Skip to main content

Converged Heterogeneous Advanced 5G Cloud-RAN Architecture for Intelligent and Secure Media Access

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CHARISMA (Converged Heterogeneous Advanced 5G Cloud-RAN Architecture for Intelligent and Secure Media Access)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-12-31

5G networking is an evolving and broad concept, encompassing seamless fixed-mobile convergence with Gb/s connectivity speeds over an intelligent infrastructure. Integrating such diverse technologies into a single architecture with recent network programmability trends presents key technology challenges, while making issues such as security, energy efficiency, and scalability ever more critical. CHARISMA (Converged Heterogeneous Advanced 5G Cloud-RAN Architecture for Intelligent and Secure Media Access) project objective is the development of an open access, converged 5G network, via virtualized slicing of network resources to different service providers (SPs), with network intelligence distributed out towards end-users over a self-similar hierarchical architecture. Such an approach offers a means to achieve important 5G key performance indicators (KPIs) related to low latency, high and scalable bandwidths, energy efficiency and virtualized security (v-security). CHARISMA’s ambitious approach for low latency and enhanced security builds upon present and future high-capacity developments that are currently being mooted for 5G deployment, such as 60 GHz/E-band, CPRI-over-Ethernet, cloud-RAN, distributed intelligence across the back-, front- and perimetric-haul, ad-hoc mobile device interconnects, content delivery networks (CDN), mobile distributed caching (MDC) and improved energy efficiency. In particular, CHARISMA has been designed to emphasise 3 specific important functionalities that are also considered to be key to many important vertical sectors and the provisioning of their supporting 5G services. These 3 functionalities are to be a low-latency network, featuring security and open access (multi-tenancy) operation.

CHARISMA is looking to have an impact on the telecommunication market, which is a highly competitive environment that will suffer a drastic transformation with the implementation of 5G, leading to growth and impact not just on the telecom sector but also creating new business opportunities.Traditional network functionalities will be moved from the Central Exchange (CE) to other parts of the network. Virtualization will be present in most of the network elements. NFV will enable to use common hardware with ease of deployment, scalability and reduced costs to achieve required network elements functionalities. Additionally, NFV combined with SDN, will lead to a reduction of CAPEX and OPEX, and will optimize the operations and reduce the time to market for new actors. A new eco-system with new players alongside the traditional ones will arise. A huge amount of CAPEX will not be necessary in order to enter the market and most of the costs will be OPEX related. In this sense, Open Access is an essential feature of CHARISMA ecosystem as it opens the market to multiple operators who will control their set of virtual resources by the appropriate interfaces.

CHARISMA characteristics will lead also to the creation of new business innovation by involving vertical sectors such as Health, Factories of the Future, Energy, Automotive etc. that require low latency, high security and open access. For example, low latency will lead to new applications that require almost real time control and information flow (remote surgery, ITS/collision avoidance); Security will lead to new use cases regarding Factories of the Future such as internet based manufacturing and will lead closer towards Industry 4.0.; Open access provides the basis for multi-tenancy. The different topics that will be researched regarding the business perspectives of CHARISMA among others include: new tariff and pricing models, charging mechanisms, demand forecasting for services. Finally, a detailed techno-economic analysis of the CHARISMA solution will be performed and guidelines will be extracted.
CHARISMA has designed a hierarchical and distributed architecture with a set of self-similar intelligent aggregation nodes located between the CO and end-users. Each node is labelled a Converged Aggregation Level (CAL) with its own scalable intelligent management unit (IMU) performing data storage/caching, processing and routing functionalities.

Regarding the physical layer, CHARISMA has developed a number of diverse and innovative hardware technologies, whose functionalities are key to enabling the low-latency, open access, and secure data transmission required in future 5G networking. These device elements include the TrustNode router for low-latency and secure routing; accelerated network interface card (SmartNIC); device-to-device (D2D) communications; offloading and hierarchical caching (MoBcache); mobile cloud; Ethernet fronthaul based on OFDM-PON and NG-PON2 technologies, for low latency, low cost and resilient RRH connectivities; and reliable low-latency backhaul providing open access connectivity between the RAN and the core network.

These CHARISMA network elements, are managed and controlled by a control, management and orchestration (CMO) platform, that implements two main features: multi-tenancy support through infrastructure slicing (open access) and virtual security management. Open access is used to create isolated slices over the CHARISMA physical infrastructure, while the CHARISMA V-Security allows Virtual Network Operators (VNOs) to customize the security policies and services they deploy in their virtual slice.

All these devices and the CMO have been integrated, tested and validated in three different pilots, that have served as demonstrators of selected 5G use cases.

All the CHARISMA partners, have concrete plans for exploiting the CHARISMA results, based on preliminary exploitation routes and on the matured foreground produced by the project. The solutions developed in CHARISMA have different maturity levels both from a development and business point of view: in fact, the TrustNode platform, SmartNIC and MobCache are pre-products with short time-to-market availability, while on the other hand, the CMO or OFDM-PON are prototypes which would need to undertake a product development phase in order to finalize the market positioning with a more business and marketing related approach.
CHARISMA results have great potential to achieve impact on the research community and the 5G industry in general but will require few years to be experienced by the society. However, CHARISMA results are expected to increase the broadband penetration across Europe and also to maximize the potential growth of the digital economy, by providing a 5G infrastructure solution that helps overcome many of the weaknesses of today’s network architectures, creating a secure, high capacity, ultrafast, and open access networking environment.

CHARISMA characteristics will lead to the creation of new business innovation by involving vertical sectors such as Health, Factories of the Future, Energy, Automotive etc. that require low latency, high security and open access. For example, low latency will lead to new applications that require almost real-time control and information flow (remote surgery, ITS/collision avoidance); Security will lead to new use cases regarding Factories of the Future such as internet based manufacturing and will lead closer towards Industry 4.0.; Open access will allow the deployment of a single infrastructure that can be used by several service operators, these will lower the costs of entry and will allow an increased number of operators to provide their services.
High-level CAHRISMA control and management plane
CHARISMA physical layer architecture