One of the most common questions about OpenEPC is to which 3GPP Release is it compliant to.
If you know 3GPP specifications and releases you know it is quite a complex topic. Most specifications cover many features, procedures, information elements and even interfaces which are not mandatory. It is almost impossible to grant full compatibility with all items included in a 3GPP Release. In particular, OpenEPC with 14 components and over 35 3GPP specifications the question of compliancy is not an easy question to answer.
For example in Release 11 there are features added to the EPC for compatibility with Broadband Forum specifications (fixed broadband). The interfaces, functions and features added for BBF compatibility are absolutely irrelevant for LTE connectivity and even not key for supporting Wi-Fi interconnection scenarios. These kind of features are usually not supported by OpenEPC by default, although some have been added as customer specific implementations and later incorporated in the main product line.
As counter example OpenEPC supports since its first release the Access Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDSF) and its interfaces. Although the ANDSF was defined in Release 8 as an optional element permitting the operator to send policies to the mobile device regarding which access network to connect to it has not yet achieved commercial adoption. It is only now with the upcoming multi-access heterogeneous EPC networks, part of the 5G vision, that the ANDSF is becoming relevant.
In the same way there are optional features started in 3GPP Release 10 like MAPCON and IFOM which are also becoming interesting in the light of 5G. These features permit an UE to connect to several access network simultaneously and balance its IP flows between the different accesses. OpenEPC supports both MAPCON and IFOM, even with their additions in Release 12, this is permitting our partners to experiment with new 5G scenarios and use cases with support for the most advanced technology.
OpenEPC was started in 2009 and the first versions took Release 8 as their basis. In 2012 all functions had been upgraded to Release 10 support. Today many of our components support Release 12 characteristics and information elements, although full compatibility with Release 12 cannot be granted since not all optional features are supported, while also some of the procedures are not fully specified in the standards, hence we had to also improvise in order to complete the functional model. That’s why we claim 3GPP compatibility up to Release 12.
For more detailed information on specific features support and compatibility please do not hesitate to contact us.