Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SELFNET Report Summary

Project ID: 671672
Funded under: H2020-EU.


Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

“Europe has gone from leader to laggard in advanced digital networks” whilst “many markets in Asia and North America now enjoy penetration of Long-Term-Evolution (LTE) that is as much as 35 times greater than Europe's” (European Telecommunication Network Operator’s Association, 2013) and around 50% of users access the Internet through a mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet (European Commission, 2013). These facts have highlighted the clear and urgent need of adopting and boosting 4G/5G technologies especially solutions based on LTE including LTE-Advanced, which is the mainstream 4G standard and the evolution basis towards 5G, to increase the competitiveness of EU in the global economy and improved experience for mobile users. Furthermore, EU mobile network operators suffer from lower average-revenue-per-user compared with their US counterparts, due to higher prices yet lower usage of mobile in EU (European Commission, 2014). This again calls for the imperative necessity of reducing both capital and operational expenditures of our European network operators, enabling them to gain better margins of revenues, which in turn will enhance EU’s competitiveness against Asian and US markets.
The main aim of the SELFNET project is to design and implement an autonomic network management framework for achieving self-organizing capabilities in managing 5G network infrastructures by automatically detecting and mitigating a range of common network problems that are currently still being manually addressed by network operators, thereby reducing significantly the operational costs. SELFNET will assist network operators in the following key management tasks: automated network monitoring, autonomic network maintenance, automated deployment of network management tools and automated network service provisioning. To this end, SELFNET focuses on the following specific objectives: To design, implement and validate a self-monitoring and detection subsystem, a distributed Self-Organising Network (SON) autonomic management engine subsystem and a SON orchestration and virtual infrastructure management subsystem. Through these automated and intelligence-based operations, SELFNET will primarily contribute to significantly reducing the service creation time in software-defined and virtualised 5G networks. Moreover, SELFNET expects to help in realising the creation of a secure, reliable and dependable Internet with a “zero perceived” downtime for services provision mainly through the design and prototyping of three classes of representative use cases that demonstrate the self-organising network capabilities of the SELFNET framework. The three use cases address self-healing against existing or predicted network/service failures, self-protection against network/service security threats especially distributed denial of services, and self-optimisation to maintain or improve video application performances.

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

After the first-year execution of SELFNET, the following specific achievements can be highlighted:

- SELFNET has established a detailed definition of the planned autonomic management framework with evolved standards-compliant architecture, components and their interfaces/APIs and essential work flows specified. (Deliverables 2.1 and 2.2)

- SELFNET has designed and prototyped an innovative, automated physical and virtual infrastructure and network service deployment system, which is notably compliant with the 5G Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) paradigm to benefit from localised cloudification and hence expedited service delivery. (Deliverable 2.4)

- SELFNET has prototyped the Service Function Chaining (SFC) mechanism to enable on-demand automated service composition and provisioning in Virtualized Infrastructures. (Deliverable 2.4)

- SELFNET has designed and prototyped the mechanisms for the lifecycle and repository management of SDN and NFV Apps and for the on-boarding and access of these Apps, thereby paving the way for on-demand service deployment and operation. (Deliverables 2.3 and 3.1)

- SELFNET has designed and prototyped the network monitoring facilities to gather essential performance metrics and events from the running services and physical/virtual infrastructures, enabling that existing or potential network/service issues can be analysed and handled. (Deliverable 4.1)

- SELFNET has designed and prototyped initial network management intelligence based on an innovative Tactical Autonomic Language (TAL) specification, which defines the essential work flows of the autonomic behaviours to allow fast and improved decisions and actions to assure service provisioning. (Deliverable 5.1)

- Further related work in SELFNET has been started in machine-learning based intelligence to enhance the self-learning/-organising network capabilities, in innovative service orchestration integrating the lifecycle management of both the emerging SDN and NFV Apps and legacy network services, and in hardware-accelerated solutions to further push the boundaries in speedy service creation, deployment and/or provisioning, among others, which are planned to be designed and prototyped in the second year.

In the first year, three classes of representative use cases that demonstrate the self-organising network capabilities of the SELFNET framework have been designed and the primary scenario in each use case class has been concentrated on with the following specific progress made:

- SELFNET has defined the storylines and potential innovations/impacts of these three use cases including eight scenarios addressing essential use case requirements in 5G.

- SELFNET has defined in details the information models, work flows, and innovative Health of Network (HoN) metrics of the primary scenario in each use case category.

- SELFNET has designed and been prototyping the primary scenario in each use case category.

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)

Since the start of the project in July 2015, SELFNET has significantly extended the current state of the art in autonomic network management for Software-Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) enabled 5G networks. Consequently, the main expected socio-economic impacts include reduced capital and operational costs, accelerated service deployment and creation, and improved users’ Quality of Experience (QoE) in 5G networks.

Architecturally, SELFNET is primarily based on a seamless integration and joint coordination of SDN and NFV paradigms and technologies, leading to significantly pushing the boundaries of the SDN/NFV arena, essential in the development of 5G networks. Within the first year, SELFNET has successfully established a prototypical SDN/NFV-enabled network infrastructure platform, implemented mainly using Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) network devices. At the system level, SELFNET has been exploring a software-based autonomic management system, which combines an innovative Health of Network (HoN) monitoring approach with intelligent algorithms to analyse network state and autonomously deploy NFV assets to maintain the health of the network. By removing the reliance on costly, vendor-specific hardware and applying software-based networking solutions, SELFNET will notably decrease the capital and operational costs for 5G network operators.

In the first year of the project, SELFNET has been delivering this innovative framework for the automated management and rapid deployment of self-organising next-generation networks and services inspired by an ever-growing commoditised NFV and SDN app market. SELFNET focuses on significantly reducing the average service creation time cycle from 90 hours to 90 minutes through the autonomic network management framework that is able to provision a set of key innovative functionalities for beyond the state of the art: automated physical and virtual infrastructures and services deployment, automated and enhanced network service monitoring and performance analysis, intelligence-based network management engine assure the quality of running services, and integrated management and orchestration of SDN/NFV Apps for on-demand service creation.

Moreover, the three planned use cases (self-healing, self-protection and self-optimisation) have been defined in the first year of the project. These use cases will jointly contribute to achieving a more reliable, secure and optimised 5G network, improving the QoE of end users. In addition, the SELFNET infrastructure is compliant with the 5G Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) paradigm, which is expected to boost the performance of users’ applications.

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