In November 2009 we showed a first demonstration of OpenEPC at the 5th FOKUS IMS Workshop 2009 and have worked since then on refining many aspects of the software. An aggressive roadmap was put in place which targets major releases every year with new feature previews every 3 months.

openepc_arrow_releases+roadmap

  • April 2010: OpenEPC Rel. 1 was launched with support for core network mobility, client mobility management, subscription management and basic policy control.
  • February 2011: OpenEPC Rel. 2 includes the core network for LTE access (eNodeB emulation and MME) and new updates on the mobility management, subscription management and other usability features. Notable also is the introduction of GTP-Cv2/GTP-U as alternatives to PMIP/GRE.
  • January 2012: OpenEPC Rel.3 contains the full EPC architecture, by adding the AAA functionality for non-3GPP access, the 2G/3G SGSN, offline charging functionality and other extensions such as flexible user plane and overhaul of the UE functionality. Special care was taken to further update the 3GPP protocol stacks to cover the entire specifications and to provide easy interoperability with 3rd party components.
  • November 2012: OpenEPC Rel. 4 includes the interaction with cost-efficient RAN components, by validating and closely integrating with femto/nano-cells available off-the-shelf. Support for mobile devices with 3GPP and non-3GPP radio technologies has been validated and improved with the introduction of Android as one of the support mobile device platforms. The PCC functions have been further enhanced with more QoS capabilities including the signaling procedures towards the 3GPP RAN.
  • September 2013: OpenEPC Rel. 5 introduced for the first time a split-plane implementation of EPC, with signaling between the Control and the User-data Planes performed over the OpenFlow protocol. Major efforts were also invested into supporting Horizontal Handovers between 2G, 3G and LTE Radio Access Networks, as well as completing the QoS signaling in these radio networks. The MSC also was overhauled to more robustly support SMS as well as to introduce support of CS-Voice service (Call Control), as the last intermediary step towards providing SRVCC capabilities. The platform also became easier to manage with the addition of JSON-RPC and REST interfaces to the internal commands of the functional elements, as well through overhauling and improvements on the multi-APN support and inter-domain signaling procedures.
  • December 2014:¬†OpenEPC Rel. 6¬†comes with major changes in the implementation as to support the latest 3GPP Rel.12 connectivity concepts. Vertical handovers are still supported like before, yet with the introduction of IP Flow Mobility clients can be in parallel connected to multiple access networks and the data flows can be distributed freely in both uplink and downlink. Upgraded ANDSF as well as new features in the SGSN, MSC and MME come with better support and more procedures covered towards enabling with OpenEPC more extensive mobile operator networks establishment in test-beds. Also an almost-complete eNodeB implementation is being launched, towards providing a flexible testing platform for new concepts, with additional RRC/PDCP/RLC stacks, a simplified MAC and a PHY either simply emulated over UDP, or outsourced to 3rd party PHY implementations aligned with the industry standards APIs. The deployment setup and organization has also been largely upgraded, especially as to ease one-click deployments of extensive EPC topologies within virtualized environments. Support for legacy components has also been improved, with the introduction of MAP/TCAP protocol stacks, pushing towards real-life commercial deployments expected to be achieved with the secondary OpenEPC carrier-grade branch.
  • Q3-2016: OpenEPC 7 carrier grade and support for VoLTE including the following features:
    • Passed 800 functional tests from an operator granting functional suitability for commercial operation
    • Passed performance test of an operator using COTS hardware with DPDK
    • Online Charging interfaces and PCC enhancements
    • further SDN/NFV improvements including automatic deployment and configuration
    • extensions and integrations towards a carrier-grade IMS companion based on the OpenIMSCore and Kamailio IMS
    • eNodeB extension of X2 interface with Self-Organizing Networks mechanisms.

Upon customer request, currently missing functionality, either standards based or customer proprietary, can be added in a prioritized manner, including distributed and virtualized network architectures, Self-Organizing Network features, Software Defined Networking, support for M2M communication and for novel wireless adapted services. OpenEPC is further used today as a base for the evolution towards LTE-B/5G and Future Internet networking equipment.