Two years ago, Norway's fiber-to-the-home broadband provider Bayonette launched its 1Gbps service in the greater Oslo area.
Since then, the company has been working on ways to offer this capacity more widely and recently announced a centralized, virtualized service.
This development is partly needed because current residential equipment isn't up to reliably delivering gigabit speeds.
"Existing solutions in the residential market were not created for these high-performance home networks. So we took measures to ensure a stable and reliable gigabit connection could be achieved, regardless of use and household size," Bayonette CTO Arve Paalsrud said in a statement.
The product, which the company calls Bayonette vHome, consists of simplified end-user equipment and centralized, higher-order CPE/router functionality.
This combination makes for a simpler and cheaper implementation in homes, while maintaining high performance and easy management, the company says. Furthermore, new services will be very easy to implement, without needing physical changes at the customers' end.
vHome is based on ISO Layer 2 VLANs linking customers to the datacenter. With this architecture, all that's needed is a media converter at the customers' premises, instead of a fully-fledged router. That function is kept at the central datacenter.
"We're running Layer 2 all the way, from the customer premises to the datacenter. From the apartment, the packet is [802.1Q] tagged by the switch in the basement. That's the first level of VLANs. From there, it runs on Layer 2 to the POP [point of presence] where there's another switch, which gives the packet another VLAN tag," Paalsrud says.
"This makes a QinQ packet. So we've got each apartment within each housing complex separately encapsulated. From there, it's all wrapped in an MPLS packet and delivered over the core DWDM network to the nearest datacenter. In the datacenter, we're running the virtual CPE clusters."
Bayonette's datacenter technology has been developed with Alten Calsoft Labs, employing its virtual CPE framework. The framework is optimized for Intel's Data Plane Development Kit, which enables fast path-packet processing with very high performance on standard processors.
Bayonette's offering implements router and CPE functionality in software, which runs on standard servers in separate Linux containers, one for each user.
According to Bayonette, initial testing shows 2,000 containers per Intel-based dual-socket server, processing beyond 40Gbps of traffic, a density of more than 160,000 vCPEs per rack. "The maximum switch capacity per rack is four terabits per second," Paalsrud adds.
More recently, Bayonette has added Wi-Fi to vHome, also a virtualized centralized solution that sticks to vCPE topology.
"When we started these projects, we realized vCPE alone wouldn't give us a good enough effect, because we know everybody wants a wireless network. Most wireless solutions today are based on a router with an integrated access point," Paalsrud says.
"We needed to build an access point without the router functionality, as we already have that in the vCPE project. So, this is an access point that runs in infrastructure mode, which means it's handling Layer 2 traffic, not Layer 3 [in the ISO model]."
The new access point connects to the customer's physical media converter hardware, which communicates with the central datacenter's WLAN controller that manages all the access points at the site.
"In the datacenter, it's a scale-out solution that supports millions of access points and hundreds of thousands of WLAN controllers. We create one WLAN controller for each housing complex, so if the housing association consists of 20 apartment blocks, we have one controller handling all the access points," Paalsrud says.
With this architecture, Bayonette can do centralized radio-wave management, to maximize the performance each apartment experiences -- a well-known strategy for enterprise WLAN deployments.
"Based on the radio traffic and radio noise all the access points are detecting, the controller will start tuning its associated access points. This will both steer the access points around sources outside the WLAN controllers control, as well as making the access points under its control to cooperate with each other", he says.
Implementing Wi-Fi roaming in the geographical area covered by the controller is also possible. Wi-Fi roaming enables users to connect to their own home network, as long as they are within the combined coverage area of all the access points in the housing complex.
"We believe we were the first in the world to deliver a container-based solution. Now, we're seeing other vendors coming along," Paalsrud says. Nevertheless, Bayonette is already improving on the next part of its service, the management of the datacenter elements.
"Today, we're using OpenStack to manage the containers. But OpenStack has some performance issues when you're running with the density we're doing. The first thousand containers spawns very fast, but the next thousand needs much more time. This is because of the way the OpenStack code allocates internal network resources," Paalsrud says.
"For that reason, we're moving over to Apache Mesos. Then we're getting a much less complex architecture for our vCPEs."