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Orchestration and Reconfguration Control Architecture

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ORCA (Orchestration and Reconfguration Control Architecture)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2020-06-30

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 challenging to meet the 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.

ORCA consortium has successfully reached all objectives and milestones.
Actions taken for technical achievements are described more in depth in the next section,the main efforts are the design of pioneering mmWave system in 26 GHz bands, the realizationn multi-RAT platform on SDR, the full stack opensource Wi-Fi design, and Self Interference Cancellation for Full duplex communication, and the vision and prototyping of a hierarchical and distributed orchestration for end-to-end network slicing.
In Period 2, the work is mainly driven by the four showcases. sc1 26 GHz mmWave communication for video streaming, sc2 low latency context-aware IoT control, sc3 distributed end-to-end network slicing and orchestration, sc4 AGV navigation based on multiple radio access technologies (RAT). The showcases are designed in the context of future factory, covers the requirements of reliability and low latency (sc2), network slicing (sc3) and aggregation (sc4), and sc1 is a 26 GHz pioneer prototype highly attractive for mmWave research community. The final operational real-time SDR platforms with end-to-end capabilities and advanced reconfigurability.are made available via ORCA website ( More particularly, the SDR platforms and functionalities are structured into different categories, the access condition and instructions are provided. Each ORCA testbed has incorporated more hardware and more tutorials to support experimenters, FED4FIRE compliance is maintained at all ORCA facilities. In total, two Open Call for extension and three Open Call for experiments are carried out. Most experiments and extensions are executed successfully.
Openwifi - world’s first open source Wi-Fi chip design, compatible with Linux mac80211 subsystem. The project initiated from the showcase 3 development, where we need a RAN infrastructure that can allocate precise air time to each connected station. This effort later on becomes openwifi, it is now ranked No.3 on github among 1858 FPGA related topics. It has received more than 1300 stars and forked 149 times. Openwifi is also employed for education in some universities.
The ORCA vision regarding orchestrating next-generation services through end-to-end network slicing. This vision is core of ORCA’s showcase 3, it is the first work to combine SDR, SDN and NFV, and it is also the first effort we know to put orchestrators of network segments side by side to allow distributed per segment resource allocation/optimization. We believe this contribution can influence the future standardization to some extent.
ORCA has implemented real-time beam steering and massive MIMO on 26 GHz mmWave system. During the course of the project, TUD has developed a 26 GHz mmWave frontend, and implemented a real-time beam-tracking solution using this frontend, as demonstrated in showcase 1. The same frontend is made available in KUL testbed for massive MIMO related experimentations. Experimental work related to beam-tracking and massive MIMO in this frequency range with real hardware is extremely rare, we believe the ORCA contribution here is highly appreciated by the research community.
ORCA offers a pioneer solution regarding self-interference cancellation, hosting the VHDL source code, easily portable to any FPGA based SDR. The cancelation is performed in both digital and analog domain, which results in total > 35 dB noise suppression. The repository is only released recently but will gain more popularity among the research community.
ORCA offers a multi-RAT solution over 5G, LTE and Wi-Fi. The L1-L2 API code, and the adapted ns3, and Labview contribution are made opensource on github using the GPL-2.0 and MIT license. L1-L2 API can greatly simplify experimentation for future multi-RAT related subjects.