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Beyond 5G multi-tenant private networks integrating Cellular, WiFi, and LiFi, Powered by ARtificial Intelligence and Intent Based PolicY

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - 5G-CLARITY (Beyond 5G multi-tenant private networks integrating Cellular, WiFi, and LiFi, Powered by ARtificial Intelligence and Intent Based PolicY)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2021-05-01 do 2023-02-28

With the standardization of 3GPP Rel-16 features, much more focused on providing necessary capabilities for the support of mission-critical services and ultra-reliable low-latency communications (uRLLC), 5G systems are rapidly gaining recognition as an all-inclusive critical communications platform for industry digitization. By providing authority over wireless coverage and capacity, private 5G network market ensures guaranteed and secured connectivity, while supporting a wide range of applications, ranging from push-totalk group communications and real-time video delivery to wireless control and automation in industrial environments. This has motivated to a wide variety of industry verticals (e.g. militaries, utilities, railway and port operators, public safety agencies, manufacturers) to start making sizeable investments in private 5G networks. Apart from these actors, a number of independent neutral-host and wholesale operators are also stepping up with pioneering business models to provide 5G connectivity services to both mobile network operators and enterprises, particularly in indoor settings and locations like public venues (e.g. stadia, shopping malls, transportation hubs), where it is technically or economically not feasible for traditional operators to deliver substantial wireless coverage and capacity.

The success of private 5G networks will be judged by the level of utilization of its advanced capabilities by OT organizations to deliver new and innovative services that are stable enough to introduce into the market. The widespread adoption of private 5G networks will only become a reality if their operational costs are small, and a seamless interworking between 5G access and other industry technologies (e.g. wired Ethernet, Wi-Fi) is achieved. To that end, a deep involvement of the ICT organizations (e.g. mobile network operators, vendors,
hardware supplier and software developers) is required. The mission of these organizations is to provide necessary network capabilities to make 5G private networks ready for use, allowing the OT organizations focus on their core business. Examples of these capabilities include spectrum management, multi-RAN and multi-tenancy support, SDN/NFV-powered infrastructure slicing, and data-driven network management.

5G-CLARITY focuses on the design, integration and operation of some of these ICT industry provided capabilities in private networks, with the definition of a novel system solution. The project develops and demonstrate a beyond 5G system for private networks integrating 5G, Wi-Fi, and LiFi technologies, and managed through AI based autonomic networking. 5G-CLARITY aims to be instrumental in order to secure the leadership of Europe in the growing markets of private 5G networks, and 5G for factory automation.
The work in this period focused mainly in the architecture design. It involved thes specification of the high-level functional requirements the overall 5G-CLARITY system architecture must support, based on the study of the use case requirements. The technical enablers that supported the definition of the architecture were: i) in-premise multi-WAT support, with the seamless integration of 4G-LTE, 5GNR and Wi-Fi/LiFi technologies; ii) flexible fronthaul/backhaul splits, providing different capabilities in terms of capacity and latency; iii) SDN and NFV to allow great programmability and flexibility in the operation of in-premise software network; iv) compute resources to host edge services; and v) data-driven AI engine and an intent engine, to drive automation in SDN and NFV activities and simplify network operation. The functional definition of the architecture involved: i) the identification and detailed description of the individual components that are needed at both private venue and MNO’s telco networks; and ii) the specification of interactions between the individual components by defining trusted, secured, interfaces and APIs between them. We did report as well the KPI evaluations of the initial design of 5G-CLARITY user and control plane architecture for the integrated 5G/Wi-Fi/LiFi network and specified the details of the parts of 5G-CLARITY architecture that realize the initial design of the SDN/NFV platform and identification of target 5G-CLARITY ML algorithms including, 1) network slicing solution for private venues; 2) integrated multi-WAT real-time telemetry system; 3) integration of private and public networks; 4) ML algorithms for supporting autonomous network management; 5) AI-engine that deals with the execution and maintenance of ML models; and 6) intent-based networking for facilitating customer interaction in private networks. Finally, we have defined the three main use cases including the descriptions of these along with the objectives, expected results and technological enablers for each. A preliminary project/test plan for each use case accompanied with a tentative timeline is also given.
5G-CLARITY advances the state of the art on coexistence frameworks for beyond 5G networks by: 1) Designing a lightweight coexistence framework among private and/or public networks based on the SDN principles, 2) Designing SDN control features on 5GNR/LTE and Wi-Fi networks that allow to control various operational parameters of these technologies when operating in shared or unlicensed spectrum, 3) Addressing coexistence issues in hybrid RF/LiFi network. 5G-CLARITY advances the state of the art on multi-connectivity in beyond 5G networks by 1) designing a multi-connectivity framework that integrates 5GNR, LTE, IEEE 802.11 ax/ac (Wi-Fi), and IEEE 802.11bb (LiFi), 2) defining a novel control plane for the proposed multi-connectivity that leverages state of the art SDN frameworks; and 3) demonstrating the advantages of the proposed multi-connectivity framework in a real industry 4.0 and museum environments.

This platform facilitates the creation of new societally beneficial services, especially in sectors requiring critical services such as hospitals (e-health), factory automation, utilities, and environmental protection. 5G-CLARITY will have a major impact on the Europe’s leadership by accelerating the adoption and use of advanced communication services in Europe, strengthening the digitization of industry and society In particular, 5G-CLARITY will contribute to:
- Accelerate the adoption and use of advanced ICT services in Europe. 5G-CLARITY will contribute to the digital transformation of enterprises by promoting synergetic relations between private venue owners and traditional MNOs across many different vertical markets.
- Support the massive amount of new applications that networks will have to support. The proper cooperation between technologies like 5G, Wi-Fi and LiFi facilitates vertical sectors to roll out their services in a cost effective way. This will encourage more parties from vertical sectors to recognize the commercial opportunity offered by 5G and to adopt the new technologies.
- Establish European leadership in uptake and use of 5G technologies. 5G-CLARITY reinforces social cohesion by boosting infrastructure sharing between private venue owners and MNOs using slicing technologies, which will bring as a result lower service fees.
- Improve energy efficiency. Regarding energy consumption and climate change impact, the 5G performance goals envisage a considerable reduction in the energy demands as energy remains the key driver of the economic growth.
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