Time Sensitive Networking

This guide describes how to deploy and run Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) applications on StarlingX virtual machines.

Introduction

Embedded sectors such as automotive, industrial, professional audio/video networking, as well as blockchain and high frequency trading have emphasized the need for real-time networks. Common LAN models are based on Internet protocols and the IEEE 802 architecture, where operations are best-effort which is not suitable for edge computing use cases that require high/known/deterministic availability.

Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) is a set of evolving standards developed by the IEEE 802.1 Working Group to cover a group of vendor-neutral and IEEE standards with the aim of guaranteeing determinism in delivering time-sensitive traffic with low and bounded latency within an infinitesimal packet loss over the network, while allowing non time-sensitive traffic to be carried through the same network. It is also a key technology that targets the previously listed edge computing segments.

StarlingX (STX) is a complete cloud infrastructure software stack for the edge that provides running workloads on both virtual machine and container environments.

This guide shows how to deploy and run a TSN application on a STX virtual machine. It includes TSN reference applications which are taken from TSN Reference Software for Linux with a focus on 2 key use cases:

  1. IEEE 802.1Qav or Credit Based Shaper (CBS)

    Ensure bounded transmission latency for time sensitive, loss-sensitive, real-time data stream in some critical user scenarios. For instance, when time sensitive traffic and best-effort traffic are transmitted together, users require the bandwidth and latency of time-sensitive traffic is protected in the midst of overloaded traffic on the same network, that is, ensure that the time-sensitive traffic has a constant transmission rate and latency.

  2. IEEE 802.1Qbv or Time Aware Shaper (TAS)

    Create a protected transmission window for scheduled traffic, which requires low and bounded transmission latency. Scheduled traffic is the term used in IEEE 802.1Qbv to refer to periodic traffic such as industrial automation control frames. This type of traffic is short in frame length and requires immediate transmission when its schedule starts.

Requirements

The TSN reference application has been verified on the following environments:

Hardware

  • Edge cloud platform: meet STX requirements

  • Edge device: Intel Core® Processor

  • Intel® Ethernet Controller I210

Software

  • Linux Kernel 4.19.04 +

Demo environment setup

The following diagram shows the setup for the demo:

../_images/stx-tsn-demo-environment.png

Figure 1: Time Sensitive Networking demo setup

The demo uses the hardware and software components listed below:

  • Edge cloud platform: built based on STX All-In-One (AIO) which provides IaaS infrastructure for edge cloud environment.

  • Edge device: edge side device to generate TSN data for processing.

  • Intel® Ethernet Controller I210: installed on both the edge cloud platform node and edge device and connected by CAT-5E Ethernet cable. Igb.ko is the corresponding Linux kernel driver which has been included in Linux.

  • Edge gateway: a virtual machine created by STX. Acts as gateway to collect TSN data, perform edge computing, and send to data center. The I210 adapter is exposed to the edge gateway from the host node through OpenStack Nova’s PCI pass-through support.

  • p2p4l and phc2sys: utilities from the LinuxPTP project to support time synchronization over PTP.

  • tc: utility/command used to configure Traffic Control in the Linux kernel.

  • TSN Sender/Receiver: TSN reference application from TSN Reference Software for Linux to send/receive TSN data for processing.

Deploy TSN applications on STX

Edge cloud platform

  1. Install STX environment: follow the instructions from the Installation Guides to install one STX environment (for example STX AIO).

  2. Prepare a VM image. Create image tsn_ubuntu_19_04.img based on Ubuntu 19.04 with the required binaries shown below.

    # linuxPTP
    git clone https://git.code.sf.net/p/linuxptp/code linuxptp-code
    cd linuxptp-code
    make
    make install
    # iproute2
    apt install bison flex elfutils -y
    git clone http://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/network/iproute2/iproute2.git
    cd iproute2
    make
    make install
    
  3. Upload image to OpenStack Glance and enable PCI passthrough in the flavor property.

    # upload image
    openstack image create --container-format bare --disk-format qcow2 --file
    tsn_ubuntu_19_04.img --public tsn-ubuntu-19-04
    # add pci-passthrough property to flavor (for example m1.medium), "h210-1" is the
    alias name of the PCI device configured in nova.config
    openstack flavor set m1.medium --property pci_passthrough:alias=h210-1:1
    
  4. Configure OpenStack Nova to allow for PCI passthrough. Create the nova-tsn-pt.yaml file to allow PCI passthrough for the i210 adapter (for example device id: 8086:1533).

    conf:
    nova:
     pci:
       alias:
           type: multistring
           values:
           - '{"vendor_id": "8086", "product_id": "1533","device_type":
           "type-PCI","name": "h210-1"}'
       passthrough_whitelist:
           type: multistring
           values:
           - '{"class_id": "8086", "product_id":"1533"}'
    overrides:
      nova_compute:
        hosts:
        - conf:
            nova:
             DEFAULT:
               my_ip: {host_ip}
               shared_pcpu_map: '""'
               vcpu_pin_set: '"2-5"'
             libvirt:
               images_type: default
               live_migration_inbound_addr: {host_ip}
             pci:
               passthrough_whitelist:
                 type: multistring
                 values:
                 - '{"class_id": "8086", "product_id": "1533"}'
             vnc:
               vncserver_listen: 0.0.0.0
               vncserver_proxyclient_address: {host_ip}
          name: {controller_name}
    

    Note

    Other configurations, such as libvirt and vnc, are also required, due to the override mechanism of openstack-helm for lists (for example hosts) which replaces all contents of the list instead of replacing a single configuration item for each list element.

  5. Enable Nova PCI passthrough configuration in STX.

    # set pci-passthrough config
    system helm-override-update  stx-openstack nova openstack --values
    nova-tsn-pt.yaml
    system application-apply stx-openstack
    
  6. Create VM instance.

    openstack server create --image tsn-ubuntu-19-04 --network ${network_uuid}
    --flavor m1.medium tsn
    
  7. Install the TSN reference application and other test applications. Follow the instructions in TSN Reference Software for Linux to compile and install the following applications in the VM instances:

    • iperf3: running in server mode to receive best-effort traffic.

    • simple_listener: TSN test application which receives IEEE1722 class A traffic. Used to test the IEEE 802.1Qav or Credit Based Shaper use case.

    • sample-app-taprio: TSN test application which receives traffic and measures Tx latency. Used to test the IEEE 802.1Qbv or Time Aware Shaper use case.

Edge device

  1. Install Ubuntu 19.04 and the required libraries.

    # linuxPTP
    git clone https://git.code.sf.net/p/linuxptp/code linuxptp-code
    cd linuxptp-code
    make
    make install
    # iproute2
    apt install bison flex elfutils -y
    git clone http://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/network/iproute2/iproute2.git
    cd iproute2
    make
    make install
    
  2. Install TSN reference applications and other test applications. Follow the instructions in TSN Reference Software for Linux to compile and install the following applications on the device:

    • iperf3: running in server mode to receive best-effort traffic.

    • simple_talker-cmsg: TSN test application which sends IEEE1722 class A traffic. Used to test the IEEE 802.1Qav or Credit Based Shaper use case.

    • sample-app-taprio: TSN test application which sends scheduled traffic. Used to test the IEEE 802.1Qbv or Time Aware Shaper use case.

Credit Based Shaper (CBS) demo

This demo focuses on the use of IEEE 802.1Qav or Credit Based Shaper (CBS) and the LaunchTime feature of Intel® Ethernet Controller I210 to ensure bounded and low latency for time-sensitive streams. It includes 2 scenarios:

  1. CBS and LaunchTime disabled

  2. CBS and LaunchTime enabled

In the demo

  • ptp4l daemons run on both the edge gateway and edge device to sync the PTP clock based on IEEE 802.1AS Generalized Precision Time Protocol (gPTP), with the edge gateway serving as grandmaster clock and the edge device serving as slave clock.

  • phc2sys daemons run on both devices to synchronize the system clock with the PTP clock.

  • The simple_talker-cmsg application runs on the edge device as the source of 8000 packet/s SR Class A audio frames in IEEE 1722 format.

  • The simple_listener application runs on edge gateway to receive time-sensitive traffic.

  • iperf3 runs on both devices to transfer best-effort traffic to stress system communication.

  • The tc utility is used to set up CBS and etf (for LaunchTime feature) qdisc capabilities.

Scenario 1: CBS and LaunchTime disabled

../_images/stx-tsn-demo-result1.png

Figure 2: Traffic with CBS and LaunchTime disabled

In this scenario, both best-effort traffic (blue line) and time-sensitive (IEEE 1722 audio frames) traffic (red line) into the same transmit queue, the traffic transmission of time-sensitive traffic has unbounded transmission latency and the transmission rate varies greatly (for example 7900~8100 packets/s). Without CBS or LaunchTime enabled, the network sees a burst of IEEE 1722 audio frames as driven by the simple_talker-cmsg application.

Scenario 2: CBS and LaunchTime enabled

This scenario shows CBS and LaunchTime enabled (mqprio with etf qdisc and per-packet TX time)

Enable CBS with the commands:

tc qdisc replace dev [iface]  \
       parent root handle 100 mqprio num_tc 3 \
       map 2 2 1 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 \
       queues 1@0 1@1 2@2 hw 0
tc qdisc replace dev [iface] \
       parent 100:1 cbs \
       idleslope  7808 \
       sendslope  -992192 \
       hicredit 12 \
       locredit  -97  \
       offload 1

Enable LaunchTime with the commands:

tc qdisc replace dev [iface] \
     parent 200:1 \
     etf delta \
     clockid CLOCK_TAI \
     offload 1
../_images/stx-tsn-demo-result2.png

Figure 3: Traffic with CBS and LaunchTime enabled

In this case, after enabling CBS and LaunchTime features, different transmit queues are used to separate best-effort and time-sensitive traffic. The CBS capability ensures time-sensitive traffic is bounded to the sawing-effect of credit-based shaping in the case of a heavily loaded transmission path. The LaunchTime capability ensures time-deterministic transmission by setting the per-packet TX descriptor LaunchTime field. As result, the traffic transmission of a SR Class A audio stream has constant transmission latency and the transmission rate is a constant 8000 packets/second, independent of when interfering best-effort traffic enters the system.

Time Aware Shaper (TAS) demo

This demo focuses on the use of IEEE 802.1Qbv or Time Aware Shaper (TAS) and the LaunchTime feature of Intel® Ethernet Controller I210 to ensure much more bounded and low latency for period control applications. It includes 3 scenarios:

  1. TAS and LaunchTime disabled

  2. TAS enabled

  3. TAS and LaunchTime enabled

In the demo

  • ptp4l daemons run on both the edge gateway and edge device to sync the PTP clock based on IEEE 802.1AS Generalized Precision Time Protocol (gPTP), with the edge gateway serving as grandmaster clock and the edge device serving as slave clock.

  • phc2sys daemons run on both devices to synchronize the system clock with the PTP clock.

  • The sample-app-taprio application runs on both devices to transfer scheduled traffic.

  • iperf3 runs on both devices to transfer best-effort traffic to stress system communication.

  • The tc utility is used to set up mqprio, taprio, and etf (for LaunchTime feature) qdisc capabilities.

Scenario 1: TAS and LaunchTime disabled

This scenario shows TAS and LaunchTime disabled (use mqprio qdisc only).

Create mqprio with the command:

tc qdisc add dev [iface]  parent root mqprio num_tc 4 \
       map 3 3 3 0 3 1 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 \
       queues 1@0 1@1 1@2 1@3 \
       hw 0
../_images/stx-tsn-demo-result3.png

Figure 4: Inter-packet latency with TAS and LaunchTime disabled

In this case, the distribution of the inter-packet latency for both scheduled traffic (VLAN priority = 5 and 3) has a high sample count at 500 µs, which is the inter-packet cycle time used in this demo. High sample counts observed outside of the chosen inter-packet cycle time indicate poor precision in hitting the expected 500 µs inter-packet cycle time.

Scenario 2: TAS enabled

This scenario shows TAS enabled (use taprio qdisc only).

Enable TAS with the command:

tc -d qdisc replace dev [iface] parent root handle 100 taprio num_tc 4 \
       map 3 3 3 1 3 0 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 \
       queues 1@0 1@1 1@2 1@3 \
       base-time 1559471513000000000 \
       sched-entry S 08 100000 \
       sched-entry S 01 100000 \
       sched-entry S 02 100000 \
       sched-entry S 04 200000 \
       sched-entry S 08 100000 \
       sched-entry S 01 100000 \
       sched-entry S 02 100000 \
       sched-entry S 04 200000 \
       clockid CLOCK_TAI
../_images/stx-tsn-demo-result4.png

Figure 5: Inter-packet latency with TAS enabled

In this case, most of the samples happen at and close to 500 µs. The sample count quickly drops to a single digit value when it is further away from the 500 µs inter-packet cycle time. Compared to scenario 1, a majority of the scheduled traffic is received at close to 500 µs, which shows that taprio qdisc helps traffic shape the transmission of scheduled traffic in the time domain.

Scenario 3: TAS and LaunchTime enabled

This scenario shows TAS and LaunchTime enabled (taprio with etf qdisc and per-packet TX time).

Enable LaunchTime with the command:

tc qdisc replace dev [iface] parent [parent] 1 etf \
       clockid CLOCK_TAI \
       delta [DELTA_nsec] \
       offload
../_images/stx-tsn-demo-result5.png

Figure 6: Inter-packet latency with TAS and LaunchTime enabled

In this case, the inter-packet latency distribution for both scheduled traffic is greatly reduced compared to previous cases. This result is consistent with the fact that LaunchTime technology ensures scheduled traffic is pre-fetched ahead of time from system memory into the Ethernet MAC controller for transmission at the defined time. The transmission gating effect of taprio qdisc provides a protected transmission window for scheduled traffic from interfering with best-effort traffic. As a result, combining these two technologies ensures that Ethernet frames for scheduled traffic are sent out in a protected transmission window at accurate times.