Developed from the same software base which created AttoEPC, AttoEdge is a 3GPP standards-compliant core network product that provides public network extension and pushes core functionality right out to the network edge. AttoEdge supports a local breakout capability, which enables SIPTO based data offload, compliant to TR 23.859: “Local IP access (LIPA) mobility and Selected IP Traffic Offload (SIPTO) at the local network”.
AttoEdge supports standard LTE interfaces and is interoperable with existing deployed LTE networks. It is also highly cost-effective and in addition to having an enterprise application, can also be embedded in residential femtocells to provide data offload functionality.
The principal components of AttoEdge are:
- AttoS1GW. AttoS1GW is a 3GPP Release 14 compliant S1 Gateway, which multiplexes multiple eNodeBs into a single S1 connection. AttoS1GW functionality includes support for NAS Node Selection Function (NNSF) with S1Flex, eNodeB paging and data route optimisation.
- AttoLGW. AttoLGW is a local gateway, which is deployed at the network edge. AttoLGW is 3GPP Release 14 compliant and includes an implementation of the Sxx interface.
Whilst typically deployed together, both AttoS1GW and AttoLGW can be separately deployed to deliver a subset of the full AttoEdge functionality.
AttoEdge runs on top of the Linux operating system and can be deployed on a standalone COTS server. When running on a COTS server, AttoEdge can operate directly on the server bare metal, can be run in a virtual machine or it can be deployed in a Docker container.
Alternatively, AttoEdge can be embedded directly into an eNodeB. Deployed in spare processor cores on the eNodeB, AttoEdge can implement the same functionality as when it is deployed on a COTS server, but the additional portability and ease of use makes it even more suitable for deployment in smaller enterprises and homes.
AttoEdge’s highly parallel data throughput is turbo-charge by using multiple CPUs for multiplying bandwidth and multiple Traffic Queues for dividing and managing latency. AttoEdge automatically load balances the available CPU cores.
The growing availability of unlicensed and light licensed LTE capable spectrum, such as that enabled by CBRS, supplementing the ubiquitous licensed 4G capable spectrum, has significantly increased the opportunity to bring mobile network innovation into the enterprise through the deployment of small cell RANs and innovative mobile core software solutions.
To address this opportunity, AttoEdge can be deployed in the enterprise as part of a public network extension. Basic capabilities provided by public network extensions include enhancing coverage and capacity within the enterprise, whilst providing enterprise network users with access to all of the usual public network services. AttoEdge builds on these basic capabilities to provide value-added capabilities that can not be delivered by traditional methods of extending the public network, such as DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems).
The introduction of AttoS1GW isolates the enterprise network from the public network. In addition to reducing the burden of new S1 connections connecting in the public network’s existing macro core, this isolation also allows AttoS1GW to manage handovers between enterprise deployed eNodeBs, without the need for complex, time-consuming and resource-hungry interaction with the macro core.
Enterprises benefit from purpose-built corporate data networks and from high capacity broadband access to the public internet. A major benefit of an AttoEdge enabled enterprise mobile network is the ability to offload data from the mobile network onto the corporate data network or public internet. These networks are specifically created to handle large quantities of data and the use of such networks is now rarely charged on the basis of usage. From both the performance perspective and the cost perspective, data offload makes sense. By deploying AttoLGW as part of the AttoEdge installation in the enterprise network, enterprises gain the ability to enable SIPTO based per APN data offload, sending their mission critical data directly over the networks best able to hand them, instead of overworked public network mobile cores.
AttoEdge is an excellent choice for deployment in residential applications, as part of a residential data offload solution. When deployed inside residential Femtocells, the ability of AttoEdge to automatically load balance across the available CPU cores significantly reduces latency, as individual packets are distributed across different CPUs.
In this residential deployment, AttoEdge utilises the same AttoS1GW and AttoLGW components as are deployed in the enterprise application:
- AttoEdge can be deployed with an older generation eNodeB, which does not support SIPTO. In this case, both the AttoS1GW and AttoLGW components are required. The highly compact nature of the AttoEdge software means that these two processes place very low demands on both the memory requirements and the processing power of the eNodeB. In this configuration, AttoS1GW adds the SIPTO capability to the eNodeB, whilst AttoLGW implements the residential data offload.
- AttoEdge can also be deployed alongside a newer generation SIPTO compliant eNodeB. In this case, only the AttoLGW component is required to implement the residential data offload.
In each case, the data offload functionality provided by AttoEdge has the same data offload impact on the residential network, offloading broadband data from the mobile network onto the residential broadband network, a fast and efficient connection, which has been specifically created to cost-effectively carry large quantities of data at high speed. The benefit to the mobile network operator is that expensive resources within the macro network core are no longer required to carry this data, giving the core more opportunity to focus on its essential signalling functions and other operational support responsibilities.