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Orchestration and Reconfguration Control Architecture

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ORCA (Orchestration and Reconfguration Control Architecture)

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

In many cases of different market segments (such as manufacturing, automotive industry, healthcare, ambient assistant living, public events, home automation, utilities, etc.) applications and services have to share the same wireless infrastructure and the same spectral bands, making it really challenging to meet the very diverging QoS requirements simultaneously. Orca addresses this issues at different levels. Concerning the societal impact, ORCA can offer the tools to accelerate the development of radio and network solutions, providing experimentation facilities to enable the testing of new technologies to serve in all the aforementioned applications. The solutions developed in ORCA include efforts to reduce latency, which is particularly important for critical communication scenarios, such as public safety and healthcare. The solutions to be developed and tested within the scope of ORCA can help in the implementation of systems that directly address important environmental problems. Communication systems, including sensor networks, can be used in smart grids, smart homes, and future factories, in order to improve efficiency and reliability in energy generation, distribution, and consumption. Sensors can also be used to monitor wildlife environments, control deforestation, or report the use of hydric resources.
The ORCA project brings together multi-disciplinary expertise for addressing the following overall needs:
1. END-TO-END SPECTRUM, USER AND NETWORK CONTROL NEED: The need for autonomous and intelligent end3to3end user and network control that can on the fly adapt settings to a dynamic (often heterogeneous) wireless context and changing application requirements and the need for controlling and optimising the usage of spectrum, hardware and energy resources, achieving multiple heterogeneous network slices sharing the same underlying infrastructure and spectrum.
2. REAL-TIME SDR BRIDGED TO SDN NEED: The need for versatile network architectures (such as Massive MIMO, Cloud RAN, infrastructure sharing) beyond the traditional cellular or ad hoc architectures and the need for SDR platforms with advanced capabilities that are not available on the market today.
3. ACCELERATED AND EARLY EXPERIMENTATION NEED: Today development cycles of multiple years are the painful reality, not only requiring significant manpower investments, but also causing the innovation process to slow down. One of the major contributors to the long development cycles is the lack of proper development and testing environments.
The OVERALL OBJECTIVES can be formulated as follows:
Objective 1: To accelerate flexible end-to-end network experimentation by making open and modular software and hardware architectures available that smartly use novel versatile radio technology, more specifically real-time Software Defined Radio (SDR) platforms meeting the requirements in terms of runtime latencies, throughput, and fast reconfiguration and reprogramming.
Objective 2: To offer experimental facilities, with SDR devices incorporating relevant software and hardware building blocks that allow easy design, implementation and programming, while also achieving low runtime delay allowing end-to-end networking experimentation.
Objective 3: To offer Cognitive Radio as a Service (CRaaS) to the wireless research community and wireless innovation creators by giving easy access to a worldwide, open and ready-to-go test environment with real-time, reconfigurable and reprogrammable SDR devices.
Four showcases have been defined as examples of how parties can perform end-to-end experiments through ORCA facilities. Specifically, the showcases are 1) high throughput, 2) low latency industrial communication, 3) low latency and high throughput industrial communication and 4) interworking and aggregation of multiple RATs. The showcases consider the concepts of SDR and SDN solutions for future networks, thus, the research community can benefit from the practical communication environment provided by the ORCA structure to develop their applications and research. The ORCA architecture and technical requirements of the ORCA test facility have been identified. First operational real-time SDR platforms were released together with a risk analysis. First toolset for real-time SDR design and operation was made public. First operational SDR platforms with end-to-end capabilities were implemented. All testbeds were made FED4FIRE compliant. Two Open Calls were successfully launched.
ORCA is accelerating flexible networking by offering real-time SDR architectures and platforms and as such filling the gap between (1) fast design and (re)configurability/(re)programmability, but high runtime latency and (2) low runtime latency. Beyond pushing the state of the art with respect to real-time flexible SDR, ORCA is working towards enable radio/network co-design by bridging SDR with SDN, to accelerate combined radio and network innovations.
The expected results until the end of the project are: To offer new PHY and MAC functionalities running on current real-time SDR platforms supporting low latency and high-throughput operation as well as integration with higher layer network functionality; to offer flexible parametric reconfiguration and slicing capabilities to current SDR technologies; to enable run-time reconfiguration of networks of SDRs, making it possible to design flexible solutions that adapt first their parameters and second their algorithms during the experiment; to offer a collection of heterogeneous wireless testbeds with SDR and SDN capable networking entities, for real-time end-to-end experimentation.
Given the complexity of the wireless communication environment, the use of flexible implementations that allow the run-time optimisation of parameters and even algorithms will enable the design of systems that are future proof and fit any environment. While run-time configuration can first be controlled by a central entity, it will also pave the way towards self-adaptive SDR networks, unlocking the potential of AI-driven SDR networking.
Providing advanced SDR control functionality over several federated large scale wireless testbeds, will make SDR related communication much more convenient than before. This contribution can potentially speed up the next generation wireless network's development. From an education point of view, such infrastructure can be used to educate students and cultivate engineers with experiences in real-life experiments, hence it will further speed up the process for building better wireless communication system.
The ORCA architecture focuses on novel PHY and MAC functionality.
ORCA provides flexible methods migrating more and more functionality to the SDR platforms