LTE Packet Core goes small scale

So, you are driving along using a mobile phone as your navigator and all of a sudden, the map disappears.  You take a look at the screen and see the reason immediately – the symbol indicating the type of network connection has turned into an E (for Edge.)  In today’s world, the definition of ‘the boonies’ is anywhere with a slow (OK, very very slow) Edge connection.

Even as LTE and other ‘4G’ networks expand, the service provider economics for supporting small communities are challenging. While smaller scale RANs (Radio Access Network) are broadly available, the technology to support the multifunction ‘network core’ does not scale down cost effectively.  At least until now.

Polaris Networks has partnered with Advantech’s Networks and Communications Group (NCG) and Comtel Electronics to create a new high-end solution for their LTE NetEPC carrier gateways. Initially ported on Advantech’s MIC-5332 dual processor ATCA Blade, the carrier grade solution complements Polaris offerings based on AMC, MicroTCA and 1U server technology. With the ability to support up to 100K subscribers, the ATCA-based NetEPC targets small (Tier II/Tier III, Rural) public and private networks, such as Public Safety Networks. Network operators are able to deploy 4G LTE services in a manner that reduces signaling overhead, distributes the session management load, simplifies network management and delivers an excellent Quality of Experience (QoE) to the user.

The EPC-in-a-box solution combines the Mobile Management Entity (MME), the Serving Gateway (S-GW) and the Packet Data Network Gateway (PDN-GW) into a single carrier-class, highly-available platform.  To provide the level of performance required to support all of these functions, Polaris selected the Advantech MIC-5332 dual processor ATCA blade based on the Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 Processor. It enables the highest processing performance available in an ATCA form factor with up to 16 cores and 32 threads of processing power, fast PCIExpress gen. 3 lanes running at up to 8Gbps and best in class virtualization support. Two QPI interfaces between the CPUs improve memory and I/O access throughput and latencies when one processor needs to access resources hosted by the other socket. The MIC-5332 provides cost savings based on modular and flexible architecture adding up to very cost effective carrier grade ATCA solution for EPC deployment in 4G private networks.

With advanced technologies driving solutions into new places, soon the map of the boonies will get smaller and smaller. One of these days, we will find that we won’t be able to get away from high speed connections and in fact, we may actually wish for the good-old-days when we could occasionally find a quiet place.

More information about the Polaris LTE NetEPC and the Advantech MIC-5332 is available at


Paul Stevens – Telecom Sector Marketing Director


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