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Coordinated control and spectrum management for 5G heterogeneous radio access networks

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COHERENT (Coordinated control and spectrum management for 5G heterogeneous radio access networks)

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

The COHERENT project is one of H2020 5G PPP projects funded by European Commission. It aims to research and develop a unified control and coordination framework for 5G heterogeneous radio access networks. The project focuses on three innovations in control and coordination of 5G networks: i) Software defined networking for radio access networks, to enable a scalable and flexible control and coordination framework for complex resource coordination and spectrum management in 5G networks; ii) Efficient radio resource modelling and management in programmable radio access networks, with well-defined control interfaces, protocols and application programming interfaces (API) to greatly simplify the management of heterogeneous mobile networks, to be verified by various 5G use cases; iii) Flexible spectrum management, based on the awareness of spectrum usage through the COHERENT control framework, to support different spectrum access schemes, including but not limited to, Licensed Shared Access, License Assisted Access, and flexible duplex in 5G radio access networks. COHERENT works closely with other 5G PPP projects to meet the European 5G ambition defined by 5G PPP technical, societal and business related key performance indicators (KPI). The applicability and benefits of the COHERENT approach will be demonstrated by a true proof-of-concept prototype.
During the first year of the project, COHERENT has worked on requirements, scenarios and use cases specifications (Deliverable D2.1) flexible radio access network (RAN) architecture design (Deliverable D2.2) radio resource abstraction, virtualization and management (Deliverable D3.1) software development kit (SDK) and algorithms for programmable control in RAN (Deliverable D2.3 Deliverable D5.1) and flexible spectrum management (Deliverable D4.1). The project has proposed new RAN architecture to manage densified heterogeneous RAN, new methods based on RAN virtualization to improve radio resource utilization efficiency; network slicing support at RAN for varied vertical services; and flexible spectrum management and spectrum sharing to offer higher area capacity. COHERENT has submitted 21 standardization contributions to 3GPP SA1, RAN1, RAN2 and RAN3, published 5 tier-1 journal papers, 15 conference and workshop papers, planned 5 workshops and successfully organized 3 of them, delivered 2 technical tutorials, 4 demos in different events, 4 presentations in industry forums and company events, and participated in one 5G panel discussion. In 3GPP, COHERENT has already had a major impact on TR 38.913 TR 36.913 (Study on Scenarios and Requirements for Next Generation Access Technologies), in relation on requirements on User Plane and Control Plane separation and on interfaces supporting effective inter-site scheduling coordination.
COHERENT addresses the 5G PPP KPI on 1000 times higher wireless area capacity and more varied service capabilities compared to 2010 and investigates new RAN architecture, spectrum management, network slicing and softwarization at RAN for flexible, scalable, cost efficient control and coordination solutions for 5G mobile networks.

The flexible RAN architecture proposed by COHERENT introduces new logical centralized control and coordination network entity, RAN virtualization, flexible function split, and SDN based control principles into LTE/LTE-A, WiFi and emerging 5G networks. The concept of the network graph, which reflects the low layer reality of RAN by abstracted network views, is introduced to support radio resource virtualization and enable scalable fine-grain coordination among RAN entities for higher wireless area capacity.

New radio resource management methods based on the new architecture are developed to support fine-grain radio resource allocation and node cooperation cross the cellular cells’ boundary. The improved coordination methods are capable of improving the performance of coordinated multi-point transmission and reception (CoMP), multi-connectivity and other new cooperative functions in RAN.

COHERENT has proposed the preliminary design of a flexible spectrum management framework for heterogeneous RAN therefore not only conventional spectrum management methods but also new spectrum access schemes, for instance, license shared access (LSA), could be integrated to provide more spectrum opportunities to end users. Moreover, the flexible duplex in LTE has been studied in the project. The flexible duplex has potential to improve the spectrum utilization efficiency in LTE/LTE-A. The project plans to promote the flexible duplex study results to ETSI PT1.

The COHERENT partners have been actively cooperating with other 5G PPP projects through 5G PPP working groups and adopting diverse technical inputs into the project work. Led by the partner 4GCelleX, the partners of COHERENT have actively participating in standardization and regulation work in 3GPP. The COHERENT partners have submitted 21 joint contributions to 3GPP SA1, RAN1, RAN2 and RAN3.
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