SIGMETRIC Tutorial, Antibes, France (18th June)
Software-defined 5G networks: Technologies and challenges Download

The commoditization of key processing components coupled with virtualization of infrastructure functions will lead to a radical change in the economics of mobile networks. The latter will help network providers (e.g., MNO, MVNO) move from proprietary hardware and software platforms towards open and flexible cellular systems based on general-purpose cloud infrastructures. In this context, 5G systems will see a paradigm shift in three planes: the data-plane, control-plane, and management- plane, in support of higher performance, efficient signaling, flexible and intelligent control and coordination in heterogeneous networks.

This tutorial discusses all of these topics, identifying key challenges in software-defined 5G networks for future research as well as the standardization activities, while providing a comprehensive overview of the current literature. It is organized in four technical parts covering principles, challenges, key technologies, proof-of-concept prototypes and field trials of software-define 5G systems.

Enabling ubiquitous and personalized mobile Internet requires pushing the boundaries of existing network and service infrastructure. The softwarization and virtualiztion of radio access network functions are two key ingredients to abstract infrastructure resources and enable the delivery of the network as a service. Their tight coupling provides the flexibility needed to provision network resources on-demand and to compose and chain network service functions dynamically to meet a wide range of use-cases. The objectives of this research is to reunite software-define networking and network function virtualization priniciples for designing cloud-native and programmable radio access networks. We show that a full GPP approach brings the required flexibility in splitting, chaining, and placement of RAN functions while meeting the realtime deadlines. We further illustrate how to achieve programmability through an agent that acts as a local controller for one or many network functions and executes various actions in cooperation with the centralized controller as well as other agents. Finally, we develop some future directions in the perspective of 5G research.

OPNFV Demo, OPNFV Summit, Berlin, Germany (20-23 June)
OAI in the cloud: NFV modelling, composition and chaining in cloudified 5G systems Download

OpenAirInterface (OAI), http://www.openairinterface.org is standard-compliant open source implementation of a subset of Release 10 LTE for eNB, UE, MSS, HSS, SGW and PGW on standard Linux-based computing equipment for both x86 and ARM architectures. It can be used with standard RF laboratory equipment (i.e. USRP, BladeRF, SoDeRa, etc) to allow for real-time interoperation with commercial devices. OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA) furthers OpenAirInterface software for implementing future 3GPP releases towards 5G. The Alliance offers a very rich ecosystem of its community allowing rapid prototyping of 3GPP compliant and non-compliant use cases. OSA has several 5G strategic areas and one of them relates to furthering Cloud-RAN, SDN, NFV research. To that end, we have already implemented Remote Radio Head (RRH) Gateway that connects with eNB via Ethernet and we are also exploring JuJu Charms as a service modelling tool to deploy OAI in cloud environments, for example (OpenStack, etc). The main goal of this presentation is to present overview OpenAirInterface and its integration aspects with JuJu Charms. We believe that leveraging JuJu with OpNFV JOID project can be used to seamlessly deploy OAI in OpNFV environment. In particular, we demonstrate how to build, deploy, provision, and dispose various service topologies for LTE-LTE-A using the OpenAirInterface 5G platform orchestrated by Canonical JuJu framework. Service instances can be efficiently scaled in/out overtime to meet the workload demand.

Enabling ubiquitous and personalized mobile Internet requires pushing the boundaries of existing network and service infrastructure. The softwarization and virtualiztion of radio access network functions are two key ingredients to abstract infrastructure resources and enable the delivery of the network as a service. Their tight coupling provides the flexibility needed to provision network resources on-demand and to compose and chain network service functions dynamically to meet a wide range of use-cases. The objectives of this course is to describe how the software-define networking and network function virtualization principles can be combined in designing cloud-native and programmable radio access networks. We show that a full GPP approach brings the required flexibility in splitting, chaining, and placement of RAN functions while meeting the realtime deadlines. We further illustrate how to achieve programmability through an agent that acts as a local controller for one or many network functions and executes various actions in cooperation with the centralized controller as well as other agents. Finally, we develop some future directions in the perspective of 5G research with use cases found in IoT.

The demonstration will consist of 2 PoPs (point of presence). One deployed at the SESAME booth and another deployed at the COHERENT both. A remote cloud deployed located at ZHAW premises will also be used. During the demo we plan to the delivery of the following individual services: Cloud-RAN deployment of a RAN and EPC services based on the OpenAirInterface project [3] over the OpenStack+Julu framework. The service on-boarding will be performed using the Hurtle orchestrator. SDN-based Service Function Chaining between the cloud-deployed VNFs namely Virtual Traffic Classifier (vTC) and Virtual Media Transcoder (vMT). This leverage on both Wifi and LTE technologies in order to deliver connectivity to the end-users. SDN-based functional split in WiFi-based Small Cells with VNF implementing part of the Wifi MAC deployed at edge micro servers. Both data-plane and management plane functions will be considered in this demo.

IEEE communication theory workshop (CTW), Nafplio, Greece
Optimizing Radio Access and Core Networks for Small Packet Transmission Request for Slides

In the first part of this talk will survey the notion of latency in wireless communication, analyse the contribution of different network components to the total latency in LTE/LTE-A and identify the main latency bottlenecks. The second part will analyze the main design elements of low latency communications for the evoltion of LTE and show the achievable latency reductions for a subset of techniques (stateless and connection-less bearer, contention-based access, edge packet service, and Flexible Frame numerology) under different traffic patterns.

ICC Tutorial, London, UK (12 June)
Cloud Radio Access Networks: Principles, Challenges, and Technologies Request for Slides

Radio access network (RAN) is the key segment of the mobile operators that provides over-the-air packet services to mobile users. Recently, cloud RAN (C-RAN) is emerged as a new architecture to meet the cost, energy, and bit rate concerns for mobile operators and users. Unlike typical RANs, the C-RAN decouples the baseband unit (BBUs) from the radio units by locating the BBUs at the high performance cloud infrastructure. The key insight is that if the network capacity is limited by the interference and its workload is changing over time and space, then centralizing radio processing can dramatically increase the network capacity and reduce the overall energy consumption.

This tutorial aims at providing a complete C-RAN picture, a well-balanced state-of-the-art research topics and advances, and the role of C-RAN in 5G systems. It is organized in four technical parts covering principles, challenges, key technologies, proof-of-concept prototypes and field trials of C-RAN.

HDR (Habilitation) Degree (19 March)
Latency, cooperation, and Cloud in radio access network Download

This talk presents a summary of research activities on latency, cooperation, and cloud in radio access networks.

FIRE-GENI Workshop, Paris, France (20-21 Nov)
1. FP7 FLEX project, and 2. OpenAirInterface : an Open LTE Network in a PC Download

In the first part of this talk, the FP7 Flex (FIRE LTE testbeds for open experimentation) project is presented. FLEX aims at contributing a crucial missing piece in FIRE's infrastructure puzzle: cellular access technologies and Long-Term Evolution (LTE). FLEX's experimentation environment will feature both open source platforms and configurable commercial equipment that span macro-cell, pico-cell and small-cell setups.

In the second part, OpenAirInterface (OAI) wireless technology platform is presented as a suitably flexible platform towards open 4G->5G ecosystem and playground for rapid prototyping.

Labex, Sophia-Antipolis, France (14 Oct)
Wifi offloading and energy efficiency for mobiles Request for Slides

In this talk, a smart offloading policy, denoted as Threshold policy, is proposed that dynamically assigns data flows to the Wi-Fi and Cellular interfaces, so as to minimize the energy consumption of the User Equipment (UE), while keeping the average per-flow delay bounded.

In order to explore the robustness and performance of Wi-Fi offloading, a customized Android-based offloading management application is designed and developed, which renders the user able to download data using simultaneously the Wi-Fi and Cellular connections.

C-RAN Europe, Paris, France (20-22 May)
Full GPP Cloud Radio Access Network: performance and architecture Download

In this talk, we present the software architecture, parallelism and SIMD techniques used to implement OpenAirInterface LTE soft-modem in the cloud setting to meet the realtime processing requirements. The soft-modem uses general-purpose x86 processors (GPP) to perform all the base-band processing and protocol stack operations and features vertical protocol instantiation in the shared memory context allowing tight cooperation among the base station instances.

Results on the computational requirements and performance of the OpenAirInterface LTE eNB will be provided under different MCS, allocated PRB, and load. Finally, we provides a methodology on parallelism and scheduling policy to satisfy the realtime softmodem operation while maintaining load balancing and high spectrally-efficiency among basestations.

SimuTools, Lisbon, Portugal (17-19 March)
Large-scale network simulation over heterogeneous computing architecture : Issues, opportunities and challenges Download

The simulation is a primary step on the evaluation process of modern networked systems. The scalability and efficiency of such a tool in view of increasing complexity of the emerging networks is a key to derive valuable results. The discrete event simulation (DES) is recognized as the most scalable model that copes with both parallel and distributed architecture. In view of the potentials offered by the emerging heterogeneous computing resources, new avenues could be exploited to improve the performance of simulation.

The main scope of this tutorial is to provide a new mechanisms and optimizations that could significantly improve the efficiency and scalability of parallel and distributed simulation using heterogeneous computing node architecture including multicore CPU and GPU. To address the efficiency, we present several challenges and techniques on how a parallel event should be represented and scheduled when targeting multiple CPUs and CPUs so that the hardware usage rate is maximized while the event management cost is reduced. To address scalability, we present a new simulation model called coordinator-master-worker, to address jointly the challenge of distributed and parallel simulation at different levels.

The scalability of different simulation models, namely flat, master-worker, and coordinator-master-worker, under different event rate is compared under various conditions using the largest European GPU-based super-calculator, the TGCC Curie, with 1024 LPs each of which simulates up to 1 million nodes. We also present how such new techniques can be applied to the popular network simulator NS-3 to improve the efficiency and scalability of the simulation, and present a comparative results under a large scale deployment including 288 GPUs and 1152 CPU on the TGCC Curie infrastructure.

Intel ERIC, Nice, France (22-23 October)
Software defined radio networking: Opportunities and challenges Download

Existing cellular systems are built upon expensive proprietary equipment, complex control-plane protocols, and operator/vendor specific networks, and thus do not offer enough flexibility in network-wide coordination and orchestration. At the same time, operators are seeking more cost-effective solutions to (a) scale up/down the network capacity on-demand based on spatio-temporal traffic fluctuations, and (b) reduce the end-to-end per-bit energy consumption (from terminal to network). This calls for a flexible and cost-effective cellular system design capable of providing a fine-grained network-wide measurement and control to the operator, user and application as well as an end-to-end realtime network adaptation and optimization.
We argue that the software-defined networking (SDN) and cloud computing principles - i.e. separation of control plane from data plane, and hardware from software - are applicable to cellular systems and can provide ample opportunity to achieve the required flexibility and cost-effectiveness. SDN provides a unified and simple API to measure network status and to configure the control of how individual user and/or applications are served (e.g. data plane forwarding, service quality, etc.). The concept of cloud computing potentially provides a virtulization of the entire stack (access, backhaul,core) on the top of commodity hardware (GPP) allowing key functionalities to be centralized or distributed at will. The combination of the two concepts gives rise to the software defined radio networking approach, where the virtulized radio network stack is run on the cloud infrastructure exposing APIs to the operator, user, and application to monitor and control the network. Particular benefits include efficient power management of network components, better end-to-end load balancing and user QoE, improved allocation of radio resources and BS/RRH activation as a function of spatio-temporal traffic demand.

The CONECT project has achieved an excellent assessment and appreciation by the reviewers for its substantial R&D breakthrough and achievements (flagship project). The project proposes a holistic network design approach by exploiting the signal level and packet level cooperation into end-to-end information transport.

The final project review was held at Eurecom on June 27th and 28th, 2013. The project has achieved an excellent assessment and appreciation by the reviewers for its substantial R&D breakthrough and achievements (flagship project). The LOLA project presented and demonstrated a set of low latency wireless communication techniques in light of accurate traffic models of emerging realtime application scenarios found in massive machine-type communication and interactive multilayer gaming. The LOLA project brings into existence a solution package applicable to the next generation wireless communication system, and in particular to the 5G system, to lower significantly the latency.

Orange-lab, Paris, France (24 June)
OpenAirInterface and Cloud-RAN Link Download

OpenAirInterface.org (OAI) is an open-source SDR-based wireless system technology platform targeting innovation in air-interface technologies and networking protocols through experimentation. The platform implements an LTE system and certain LTE-A features, and comprises both hardware and software components that can be used for in-lab system experimentation as well as real-time RF experimentation using RF or emulated wireless link. It provides the entire protocol stack from the physical to the networking layer. Due to the flexibility offered by the SDR implementation of OAI, efforts have been made to bring OAI to the cloud-RAN architecture. In this presentation, we will present the OAI and its road to the cloud-RAN architecture.