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Embedded Network Services for 5G Experiences

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - 5G ESSENCE (Embedded Network Services for 5G Experiences)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-11-30

5G ESSENCE “addresses the paradigms of Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) and Small Cell-as-a-Service (SCaaS) by fuelling the drivers and removing the barriers in the Small Cell (SC) market, forecasted to grow at an impressive pace up to 2020 and beyond, and to play a “key role” in the 5G ecosystem.

5G ESSENCE provides a highly flexible and scalable platform, able to support new business models and revenue streams by creating a neutral host market and reducing operational costs by providing new opportunities for ownership, deployment, operation and amortisation.
The project leverages knowledge, SW modules and prototypes from various 5G-PPP Phase-1 projects, with SESAME (GA No.671596) being particularly relevant.
Among the fundamental objectives have been: Full specification of critical architectural enhancements; definition of the baseline system architecture and interfaces for the provisioning of a cloud-integrated multi-tenant SC network and a programmable Radio Resource Management (RRM) controller; development of the centralised software-defined radio access network (SD-RAN) controller to program the radio resources usage in a unified way for all Cloud-Enabled Small Cells (CESCs); exploitation of high-performance and efficient virtualisation techniques for better resource utilisation, higher throughput and low delay at the network service creation time; development of Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) Orchestrator’s (NFVO) enhancements for the distributed service management; demonstration and evaluation of the cloud-integrated multi-tenant SC network; conduct of a market analysis and establishment of new business models and, finally; maximisation of impact on the realisation of the 5G vision.

The 5G ESSENCE project accommodates a range of Use Cases (UCs), requiring reduced latency, increased network resilience and low service creation time. One of its major innovations is the provision of end-to-end network and cloud infrastructure slices over the same physical infrastructure, to fulfil vertical-specific requirements and mobile broadband services. The project examined three real-life UCs associated to vertical industries (see Figure 1), that is: (i) Edge network acceleration in a crowded event; (ii) mission critical (MC) applications for public safety (PS) communications providers, and; (iii) in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) communications.

Towards pursuing the project’s goals, the following main measurable objectives have been identified and achieved:
- Specification of the critical architectural enhancements from 5G-PPP Phase-1, needed to fully enable cloud-integrated multi-tenant small cell networking.
- Definition of the baseline system architecture and interfaces for the provisioning of a cloud-integrated multi-tenant small cell network and a programmable RRM controller, both customisable on a per vertical basis.
- Development of the centralised SD-RAN (Software Defined Radio Access Network) controller that will program the radio resources usage in a unified way for all CESCs.
- Exploitation of high-performance and efficient virtualisation techniques for better resource utilisation, higher throughput and less delay at Network Services creation time.
- Development of the orchestrator enhancements for distributed service management.
- Demonstration and evaluation of the cloud-integrated multi-tenant SC network via three real-life vertical industries.
- Conduct of a market analysis and establishment of new business model with detailed techno-economic analysis and roadmapping towards exploitation and commercialisation by industrial partners.
- Ensuring maximisation of the 5G ESSENCE impact to the realisation of the 5G vision by establishing close liaison and synergies with 5G-PPP. Also realisation of extensive dissemination and communication.
The work during RP2 has been conformant to the project expectations. A variety of achievements has been realised:

- Specification of the system-level requirements and of the related architecture, for each UC.
- Specification of the subsystems’ functional technical components, modules, and tools.

- Design of the cSD-RAN Controller and of its interfaces, verification of the Edge cloud interfaces with the CESC interfaces.
- Promotion and establishment of a two-tier Edge DC architecture, with a high-performance layer for low-latency CPU-intensive services.
- Development of a network slicing mechanism applied to CESC cluster and controlled by the 5G cSD-RAN controller.

- Optimisation of virtualisation techniques.
- Novel approaches to telemetry, analysis and ML-based optimization algorithms.

- Development of dedicated plans and test strategies for all UCs, based on initial respective planning.
- Identification of “key” innovations and functionalities for all UCs.
- Successful demos and validation of all UCs.

- Establishment of a successful dissemination & communication plan.
- Active participation to the 5G-PPP joint initiatives.
- Exercise of standardisation policy.
The 5G ESSENCE project includes multiple Radio Access Technologies (RAT) in its network architecture, representing an important step towards fulfilling the vision of 5G wireless networks (ensuring higher performance and flexibility and offering more efficient spectrum utilisation).
Benefits are also in the fields of high-performance virtualisation, service delivery and resource orchestration, targeting the critical issues of resource efficiency and latency reduction. (These have been achieved through the support of a converged cloud-radio environment, the orchestration of diverse types of lightweight virtual resources and the support of live VNF migration).
5G ESSENCE provides even “tighter mapping” and closer interactions between the resource orchestration (i.e. deployment, placement, and scaling of VNFs) and service orchestration (i.e. building, coordinating and exposing services to upper layers).
On the domain of hardware technologies, the processing power attached to small cells brings new capabilities to the network as well as new challenges.

5G ESSENCE is devoted to the actual demonstration of outcomes in vertical industries. It also unifies computing and storage resources into a programmable and unified small cell infrastructure that can be provided as-a-Service, to all related stakeholders.
Furthermore, the project provides a clear plan for real life demonstrations (see Figure 2) in the fields of:
-mission critical communications at emergency events, and;
-in-flight connectivity and entertainment.

5G ESSENCE has explored the means to deliver its achievements to the market, with emphasis put to the quantification of benefits, especially in terms of total cost of ownership, revenues and profits.
5G ESSENCE will allow the sharing of existing and new infrastructure by many operators in a multitenant environment, thus enabling new business models that will help new entrant market players to develop and analyse the perspectives of potential win-win strategies based on the developed solutions.
Key actors, revenue streams, and cost/performance drivers of the various RAN partitioning optionshave been identified.
The main benefits of 5G ESSENCE include:
-the maximisation of resource usage;
-the reduction of equipment and management costs, and;
-the QoS improvement.
The above concept encourages network innovation and deployment of distinct network services.