UPF Deployment Guide

  • Each Site has one or more UPFs dedicated for use case

  • Each Slice supports only 1 UPF

  • UPFs can be added during runtime and UP/CP form PFCP association

  • Edges can run on different versions of UPF. Changes are always backward compatible

  • Option to Install only 4G or 5G or both

  • Multiple UPF (user plane function) options available to meet the needs of different applications BESS-UPF, P4-UPF

  • Many UPFs can connect to same control plane. Control Plane selects UPF based on various criteria - DNN/Slice (5G), Apn, IMSI, ULI(4G), Slice IDs

  • IP address allocation supported at Control plane and also at UPF

  • UPF Attach/detach to SD-Core. UPF Pools created based on enterprise need.

Option1: AF_PACKET Mode UPF

  • Refer Aether in a box (AIAB) for this mode.

  • AIAB has all default values and its good example of how to use AF_PACKET mode

  • If performance is not the concern then this option should be considered

  • AF_PACKET mode is easy to deploy and does not need to do extra installations on K8s node

Option2: SRIOV and DPDK enabled UPF

Please follow the below procedure to bring up UPF in DPDK mode with SRIOV.


  • As a pre-requisite please make sure virtualization and VT-d parameters are enabled in BIOS.

  • make sure enough hugepage memory allocated, iommu enabled. These changes can be made by updating below parameter in /etc/default/grub as follows,

    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="intel_iommu=on iommu=pt default_hugepagesz=1G hugepagesz=1G hugepages=32 transparent_hugepage=never"

    Note: Number of hugepages = 2 X No of UPF Instances

    Once it is updated apply the changes by running below command,

    $sudo update-grub
    $sudo reboot

    You can verify the allocated hugepages using below command,

    curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/DPDK/dpdk/main/usertools/dpdk-hugepages.py -O dpdk-hugepages.py
    $chmod +x dpdk-hugepages.py
    $./dpdk-hugepages.py -s
    Node Pages Size Total
    0    2048  2Mb    4Gb
    1    2048  2Mb    4Gb
    Hugepages mounted on /dev/hugepages

step 1: Create VF devices and bind them to the vfio-pci driver

  • Create required VF devices as follows (In this example the PF interface used is “ens801f0”)

    echo 2 > /sys/class/net/ens801f0/device/sriov_numvfs

    Now retrieve the PCI address for the newly created VF devices using below command,

    ls -l /sys/class/net/ens801f0/device/virtfn*
  • Make sure all VF devices contain a valid MAC address (not all zero’s),

    ip link show ens801f0

    If the MAC shown for the VF’s are all zero’s, then retrieve the MAC using the PCI obtained above, as follows,

    cat /sys/bus/pci/devices/0000\:b1\:01.0/net/ens801f0v0/address
    cat /sys/bus/pci/devices/0000\:b1\:01.1/net/ens801f0v1/address

    Then, set the VF’s MAC address using the value obtained above

    ip link set ens801f0 vf 0 mac 00:11:22:33:44:50
    ip link set ens801f0 vf 1 mac 00:11:22:33:44:51
  • Bind the VF devices to the vfio-pci driver as follows,

    curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ceph/dpdk/master/tools/dpdk-devbind.py -O dpdk-devbind.py
    chmod +x dpdk-devbind.py
    ./dpdk-devbind.py -b vfio-pci 0000:b1:01.0
    ./dpdk-devbind.py -b vfio-pci 0000:b1:01.1

step 2 - Install SRIOV device plugin

  • Install the required packages for kubernetes,

    cd aether-in-a-box
    make node-prep
  • Download sriov-device-plugin.yaml and install,

    $wget https://github.com/opennetworkinglab/aether-configs/blob/main/sys/sriov-device-plugin/sriov-device-plugin.yaml
    $kubectl apply -f sriov-device-plugin.yaml
  • Create the sriov-device-plugin-config.yaml file with below details and install,

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: ConfigMap
      name: sriovdp-config
      config.json: |
          "resourceList": [
              "resourcePrefix": "intel.com",
              "resourceName": "intel_sriov_vfio_access",
              "selectors": {
                "pfNames": ["ens801f0#0-1"],
                "vendors": ["8086"],
                "drivers": ["vfio-pci"]
              "resourcePrefix": "intel.com",
              "resourceName": "intel_sriov_vfio_core",
              "selectors": {
                "pfNames": ["ens801f0#2-3"],
                "vendors": ["8086"],
                "drivers": ["vfio-pci"]
    $kubectl apply -f sriov-device-plugin-config.yaml
  • Make sure that there are minimum 1 intel_sriov_vfio_access/intel_sriov_vfio_core resources available,

    $kubectl get nodes -o json | jq '.items[].status.allocatable'
      "cpu": "144",
      "ephemeral-storage": "222337451653",
      "hugepages-1Gi": "32Gi",
      "intel.com/intel_sriov_vfio_access": "1",
      "intel.com/intel_sriov_vfio_core": "1",
      "memory": "494544488Ki",
      "pods": "110"

step 3 - Deploy 5G core using AiaB or OnRamp

Update sd-core-5g-values.yaml file parameters as follows (along with any other changes required with respect to the environment),

diff --git a/sd-core-5g-values.yaml b/sd-core-5g-values.yaml
index 58232ad..1c8893d 100644
--- a/sd-core-5g-values.yaml
+++ b/sd-core-5g-values.yaml
@@ -224,7 +224,7 @@ omec-sub-provision:
  enable: true
-    enabled: false
+    enabled: true
    repository: "registry.opennetworking.org/docker.io/"
    # uncomment below section to add update bess image tag
@@ -234,12 +234,13 @@ omec-user-plane:
      name: "oaisim"
+      privileged: true
-        enabled: false #default sriov is disabled in AIAB setup
+        enabled: true #default sriov is disabled in AIAB setup
-        enabled: false #should be enabled if dpdk is enabled
+        enabled: true #should be enabled if dpdk is enabled
      #can be any other plugin as well, remember this plugin dictates how IP address are assigned.
-      cniPlugin: macvlan
+      cniPlugin: vfioveth
      ipam: static
        - to: ${NODE_IP}
@@ -247,12 +248,16 @@ omec-user-plane:
        subnet: ${RAN_SUBNET} #this is your gNB network
-        iface: ${DATA_IFACE}
+        resourceName: "intel.com/intel_sriov_vfio_access"
+        ip: ""
+        gateway: ""
-        iface: ${DATA_IFACE}
+        resourceName: "intel.com/intel_sriov_vfio_core"
+        ip: ""
+        gateway: ""
-          mode: af_packet  #this mode means no dpdk
+          mode: dpdk  #this mode means no dpdk
  • Deploy the 5g-core (in the below case GNBSIM is disabled) as required,

    ENABLE_GNBSIM=false DATA_IFACE=ens801f0 CHARTS=latest make 5g-core

    UPF will be deployed with DPDK now and you can verify the traffic using UERANSIM (or any preferred method). If you want to deploy the Aether with RoC then use below command,

    ENABLE_GNBSIM=false DATA_IFACE=ens801f0 CHARTS=latest make roc-5g-models 5g-core


  • This option should be preferred if performance is utmost important

  • Please refer to UPF Installation Guide guide for more details