5G-PCI – Hardware accelerated virtualization of network functions using PCIe in 5G access networks

Name of the participant: Ralf Kundel

Description of the IT research project: In addition to increasing computing capacity, steadily advancing digitization also requires an adequate communication infrastructure, which is characterized by higher bandwidths and stronger real-time requirements. These requirements can be met by hardware-accelerated network components such as GPUs, FPGAs or special chips. Within the scope of this research project, new aspects and possibilities of hardware acceleration are identified, analyzed and implemented. Mobile access networks, specifically 5G, and in this context “Edge-Cloud Computing” are considered as a concrete use case.

On the one hand, this increases the performance, which for users is reflected in higher data throughput and lower latencies. This is relevant for real-time applications in the context of Industry 4.0, for example, but also for applications in medical technology, etc. On the other hand, the energy consumption of a system is greatly reduced compared to pure software solutions.

In this project, the flexible and efficient integration of hardware accelerators into virtualized computer systems is investigated, since previous approaches have shown deficits in these points compared to pure software solutions. Concretely examined here is:

  • the direct transfer of data between different hardware accelerators in PCIe systems, whereby this can be done without the intervention of the computer system
  • Chaining of virtual network functions (VNF chaining) on different hardware accelerators in PCIe systems
  • Investigation of usability in the context of 5G access networks

Software Campus partner: TU Darmstadt, Huawei

Implementation period: 01.02.2020 – 31.01.2022