Thursday, April 21, 2016

Google Expects its Cloud vEPC to Scale for Billions of Users

Google is now delivering Wi-Fi access in Indian railway stations using a virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) running in its cloud infrastructure, said Geng Lin, Head of Global Engineering, Global Markets, at Google, in a keynote address at Layer123 NFV World Congress in San Jose, California.

The Google Access project is striving to bring reliable Internet options to the estimated 4 billion unconnected users in developing markets. Wi-Fi is one of the access technologies it will use, but there will be others. Google is looking to partner with other carriers, governments and organizations to bring down the cost of serving large populations.

This project, which was undertaken last year with India's RailTel, aims to offer reliable, super-fast Wi-Fi to as many as 10 million daily users when it is fully rolled out in hundreds of railway stations across the country.

Lin said Google chose to implement a cloud-based, EPC control plane and service operations center to offer an extensible service across the country that can scale to millions of users. RailTel provides a fiber backhaul to each station. Google integrates the Wi-Fi RAN with the vEPC running on its Google Compute Engine infrastructure. Google's cloud-based service operations is also delivering advanced analytics and service level monitoring to improve the customer experience.

The service went live in January in the first railway stations. So far, the network is delivering 99.94% weekly, end-to-end availability for users, proving the vEPC running on the Google cloud is stable and scaling well. The number of active users is now on a sharp uptick as more stations are added to the network. Currently, the vEPC is serving nearly 200,000 active, registered users. Average usage per user per day is over 50 minutes, equating to 366MB of data per user per day.

Lin said Google's vEPC will scale to tens of millions of users for this Railtel project, but the architecture is extensible to reach hundreds of millions and ultimately billions of users by leveraging the global Google Compute Engine. The vEPC could also be offered as a wholesale service on the Google Compute Engine to partner carriers.

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