Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


5G-Crosshaul Report Summary

Project ID: 671598
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - 5G-Crosshaul (5G-Crosshaul: The 5G Integrated fronthaul/backhaul)

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

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"5G-Crosshaul: The Integrated fronthaul/backhaul" is a 30-month collaborative project. The aim of the project is to develop an adaptive, sharable, cost-efficient 5G transport network solution integrating the fronthaul and backhaul segments of the network whilst supporting existing and new radio access protocol functional splits envisioned in 5G. This transport network will flexibly interconnect distributed 5G radio access and core network functions, hosted on in-network cloud nodes, through the implementation of two novel building blocks: i) a unified data plane encompassing innovative high-capacity transmission technologies and novel deterministic-latency switch architectures (5G-Crosshaul Forwarding Element, XFE); ii) a control infrastructure using a unified, abstract network model for control plane integration (5G-Crosshaul Control Infrastructure, XCI) enabling the operators to easily set up end-to-end services, transparently to all the underlying technologies in the data plane.
Main innovations delivered by the project are:
- New Fronthaul Interfaces and their implementation: Compressed CPRI, 3GPP PDCP-RLC split #2, 3GPP PHY-MAC split #6.
- Multi-Layer Packet-Switched and Circuit-Switched Forwarding Elements.
- Novel optical ROADM transport based on integrated silicon photonics reducing cost and size by 100 times compared to today's nodes.
- Fibre-like mmWave wireless transport including SDN-based meshed EdgeLink and Fast-Forward technologies to support high bandwidth and low latency traffic.
- Hierarchical SDN Control framework, interfaces and implementations to support multi-domain and multi-technology.
- Centralized and automated orchestration compliant with ETSI NFV.
- Novel Applications for network performance optimization including: Resource Management, Energy Monitoring and Management, Mobility Management, TV Broadcasting, and CDN Management.
Main objectives of the project are:
- Design of the XCI and unification of fronthaul and backhaul traffic in a single data plane.
- Development of physical and link-layer technologies to support 5G requirements
- Design of scalable algorithms for efficient resource orchestration
- Design of essential integrated (control/planning) applications
- 5G-Crosshaul key concept validation and proof of concept

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During this period, the project has focused on building and developing the key concepts behind a critical network segment required to make 5G possible. The work in the project has been divided in 5 technical Work Packages (WPs). WP1 is in charge of defining the set of use cases and scenarios to be used to challenge the architecture of the system. WP1 is also in charge of designing the baseline architecture of the 5G-Crosshaul (see Figure 1), which has been subject to multiple design cycles based on the input from the implementation activities. Main work activity of WP1 during this period has been the development of a Techno-economic analysis tool that can will be used by the operators of the consortium. From a data plane perspective, WP2 evaluates to what extent each of the optical, copper-based, and wireless technologies can fulfil the requirements of 5G traffic flows and identifies what is needed to ensure all requirements are met. WP2 results during this period include the final development of the optical switch XCSE able to combine packet and CPRI, compression mechanisms for CPRI, SDN control of optical and micro/mmWave technologies and visible light technology application. Such data plane is under the control of the 5G-Crosshaul Control Infrastructure (XCI), which brings the SDN and NFV paradigms to the project as part of the WP3 work. Main work during this period in WP3 has been the conclusion of the XPFE pipeline and the development of new techniques for OAM. In turn, WP4 designs the network management applications that will orchestrate the resources required for the use cases by exploiting the services offered by the XCI through its Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Main work on WP4 in this period has been the conclusion of the design of the applications and their implementation. The goal of each of these WPs is to focus mostly on the specific architectural components that are their subject of study as well as the definition of interfaces towards architectural components dealt with in other WPs. The main goal of WP5 is to integrate the components designed in WP2, WP3 and WP4 and to validate experimentally that all the conceived building blocks can work together to fulfil the various 5G traffic flow requirements. Main work of WP5 during this period has been the conclusion of the 16 experiments on the three different test-sites which form part of the 4 final demonstrations (For examples see Figure 3 and 4).

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The 5G-Crosshaul Project targets innovations around three pillars of the future 5G transport network. These include: (1) Innovations for data-plane integration across heterogeneous transmission technologies; (2) Innovations for a unified programmable control; and (3) Novel network applications for optimizing the system performance according to specific objectives. All these innovations are combined together into an architecture framework that takes into account both technical and techno-economic requirements from the stakeholders of the value chain, namely operators, vendors and service providers.
All the above innovations are driven primarily by the need to make the future 5G transport network more flexible in order to ease and accelerate the deployment of new services, whilst guaranteeing cost-efficient use of the resources. This results into a direct socio-economic impact, through lower cost and higher efficiency for the infrastructure stakeholders (operators, vendors, and service providers), and the end user customer in terms of better service (quality and ubiquitous access), and lower bills. The overall society will also see the benefit of driving the future transport network towards more flexibility and cost-efficiency, whilst supporting the various services envisioned in future 5G. In addition, the innovations from the 5G-Crosshaul project are expected to give the industrial companies (large, medium and small) in 5G-Crosshaul and the extended European 5G-PPP community a privileged position and competitive advantage in the European and global markets through new generations of flexible and innovative access and core networks solutions. An exploitation plan is being defined to assess the possible impact on the product and services roadmaps of the vendors and operators involved in the project.
In order to ensure wide-reach of the innovations developed in the project, the consortium members have been very active in disseminating the project concept and early results to the European community (inside and outside 5G-PPP) and the wider international research and industrial community. The consortium has promoted the envisioned concepts and R&D achievements through various types of dissemination activities. In particular, the project has successfully delivered:
- 91 papers - in several prestigious journals
- 74 presentations/panels/webinars , and 14 (Co-)organized workshops
- 28 demonstrations including at flagship events such as MWC'16 and MWC'17
- 35 normative contributions feeding into key standardization specifications
- 25 contributions for information purpose in several standardization bodies and forums such as NGMN, ITU-T, FSAN, ETSI, IEEE, BBF, ONF.

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