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Equinix Rearchitects a Connected Car Network with Travelping in Korea


Analyst reports indicate that connected car technology will progress gradually over the next few decades. However, infrastructure challenges, particularly in the cellular network architecture, need to be addressed before these advancements can become a reality. Equinix, Inc., the world’s digital infrastructure company®, has supported Travelping, a German company that helps enterprises design and operate globally deployed networks, with Equinix Metal® and Equinix Fabric® to build a connected car network that helps its automobile customers overcome data sovereignty and latency issues.

A large German automaker needed wireless connectivity for cars it sold in more than 40 countries, including Korea. The automaker required cars sold in Korea to connect to its local cloud data centre. However, its chosen telco carrier’s global network did not meet the required low latency and data sovereignty requirements, hindering its connected car services in Korea.

To establish wireless connectivity for the automaker’s cars in Korea, Travelping utilised Radio Access Network under a roaming agreement with a local telecommunications provider. Due to the network architecture involving Service Gateway, Packet Data Network Gateway and the S8 interface, car data had to travel from Korea to Germany before reaching the local cloud data centre, resulting in a significant round trip distance of about 8,500 kilometres and adding 274 milliseconds (ms) of latency, which is unacceptable for connected cars.

The Issue That Is Distance

Travelping addressed the issue by virtually deploying the Packet Data Network (PDN) Gateway in an Equinix data centre in Korea using Equinix Metal, a bare metal cloud service offering automated dedicated compute infrastructure. By emulating the role of the physical PDN Gateway, the virtual gateway eliminated the need for car data to travel internationally before reaching the carrier’s IP network, significantly reducing latency. The S8 handoff between the Korean operator’s cellular network and the German operator’s IP network was facilitated through a private link using Equinix Fabric, along with a physical cross-connect between Travelping’s Metal servers and the Korean operator’s network point of presence, all located within the same data centre. This resulted in a roundtrip network latency of less than 20 milliseconds.

The network is based on Travelping’s cloud-native and containerised solution, CENNSO, Cloud Enabled Network Service Operations. CENNSO includes the Virtual Packet Gateway, Session Management Function, User Plane Function and MQTT Gateway, which is a message queue-based service. These components optimise user data sessions, route data between mobile devices and the internet and organise telemetry data emitted by cars for automakers’ use.

Providing the ‘Perfect Solution’

Holger Winkelmann, Founder of and Managing Director at Travelping GmbH, said: “While building a physical point of presence (POP) in Korea would be costly and time-consuming, Travelping’s CENNSO, combined with Equinix Metal and Equinix Fabric, enables our automaker customer to offer advanced connected car technology benefits to Korean customers without delay. The global connectivity and ecosystems Equinix provides a perfect solution to address the low latency and data residence requirements of connected cars.”

Chris Jang, Managing Director at Equinix Korea, commented: “Automakers need to collect, process, integrate and analyse huge amounts of data shared across geographical boundaries in order to bring seamless driving experience for connected cars. Traditional, centralised IT infrastructures are rigid, costly and unable to integrate promising new capabilities. Our collaboration with Travelping allows automakers to easily set up hybrid multicloud architectures on dedicated bare metal infrastructure.”