Network Infrastructure

Network infrastructure is the plumbing that makes the network operate, providing communications, forwarding, operations, and management. We can help provide the communications path and services to interconnect users, processes, applications, services, with internal and external networks. Whether it’s VoIP, xPON, open networking, Ethernet, NFV or SDN, we’ve got the software development expertise.

Network Processor and Hardware Acceleration

As networks get faster, it becomes harder to implement all processing functions on standard processors. To meet the demands of increased network throughput, implementation of packet processing functions can be moved from standard microprocessors to programmable hardware devices, including network processors, switching silicon, FPGAs, and security accelerators.

As software developers, Northforge works with its customers to integrate different network processors and hardware accelerators into its customers’ products to help increase product performance. We provide:

  • Integration of different hardware processors into customer products
  • Development of data plane applications on NPUs
  • Broadcom xPON, StrataXGS and StrataDNX development
  • Cavium OCTEON and NITROX development
  • Xilinx MPSoC development (FPGA + ARM)
  • Board bring-up and driver development for Linux and VxWorks

Protocols: Protocol Stack, Data Plane, Control Plane, Management Plane

Packet processing systems move bits/bytes/packets and it’s important that they implement standard protocols. These functions and protocols fall into data plane (including L2, L3), control plane, and management plane. Northforge’s protocol expertise gives customers the assurance that they will have reliable, high performance protocol processing. With its SDK and L2/L3 expertise, you’ll benefit from the best use of hardware features and ability to create white-box solutions.

What can Northforge do for you with its protocol experience? Here’s a short list.

  • Open source and commercial network stack integration with network silicon SDKs.
  • Design and implementation of IEEE, IETF, MEF, CableLabs and other standards.
  • Development of L2-L7 protocols and features in multiple telecom and broadband domains
  • Development of L2/L3 control and data plane protocol software
  • Protocol parsing
  • State machine based protocol correlation and traffic processing
  • Flow and packet statistics and KPI generation

Northforge develops solutions using the latest software and hardware technologies.

SDN/NFV/VNF

Over the past several years, two interesting concepts and technologies – SDN (Software Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) – are finding their place in modern enterprise networks and carrier infrastructures.

SDN is the separation of network control logic from the physical routers and switches that forward traffic from individual network nodes, turning networks into flexible, programmable platforms that are more cost-effective and scalable. With SDN, control software runs on an external server and therefore the network operator can purchase (or develop) software as needed. This can result in lower cost as well as faster adoption of new capabilities and features.

NFV is about virtualizing network services in software so that virtual implementations can be used to provide important network functions, rather than requiring the presence of one or more specialized physical devices. Technologies such as Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) greatly boost packet processing performance and throughput on standard processors, allowing more time for data plane applications.

Our development experience includes:

  • DPDK, OVS, QEMU, PMD development and integration
  • Experience with KVM and XEN hypervisors
  • Development of ONOS and OpenDaylight applications
  • Development of Virtual Network Functions such as IP-PBX, Firewall and Router
  • Enable running of high-performance probe inside OpenStack managed environment
  • Development of external HEAT extensions to orchestrate the deployment of one single VNF over multiple physical servers
  • Development of intuitive APIs that abstract network implementation details

You can leverage the frameworks of Northforge’s SDN/NFV/VNF Proof of Concept and our developers’ expertise to accelerate your time to market.

xPON

Need to deliver fiber optics more reliably and inexpensively? Passive Optical Network (PON) is a physical layer technique for distributing a fiber optic service to multiple sites or subscribers without having to run individual fiber optic links from the central site. PON creates a point-to-multipoint topology by running a fiber link through a series of unpowered optical splitters. The result is that a single fiber optic connection can be delivered to 16, 32, or more end points very reliably and at a lower cost than active fiber solutions.

Northforge’s experience includes xPON projects:

  • Integration of optical (e.g., Broadcom Maple) and switching (e.g. StrataDNX, StrataXGS, Xilinx MPSoC) silicon products for OLTs and ONUs
  • Development of CORD vOLT SDN application for ONOS for Authentication, VLAN and IGMP Snooping
  • Development of PHYs

As a result, our customers benefit from an SDN version of OLT (in compliance with AT&T and CORD), enabling them to open additional market opportunities with a lower cost xPON solution.

White Box, Open Networking

Traditionally, networking functions have been implemented and sold as closed, proprietary systems based on custom hardware designs and software implementations. Now the industry is moving towards software-based solutions that can run on Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) platforms giving customers the freedom to deploy white box solutions and not be tied to a single vendor or proprietary implementation.

We have experience with Open Network Linux (ONL), OF-DPA, OpenNSL and ONIE, enabling our customers to get to market faster using Open Network compliant hardware and software.

Element/Network Management

Most networks include physical network devices (called elements) – a switch, a router, a chassis – from different vendors. To manage these network elements, Element Managers are needed to serve as the management software. Network Managers are used to interface with various Element Managers using public and private interfaces.

For Element/Network Management, we can:

  • Develop EMS/NMS functions for Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance and Security (FCAPS) management
  • Port an EMS’s system from one server platform (Linux, Unix, Windows) to another
  • Develop SNMP and other management functionality on network elements

By leveraging Northforge’s EMS framework and developers’ expertise, our customers benefit from a shorter time to market.

VoIP

Are you looking to lower the cost of your VoIP/IMS platform? To transport voice over a packet network, the first step is to digitize the analog voice information. Since IP is the most common network protocol used in data networks, it’s common to wrap the digitized voice in IP packets. This is Voice over IP. VoIP is responsible for delivering the digitized voice packets and deals with issues involving error handling, synchronization and timing.

Our VoIP projects include:

  • Migrating legacy VoIP PBX platforms to FreeSwitch
  • Developing embedded tools for performance measurement (latency, jitter, packet loss, MOS)
  • Implementing VoLTE functions on IMS CSCF platform
  • Integrating proprietary VoIP platforms
  • Implementing MRCP v2 over TLS protocol
  • Implementing IDS and IPS for Session Border Controllers (SBCs)

With our VoIP projects we’ve been able to transport voice packets securely over the network; lower cost of VoIP/IMS platforms to the market; increase call volume and revenues; and meet our customers’ market needs.

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