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Enhanced architecture to implement actual services and applications with 5G

From mobile broadband applications to industrial and mission critical applications, 5G networks address a wide variety of applications, but no mobile network architecture has been specified in detail that can accommodate all such applications within a common infrastructure. An EU initiative has introduced such architecture for 5G.

Digital Economy
Industrial Technologies

The EU-funded 5G-MoNArch project has developed a flexible, adaptable and programmable mobile network architecture for 5G that’s capable of efficiently incorporating diverse 5G applications into a common infrastructure framework. 5G network slicing has been the main driver, enhanced and completed with a set of enabling and functional innovations to enable network slicing implementation into practical setups.

Towards a network architecture framework

"5G-MoNArch has brought the 5G mobile network architecture to the next step of evolution by developing a comprehensive network slicing framework, and leveraging its flexibility to fully integrate a large variety of functions, with focus on industrial, media and entertainment, as well as smart city use cases,” says deputy coordinator Diomidis Michalopoulos. The integration of such network functions enables the mobile network architecture to be used for real 5G network deployments and applications. By means of the mobile network architecture, the project team developed an end-to-end network slicing concept that integrates the following features: slice-specific and slice-common functions; multi-tenancy–capable management and orchestration; inter-slice resource management; and optional integration of radio access network (RAN) control applications. Targeting industrial use cases, team members implemented functions and concepts to increase RAN reliability, telco cloud resilience and end-to-end security. For media and entertainment use cases that require handling spatial and temporal traffic fluctuations and peaks, they worked out AI- and analytics-based elasticity solutions to enhance the network flexibility. The project team implemented the 5G architecture and the functional innovations in two real-world testbeds: the smart seaport in Hamburg (industrial use cases), and the touristic city in Turin (media and entertainment).

Rendering 5G architecture functional for real 5G network deployments and applications

The new flexible and adaptive 5G mobile network architecture makes network slicing actually usable in real-world implementations. It can easily integrate additional use case- and scenario-specific functions, even beyond reliability, resilience, security and resource elasticity. Lastly, the consortium delivered a technical and economic analysis showing that some services, such as industrial applications, are expected to be highly profitable. Other services like smart cities bring important societal benefits but lower expected revenues, emphasising the need for public-private partnerships. The analysis also highlighted opportunities for new revenue streams of the developed solutions. The innovation improves end-user access to high-speed and better-performing internet services – one of the key pillars of the Digital Agenda for Europe. 5G-MoNArch has contributed to putting Europe at the forefront of 5G technology development, a segment where Europe has traditionally been strong and seeks to maintain its leading position. It has also contributed to creating a more sustainable business model for the telecommunications sector. “By means of the smart seaport testbed in Hamburg, 5G-MoNArch provided the first mobile network outdoor deployment demonstrating end-to-end network slicing,” concludes Michalopoulos. “This serves to show for the first time the benefits of this essential technology.” Such an important contribution has been recognised by the GSM Association during its GLOMO Awards at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. The project received the 5G Industry Partnership Award for its smart seaport testbed.

Keywords

5G-MoNArch, 5G, applications, network slicing, mobile network architecture, deployments and applications, radio access network, smart cities

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