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5G NORMA Report Summary

Project ID: 671584
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - 5G NORMA (5G NOvel Radio Multiservice adaptive network Architecture)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Mobile networks are becoming an important enabler for the ongoing digitization of busi-ness and daily life enabling the transition towards a connected society. The increasing adoption of smart-phones and tablets is driving the use of high volume consumer services such as video streaming, resulting in a fast growth of mobile broadband traffic. In parallel, services in high priority areas for our society such as education, health, and government, as well as vertical business areas such as smart grids, transportation, and automation in-creasingly rely on a mobile communication infrastructure. In these areas, autonomously communicating devices will increasingly create mobile traffic, but with significantly dif-ferent characteristics from today’s dominant human-to-human traffic.

In light of the above, the requirements of 5G technology cannot be satisfied by simply introducing a new 5G radio interface; instead, a re-design of the architecture is needed. In this context, 5G NORMA develops an end-to-end architecture based on network slicing which allows for instantiating multiple slices on a single common infrastructure, each of which can be tailored to specific requirements. This yields a flexible architecture that will allow for optimising resource utilisation and exploiting economies of scale. In this way, the 5G NORMA architecture enables multi-service and context-aware adaptation of net-work functions and mobile network multi-tenancy, which leverages the adaptability and efficiency of network functions and enables an inherent and dynamic sharing and distri-bution of network resources between operators. In order to provide these characteristics, three novel functionalities are under investigation by the 5G NORMA project:
1. Flexible composition and allocation of network functions;
2. Software-defined mobile network control of network functions;
3. Joint optimization of network functions.

The design of the 5G NORMA architecture is accompanied by a socio-economic analysis of the benefits of 5G NORMA innovations to determine the value both to the telecommu-nication industry and to the society.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first phase of the project, work focused on the identification of use cases and requirements, as well as the first design iteration for the 5G NORMA architecture. In par-ticular, 5G NORMA defined 12 use cases of relevance in cooperation with other 5G PPP projects; based on these use cases, a set of functional and performance requirements were defined which were then grouped. Afterwards, using these requirements, design principles were derived to support the design of the architecture taking into account the derived re-quirements.

5G NORMA defined a first draft of an end-to-end multi-service 5G mobile network archi-tecture which is illustrated in the figure above. Horizontally, it includes the entire mobile network from the radio access point to the packet data network (PDN) gateway. Vertically, it covers the description of service-specific control and data layer functionality, the defini-tion of a multi-tenant capable management & orchestration (MANO) layer, as well as the service layer, which integrates MNO-domain as well as 3rd party-domain business- and application-level functionality. In order to provide insights into the various aspects of the architecture, four architectural views were derived, namely the functional, deployment, topological, and resource view. Furthermore, based on the architecture design an analysis of involved stakeholders was performed and their interaction was identified.

The project further defined the functional architecture of the control and data layer which addresses the main mobile network functionality. In order to allow for allocating network functionality flexibly throughout the network, an analysis of the individual network func-tions was performed. This led to overall 25 access and core network function blocks. These function blocks form the novel 5G NORMA architecture, which includes novel 5G functionality investigated by the project as well as functions defined by 3GPP LTE. Fur-thermore, 5G NORMA paid particular attention to the analysis of required multi-connectivity functionality in 5G and its integration into the mobile network architecture. 5G NORMA further provided a network slicing architecture which combines the multi-connectivity architecture, the functional architecture, and network slicing in one consoli-dated architecture.

A key innovation of 5G NORMA is the concept of software-defined mobile network control (SDMC), which is a cornerstone to control and handle the mobile network’s flexi-bility, adaptability, and programmability. The concept consists of three entities that were specified in the first phase of the project, namely Software Defined Mobile Network Or-chestrator (SDM-O), the Software Defined Mobile Network Controller (SDM-C), and the Software Defined Mobile Network Coordinator (SDM-X). A functional architecture that combines all three was designed in order to provide a consistent operation of the sys-tem. Furthermore, interfaces between the different modules were designed and several processes were identified in order to characterize the interaction of the different system components. Based on these process definitions, novel functions were derived and exist-ing functions were refined.

In addition, 5G NORMA investigated specific approaches to complement the control and data layer functionality as well as the SDMC architecture. Details on these approaches are provided in public reports available on the project website.
The project further defined a consistent demo plan that outlines which system components and features will be demonstrated with testbeds at the end of the project. The definition of the testbeds and demos is based on the use cases and requirements as well as key func-tionality investigated within the project. Two initial demos, which built the basis for the final testbeds, were shown at Mobile World Congress 2016. From the experience of these demos and the work progress within the project, two demos were identified which will be shown at the end of the project.

5G NORMA further invested significant efforts in the definition of an evaluation method-ology that takes KPIs from 5G PPP into account and is aligned along the innovations de-rived in 5G NORMA. A highlight of this analysis will be the techno-economic evaluation of the network architecture. Furthermore, 5G NORMA has been very active to publicly show its recent results such as at major journals, workshops, panels, as well as a three-day summer school organized in London with almost 100 attendees.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Technical achievements. In terms of progress, these are the key results that have been achieved by the project so far:
• Use cases and requirements identified and used to define design requirements which serve as basis for the design of the 5G NORMA architecture.
• The basis for the socio-economic analysis of the 5G NORMA architecture includ-ing two representative scenarios.
• The first design iteration for the derivation of a novel 5G mobile network architec-ture finished, which enables the flexible allocation of network functions, software-defined mobile network control, and joint optimization of network functions. As a result, novel multi-service and multi-tenancy capabilities can be offered.
• A functional mobile network architecture, which covers state-of-the art mobile network functionality as well as novel 5G functionality including multi-connectivity and network slicing.
• Initial design and evaluation of algorithms and protocols on admission control and radio resource allocation for multi-tenancy, improved QoS differentiation and handling, and mMTC support.
• Specification of three distinguished entities as part of the SDMC concept: SDM-O, SDM-C and SDM-X.
• Initial design and evaluation of mobility management schemes, SDM-C applica-tions and algorithms, and function allocation and orchestration algorithms.
• Two initial demos shown at MWC 2016. Initial design and roadmap to develop two final demos showcasing key innovations of 5G NORMA.

Dissemination activities and impact. So far, 5G NORMA contributed to standardization bodies such as 3GPP, IETF, IEEE, NGMN and BBF. Main results were published in high-prestige journals such as IEEE Communications Magazine, IEEE Transactions, and ETT, as well as high-profile conferences such as IEEE Globecom and IEEE ICC. Furthermore, 5G NORMA used its demonstrators at various events to explain its main objectives and innovations, e.g., at Mobile World Congress, EuCNC, ETSI, and IEEE ICC, being one of the pioneering demonstrators on such advanced 5G functionality. 5G NORMA is the or-ganizer of the 5Garch workshop series, which has become a premier event on the topic of 5G architecture. 5G NORMA further organized multiple events in order to discuss with international researchers recent results, e.g., at multiple panels and workshops organized in conjunction with IEEE Globecom and IEEE ICC, NGMN Forum, as well as EuCNC. Most notably, 5G NORMA organized a summer school in London in June 2016 to discuss with the international audience the development towards a 5G architecture. Finally, 5G NORMA is actively using social media and press releases in order to disseminate the project results to a non-technical audience.

5G PPP Activities. 5G NORMA has been strongly engaged in 5G PPP concertation activi-ties such as the working group on architecture, the security working group, and working group on standards. The project contributed actively to the editorial process of the white paper issued by the working group architecture, released in June 2016, which represents a major step towards positioning Europe in the forefront of 5G architecture activities. In addition, 5G NORMA participated in multiple workshops and discussion rounds with oth-er projects in order to align the architecture views.

Related information

Record Number: 192804 / Last updated on: 2016-12-14
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