NEC achieves 30% cut in CPU power use of UPF for networks

NEC Corporation has achieved more than 30 percent reduction in the CPU power consumption of the User Plane Function (UPF) for 4G / 5G networks in near-commercial environment.
Intel Xeon processorNEC, a leading telecom equipment maker, has enabled the dynamic control of hardware resources in real time for optimal power consumption by using the Intel Xeon Scalable processor telemetry for the UPF’s load determination logic. This was accomplished in a UPF performance test of a containerized standalone converged core network and will help telecommunications carriers to meet their energy consumption and cost reduction goals for 4G / 5G network operations.

The acceleration of 5G has led to an increased demand for improved UPF performance. UPF applications that handle user data traffic often appear to consume 100 percent of CPU resources. The applications have high energy usage and power consumption as they constantly poll the Network Interface Card (NIC), regardless of traffic volume. NEC was able to optimize power consumption by dynamically adjusting the Xeon processor usage with real time traffic in consideration of operations on a commercial network.

NEC customized the load determination logic to fit real commercial traffic and implemented the logic in the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) that is incorporated into NEC’s UPF. NEC established a mechanism for dynamically controlling the hardware resources of the Intel CPU. There is no packet loss while CPU power consumption is reduced even in an environment close to the commercial network where traffic rates fluctuate and momentary increases in packet volume occur.

“Reducing energy consumption drives tangible business benefits for operators and is key to supporting energy efficient networks in the telecoms industry,” said Patrick Lopez, Global VP of Product Management for 5G Products at NEC.

Alex Quach, Intel VP and GM, Wireline and Core Network Division, said: “Our efforts showcase the value of the Intel Xeon Scalable processors’ capabilities via advanced power management software to yield the cost savings and reduced power consumption that operators seek while continuing to meet the performance required to deliver the right 5G experiences.”

NEC is planning to expand UPF innovation by applying this technology to the user plane processing on RAN and the control plane on the Core / RAN, thereby contributing to the power saving of the entire 5G network.