4