Before tearing down your Quick Start deployment, there are three additional steps you can take to watch Aether in action. The first is to bring up the Aether Management Plane (AMP), which includes Dashboards showing different aspects of Aether’s runtime behavior. The second is to inspect the logs written by the various microservices. The third is to enable packet capture, and then run an analysis tool to trace the flow of packets into and out of SD-Core.
The Aether Management Platform (AMP) is implemented by two Kubernetes applications: Runtime Operational Control (ROC) and a Monitoring Service.1 AMP can be deployed on the same cluster as SD-Core by executing the following Make target:
$ make aether-amp-install
kubectl will show the
cattle-monitoring-system namespaces running in support of these
two services, respectively, plus new
atomix pods in the
kube-system namespace. Atomix is the scalable key-value store
that keeps the ROC data model persistent.
Note that what the implementation calls ROC, Chapter 6 refers to generically as Service Orchestration.
You can access the dashboards for the two subsystems, respectively, at
The programmatic API underlying the Control Dashboard, which was
introduced in Section 6.4, can
be accessed at
http://10.76.28.113:31194/aether-roc-api/ in our
example deployment (where Aether runs on host
There is much more to say about the ROC and the Aether API, which we
return to in the section on Runtime Control. For now, we suggest you
simply peruse the Control Dashboard by starting with the dropdown menu
in the upper right corner. For example, selecting Devices will show
the set of UEs registered with Aether, similar to the screenshot in
Figure 48. In an operational setting, these values
would be entered into the ROC through either the GUI or the underlying
API. For the Quick Start scenario we’re limiting ourselves to in this
section, these values are loaded from
Turning to the Monitoring Dashboard, you will initially see Kubernetes-related performance stats. Select the 5G Dashboard option to display information reported by SD-Core. Similar to Figure 49, the page shows an active (green) UPF, and once you rerun the RAN simulator (gNBsim), some number of active base stations and connected devices. The bottom panel shows the UPF throughput, which due to gNBsim’s focus on stressing the control plane, typically shows only minimal activity.
When you are done experimenting with AMP, type the following to tear it down:
$ make aether-amp-uninstall
You’ve already seen the log file generated by gNBsim for each
emulation run, but you can also inspect the logs generated by
individual microservices that implement Aether. Doing so is certainly
helpful when debugging a failure, but it can also be an aid in
learning how each microservice works. For example, the following
command outputs the log for the
bessd container, one of five
containers running as part of the
$ kubectl logs -n omec -p upf-0 bessd
kubectl works just fine for tasks like this, you may also
want to install k9s, a terminal-based UI
that provides a convenient alternative for interacting with Kubernetes.
Once installed, the following command brings up the UI for the OMEC
namespace that implements SD-Core.
$ k9s -n omec
Figure 50 shows an example k9s display, where you
can scroll up and down, and then invoke one of the listed
<l> (display log) or
<s> (open a shell)—for
the selected pod.
Run Ksniff and Wireshark
In addition to the trace output generated by the simulator, a good way to understand the inner working of Aether is to use Ksniff (a Kubernetes plugin) to capture packets and display their headers as they flow into and out of the microservices that implement Aether. Output from Ksniff can then be fed into Wireshark.
To install the Ksniff plugin on the server running Aether, you need to
krew, the Kubernetes plugin manager. Instructions on
doing that can be found online. Once
that’s done, you can install Ksniff by typing:
$ kubectl krew install sniff
You can then run Ksniff in the context of a specific Kubernetes pod by specifying their namespace and instance names, and then redirecting the output to Wireshark. If you don’t have a desktop environment on your Aether server, you can either view the output using a simpler packet analyzer, such as tshark, or by redirecting the PCAP output in a file and transfer it a desktop machine for viewing in Wireshark.
For example, the following captures and displays traffic into and out
of the AMF, where you need to substitute the name of the AMP pod
you learned from
kubectl in place of
$ kubectl sniff -n omec amf-5887bbf6c5-pc9g2 -o - | tshark -r -
Of course, you’ll also need to restart the RAN emulator to generate workload for this tool to capture.