Article

RAN Runtime Slicing System for Flexible and Dynamic Service Execution Environment

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Abstract

Network slicing is one key enabler to provide the required flexibility and to realize the service-oriented 5G vision. Unlike the core network slicing, radio access network (RAN) slicing is still at its infancy and several works just start to investigate the challenges and potentials to enable the multi-service RAN, toward a serviced-oriented RAN (SO-RAN) architecture. One of the major concerns in RAN slicing is to provide different levels of isolation and sharing as per slice requirement. Moreover, both control and user plane processing may be customized allowing a slice owner to flexibly control its service. Enabling dynamic RAN composition with flexible functional split for disaggregated RAN deployments is another challenge. In this paper, we propose a RAN runtime slicing system through which the operation and behavior of the underlying RAN could be customized and controlled to meet slice requirements. We present a proof-of-concept prototype of the proposed RAN runtime slicing system for LTE, assess its feasibility and potentials, and demonstrate the isolation, sharing, and customization capabilities with three representative use cases.

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... In [14], the authors proposed RAN runtime slicing architecture that provides an adaptable execution environment for running customised slice instances with desired isolation levels while sharing the same underlying RAN infrastructure. In [15], the authors provided a cloud-native approach for 5G network slicing by considering the slice life cycle. ...
... Finally, analysis and simulation on network slices and isolation are presented. In [14], the authors described the importance and role of network slicing in a runtime environment in 5G networks and addressed the design for runtime network slicing. ...
... Genetic algorithm [27] Bandwidth slicing Stackelberg game approach [14] RAN runtime slicing [15] End-to-end ...
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Fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks are projected to bring a major transformation to the current fourth-generation network to support the billions of devices that will be connected to the Internet. 5G networks will enable new and powerful capabilities to support high-speed data rates, better connectivity and system capacity that are critical in designing applications in virtual reality, augmented reality and mobile online gaming. The infrastructure of a network that can support stringent application requirements needs to be highly dynamic and flexible. Network slicing can provide these dynamic and flexible characteristics to a network architecture. Implementing network slicing in 5G requires domain modification of the preexisting network architecture. A network slicing architecture is proposed for an existing 5G network with the aim of enhancing network dynamics and flexibility to support modern network applications. To enable network slicing in a 5G network, we established the virtualisation of the underlying physical 5G infrastructure by utilising technological advancements, such as software-defined networking and network function virtualisation. These virtual networks can fulfil the requirement of multiple use cases as required by creating slices of these virtual networks. Thus, abstracting from the physical resources to create virtual networks and then applying network slicing on these virtual networks enable the 5G network to address the increased demands for high-speed communication.
... The allocation (and configuration of RBs) must be such that the slice can guarantee the QoS requirements of the users it serves. The allocation of RBs to slices is maintained during a time period referred to as allocation window [15]. This period has a duration of slots. ...
... Previous studies (such as [15], [20] and [37]) select the allocation window so that the partitioning solution for the current allocation window can be repeated in consecutive allocation windows while satisfying the requirements of the applications supported by the slices. The selection of must consider the requirements and characteristic of the different traffic types. ...
... At the start of the simulation, the industrial environment is created: nodes 3 This value is also selected in many related studies (e.g. [15], [38]). are distributed in the scenario and the industrial applications demanded by the different nodes are selected. ...
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Network slicing is a novel 5G paradigm that exploits the virtualization and softwarization of networks to create different logical network instances over a common network infrastructure. Each instance is tailored for specific Quality of Service (QoS) profiles so that network slicing can simultaneously support several services with diverse requirements. Network slicing can be applied at the Core Network or at the Radio Access Network (RAN). RAN slicing is particularly relevant to support latency-sensitive or time-critical applications since the RAN accounts for a significant part of the end-to-end transmission latency. In this context, this study proposes a novel latency-sensitive 5G RAN slicing solution. The proposal includes schemes to design slices and partition (or allocate) radio resources among slices. These schemes are designed with the objective to satisfy both the rate and latency demands of diverse applications. In particular, this study considers applications with deterministic aperiodic, deterministic periodic and non-deterministic traffic. The latency-sensitive 5G RAN slicing proposal is evaluated in Industry 4.0 scenarios where stringent and/or deterministic latency requirements are common. However, it can be evolved to support other verticals with latency-sensitive or time-critical applications.
... In the literature, research works related to 5G network slicing can be roughly classified into two categories [5]. Some works have been conducted on virtualizing and softwarizing the radio resource for RAN slicing [6]- [8]; whereas some works, known as E2E network slicing (or CN slicing) investigate the placement of virtual network functions (VNFs) towards the underlying physical infrastructure to form the corresponding virtual network for the slices to operate independently [9], [10]. There are also works design the interfaces and protocols between RAN slices and CN slices [11]. ...
... By allowing these common VNF to be shared among slices, less VNF instances are required to be instantiated and physical resources could be saved. Hence, in this work we consider a loosed level of isolation in which the non-security-critical VNF instances can be shared across multiple slices to further improve the utilization of the underlying physical resources [8], [13]. ...
... in which N (n I u ) stands for the neighbor set for the physical node n I u . Constraint (8) ensures that there is no loop along the physical path mapped for the virtual link. Constraint (9) satisfies the flow conservation constraints. ...
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Network slicing (NS) is recognized as a key technology for the 5G mobile network in enabling the network to support multiple diversified vertical markets over a shared physical infrastructure with efficiency and flexibility. A 5G NS instance is composed of a set of virtual network function (VNF) instances to form the end-to-end (E2E) virtual network for the slice to operate independently. The deployment of a NS is a typical virtual network embedding (VNE) problem. We consider a scenario in which VNF instances can be shared across multiple slices to further enhance the utilization ratio of the underlying physical resources. For NSs with sharable VNF instances, the deployment of the slice instances is essentially the embedding of multiple virtual networks coupled by the VNFs shared among slices. Hence, we formulate this sharable-VNFs-based multiple coupled VNE problem (SVM-VNE) through an integer linear program (ILP) formulation, and design a back-tracking coordinated virtual network mapping algorithm. Simulation results demonstrate that VNF-sharing can enhance the slice acceptance ratio with the same physical network, which represents higher physical resource utilization. Moreover, our approach achieves higher acceptance ratio by comparing to a baseline algorithm.
... SDR allows recreating base stations and other radio elements of the network with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components placed inside a computer. In addition, several open-source projects [4,5] were created to provide the elements of the core network by implementing the published standards directly in software. Nevertheless, SDR technology is not able to achieve the radio performance of the real equipment, and the different software solutions are still unstable or do not provide all the characteristic of the commercial ones. ...
... us, 5Gtango proposes the creation of a platform with validation and verification mechanisms for VNFs and Network Services, which is vendor-independent and owns an orchestrator compatible with existing Virtual Infrastructure Managers (VIMs) and SDN controllers [26]. e SLICENET project [4] focuses on the deployment of real end-to-end slicing in virtualised multidomain, multitenant 5G networks. e project targets three main use cases: the smart grid oriented to the energy vertical, the eHealth with connected ambulances, and the smart city use case. ...
Article
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This paper presents the design options for creating a Pan-European mobile network for research in the context of the European Horizon 2020 EuWireless project. The most likely direction is a platform that makes it easier to create network slices for research. In this context, we identify one promising technology to implement network slicing in 5G networks: the framework GÉANT Testbeds Service (GTS). GTS is currently a production service by GÉANT that offers remote construction and use of virtual testbeds for wired networks mapped to the real GÉANT infrastructure. These GTS-virtualized testbed environments conform to Software Define Networks (SDNs) principles and offer compute, storage, and switching resources, at scale and with line rate performance. In this paper, we explain how the current (wired oriented) GTS can be extended with the 5G components, such as radio access nodes (gNBs), transport networks, user devices, etc., in order to implement 5G network slices. Our first conclusion is that using GTS for EuWireless implementation is feasible, dramatically increasing the potential impact of this service in the research community.
... in which N (n I u ) stands for the neighbor set for the physical node n I u . Constraint (6) ensures that there is no loop along the physical path mapped for the virtual link. Constraint (7) satisfies the flow conservation constraints. ...
... In the first phase (step [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19] where we try to solve computing resource deficit for physical nodes in the set (CN − BN), we do not treat link congestion, because virtual node migration leads to virtual link migration which could change the bandwidth state of physical links. After a physical node's computing resource deficit is solved, we check whether the bandwidth resource deficit still exists, if so the physical node's congestion level is recomputed and insert in to the BN set, and it will be treat in the second phase of the algorithm (step [21][22][23][24][25][26][27]. ...
Article
Network Slicing (NS) is recognized as a key technology for the 5G network in providing tailored network services towards various types of verticals over a shared physical infrastructure. It offers the flexibility of on-demand provisioning of diverse services based on tenants' requirements in a dynamic environment. In this work, we focus on two important issues related to 5G Core slices: the deployment and the reconfiguration of 5G Core NSs. Firstly, for slice deployment, balancing the workloads of the underlying network is beneficial in mitigating resource fragmentation for accommodating the future unknown network slice requests. In this vein, we formulate a load-balancing oriented 5G Core NS deployment problem through an Integer Linear Program (ILP) formulation. Further, for slice reconfiguration, we propose a reactive strategy to accommodate a rejected NS request by reorganizing the already-deployed NSs. Typically, the NS deployment algorithm is reutilized with slacked physical resources to find out the congested part of the network, due to which the NS is rejected. Then, these congested physical nodes and links are reconfigured by migrating virtual network functions and virtual links, to re-balance the utilization of the whole physical network. To evaluate the performance of deployment and reconfiguration algorithms we proposed, extensive simulations have been conducted. The results show that our deployment algorithm performs better in resource balancing, hence achieves higher acceptance ratio by comparing to existing works. Moreover, our reconfiguration algorithm improves resource utilization by accommodating more NSs in a dynamic environment.
... Authors in [10] layout the roadmap for a multitenant and multi-service architecture in the future evolution of mobile networks. Such architectures should enable flexible end-to-end slicing via softwarization, virtualization, and disaggregation [11]. ...
... However, RAN slicing deals with the efficient sharing of the radio resources, i.e., time, frequency and space, among slices. Differently from the CN slicing, the unpredictability and variability of the wireless medium makes the RAN slicing a more challenging topic [11]. In particular, Radio Resource Management (RRM) is a crucial mechanism for ensuring the simultaneous fulfillment of the demands of the different slices. ...
Article
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For accommodating the heterogeneous services that are anticipated for the fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, the concept of network slicing serves as a key technology. Spanning both the core network (CN) and radio access network (RAN), slices are end-to-end virtual networks that share the resources of a physical network. Slicing the RAN can be more challenging than slicing the CN since RAN slicing deals with the distribution of radio resources, which have fluctuating capacity and are harder to extend. Improving multiplexing gains, while assuring the slice isolation is the main challenging task for RAN slicing. This paper provides a flexible and configurable framework for RAN slicing, where diverse requirements of slices are simultaneously taken into account, and slice management algorithms adjust the control parameters of different radio resource management (RRM) mechanisms to satisfy the slices' service level agreements (SLAs). One of the proposed algorithms is based merely on heuristics and the other one utilizes an artificial neural network (ANN) to predict the behavior of the cellular network and make better decisions in the adjustment of the RRM mechanisms. Furthermore, a protection mechanism is devised to prevent the slices from negatively influencing each other's performances. A simulation-based analysis demonstrates that in presence of local or global overload of one of the slices, the ANN-based method increases the number of key performance indicators (KPIs) that fulfill their defined SLA targets. Finally, we show that the proposed protection mechanism can force the negative effects of an overloading slice to be contained to that slice and the other slices are not affected as severely.
... Two key elements can be found in FlexRAN as shown in Fig. 3: (a) Real-time controller (RTC) that enables coordinated control over multiple RANs, reveals high/low-level primitives and provision SDKs for control application, and (b) RAN runtime [6] that acts as a local agent controlled by RTC, virtualizes the underlying RAN radio resources, pipelines the RAN service function chain, and provides SDKs enabling distributed control applications. Further, the RAN runtime can support various slice requirements (e.g., isolation) and also improve multiplexing benefits (e.g., sharing) in terms of radio resource abstractions and modularized/customized RAN compositions for RAN slicing purpose. ...
Article
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Network slicing is one of the key enablers to provide the required flexibility and to realize the service-oriented vision toward fifth generation (5G) mobile networks. In that sense, virtualization, softwarization, and disaggregation are core concepts to accommodate the requirements of an end-to-end (E2E) service to be either isolated, shared, or customized. They lay the foundation for a multi-service and multi-tenant architecture, and are realized by applying the principles of software-defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV), and cloud computing to the mobile networks. Research on these principles requires agile and flexible platforms that offer a wide range of real-world experimentations over different domains to open up innovations in 5G. To this end, we present Mosaic5G, a community-led consortium for sharing platforms, providing a number of software components, namely FlexRAN, LL-MEC, JOX and Store, spanning application, management, control and user plane on top of OpenAirInterface (OAI) platform. Finally, we show several use cases of Mosaic5G corresponding to widely-mentioned 5G research directions.
... Additionally, the MAC layer comprises other RRM procedures (e.g., PS, LA, etc). Focusing on PS, the algorithm and the optimization criteria could be could be adapted to optimally distribute the radio resources between the UEs attached to a specific RAN slice subnet [16]. Some examples: semi-persistent planing is better for transmitting periodic information of mMTC services; or optimization criteria such as guaranteeing latency and throughput are appropriate for uRLLC and eMBB services, respectively. ...
Preprint
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To implement the next Generation NodeBs (gNBs) that are present in every Radio Access Network (RAN) slice subnet, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) enables the deployment of some of the gNB components as Virtual Networks Functions (VNFs). Deploying individual VNF instances for these components could guarantee the customization of each RAN slice subnet. However, due to the multiplicity of VNFs, the required amount of virtual resources will be greater compared to the case where a single VNF instance carries the aggregated traffic of all the RAN slice subnets. Sharing gNB components between RAN slice subnets could optimize the trade-off between customization, isolation and resource utilization. In this article, we shed light on the key aspects in the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)/NFV standards for sharing gNB components. First, we identify four possible scenarios for sharing gNB components. Then, we analyze the impact of sharing on the customization level of each RAN slice subnet. Later, we determine the main factors that enable isolation between RAN slice subnets. Finally, we propose a 3GPP/NFV-based description model to define the lifecycle management of shared gNB components
... For example, the processing for sub-6GHz range varies significantly as compared to processing for 30GHz range due the large number of antennas involved in the latter. To resolve this, multiple works [25]- [27] introduce data plane programmability. These proposals decompose the data plane into a chain of functions where each function can be customized for a given slice. ...
Preprint
5G presents a unique set of challenges for cellular network architecture. The architecture needs to be versatile in order to handle a variety of use cases. While network slicing has been proposed as a way to provide such versatility, it is also important to ensure that slices do not adversely interfere with each other. In other words, isolation among network slices is needed. Additionally, the large number of use cases also implies a large number of users, making it imperative that 5G architectures scale efficiently. In this paper we propose IsoRAN, which provides isolation and scaling along with the flexibility needed for 5G architecture. In IsoRAN, users are processed by daemon threads in the Cloud Radio Access Network (CRAN) architecture. Our design allows users from different use cases to be executed, in a distributed manner, on the most efficient hardware to ensure that the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are met while minimising power consumption. Our experiments show that IsoRAN handles users with different SLA while providing isolation to reduce interference. This increased isolation reduces the drop rate for different users from 42% to nearly 0% in some cases. Finally, we run large scale simulations on real traces to show the benefits for power consumption and cost reduction scale while increasing the number of base stations.
... Unless dictated by an SLA, the current trend is for NOs to depart away from the obsolete and inefficient model of overprovisioning of the resources, and rather to adapt a resource multiplexing model for hosting and controlling 5G slices [13][14][15]. Nevertheless, resource multiplexing can put at stake the SLAs of different 5G slices running in parallel and competing for the same physical resources [16]. ...
Preprint
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Fifth Generation (5G) networks are envisioned to be fully autonomous in accordance to the ETSI-defined Zero touch network and Service Management (ZSM) concept. To this end, purpose-specific Machine Learning (ML) models can be used to manage and control physical as well as virtual network resources in a way that is fully compliant to slice Service Level Agreements (SLAs), while also boosting the revenue of the underlying physical network operator(s). This is because specially designed and trained ML models can be both proactive and very effective against slice management issues that can induce significant SLA penalties or runtime costs. However, reaching that point is very challenging. 5G networks will be highly dynamic and complex, offering a large scale of heterogeneous, sophisticated and resource-demanding 5G services as network slices. This raises a need for a well-defined, generic and step-wise roadmap to designing, building and deploying efficient ML models as collaborative components of what can be defined as Cognitive Network and Slice Management (CNSM) 5G systems. To address this need, we take a use case-driven approach to design and present a novel Integrated Methodology for CNSM in virtualized 5G networks based on a concrete eHealth use case, and elaborate on it to derive a generic approach for 5G slice management use cases. The three fundamental components that comprise our proposed methodology include (i) a 5G Cognitive Workflow model that conditions everything from the design up to the final deployment of ML models; (ii) a Four-stage approach to Cognitive Slice Management with an emphasis on anomaly detection; and (iii) a Proactive Control Scheme for the collaboration of different ML models targeting different slice life-cycle management problems.
... In general, the most promising approach seems to be using a two-layer scheduler: one layer is used to determine the amount of resources for each slice (inter-slice scheduler), while the other is specific for each slice and allocates resources to end users (intra-slice scheduler). A proof-ofconcept of a RAN slicing system that controls functions and resources of the underlying RAN is presented in [16]. In particular, the virtualization manager performs inter-slice resource partitioning and radio resource abstraction. ...
Article
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The evolution toward 5G is driven by the need of providing a wide range of services differing on needed network functionalities, performance requirements, type of devices and going beyond the human-type communications. Such wide variety of requirements cannot be always met through a common network setting, hence, high network flexibility and scalability are required. Network slicing allows the operation of multiple end-to-end logical networks on a common physical infrastructure: each network slice is tailored to best support a specific service. Network slicing on the Radio Access Network (RAN) domain is challenging. In order to manage the scarce radio resources, RAN slicing requires flexibility, efficient resource sharing and customization. Hence, dynamic resource management presents unique challenges, it has to take into account different issues that can be also in contrast each other. This paper proposes a two-layer scheduler for an efficient and low complexity RAN slicing approach in actual systems. It is shown that simply setting some parameters it is possible to achieve different trade-offs between isolation and efficiency, allowing the management of priority and customization. The performance of the proposed method has been compared with other benchmark approaches to show the good behavior and the flexibility of the proposed approach.
... However, it must be underlined that current network slicing in 5G networks has mainly been carried out and evaluated in the context of the 5GC segment, thus neglecting the radio segment, which is the focus of this paper [28]. Furthermore, many of the contributions at the RAN level focus on theoretical analyses or simulation-level evaluations [29][30][31][32]. Thus, the evaluation of the solutions is not performed in a real 5G architecture. ...
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Network slicing is a promising technique used in the smart delivery of traffic and can satisfy the requirements of specific applications or systems based on the features of the 5G network. To this end, an appropriate slice needs to be selected for each data flow to efficiently transmit data for different applications and heterogeneous requirements. To apply the slicing paradigm at the radio segment of a cellular network, this paper presents two approaches for dynamically classifying the traffic types of individual flows and transmitting them through a specific slice with an associated 5G quality-of-service identifier (5QI). Finally, using a 5G standalone (SA) experimental network solution, we apply the radio resource sharing configuration to prioritize traffic that is dispatched through the most suitable slice. The results demonstrate that the use of network slicing allows for higher efficiency and reliability for the most critical data in terms of packet loss or jitter.
... Another aspect from the 5G scope, to be further studied in the context of hierarchical management framework, is network slicing and its application in NG-RAN. Recent works on this topic included virtualized RAN and dynamic RAN slicing, and can be found in e.g., [11] [12]. In the context of slicing, three areas in the RAN management could be defined (see Figure 6), namely: intra-slice management -"slice-specific" (optimization of resources for a certain slicei.e. ...
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The evolution of mobile wireless systems into heterogeneous networks, along with the introduction of fifth generation systems, significantly increased the complexity of radio resource management. Current mobile networks consist of a multitude of spectrum bands, use cases, system features, licensing schemes, radio technologies, and network layers. Additionally, the traffic demand is uneven in terms of spatial and temporal domains, calling for a dynamic approach to radio resource allocation. To cope with these complexities, a generic and adaptive scheme is required for efficient operation of heterogeneous networks. This article proposes using a hierarchical and modular framework as an approach to cover the mentioned challenges and to generalize this scheme to different network layers. The proposed management solution is based on three main components: specialized solutions for individual requirements, exposed to the coordination layer, through abstraction middleware. In this approach, new items can be added as “plugins.”
... The most and critical segment in this communications is the wireless, which interconnects the remote IEDs with the AAU/RRU. As demonstrated by Chang et al [15], wireless communication has an average RTT latency of 10ms in C-RAN segment of the 5G network. Thus, the solution proposed in this paper should achieve that R-GOOSE messages are transmitted in an RTT of less than 6ms to achieve the 5G smart grid self-healing KPIs. ...
... Furthermore, evolved packet core (EPC) bundle together of virtual resources and physical. The different levels of isolation and sharing are provided by RAN slicing according to the slice requirement, which can be more satisfied with different service level agreements in 5G [9]. In [11], the authors leveraging OpenAirInterface (OAI) [12] and Mosaic-5G [13][14][15] to realize the concept of network slicing. ...
Conference Paper
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The rising of diverse requirements and the traffic explosion lead to many challenges for traditional mobile network architecture on flexibility, scalability, and deployability. Service-based architecture is introduced into mobile networks to meet new requirements in the 5G era. The monolithic network elements are split into smaller network functions to provide customized services. However, the management and deployment of network function in service-based 5G core networks are still big challenges. In this paper, we propose the network automation using Kubernetes for automating application deployment, while using Openshift Operator as a tool to manage 5G services. This operator lets us deploy all Mosaic 5G inside pods. In this Mosaic 5G Operator, especially in custom resource, we define the composition of core network, Radio Access Network (RAN), FlexRAN, ElasticSearch, and Kibana (as data visualization). For this purpose, we use the containerized OpenAirInterface (OAI) to deploy and demonstrate the automatability with extensive slicing radio support. Index Terms-Mosaic 5G, Kubernetes, OAI, Virtualization, 5G
... Summary and comparison of RAN slicing Approaches[321].changes on how networks are deployed, operated and managed. It also demands new ways on how resources are orchestrated while making sure that network functions are instantiated dynamically on-demand basis ...
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The increasing consumption of multimedia services and the demand of high-quality services from customers has triggered a fundamental change in how we administer networks in terms of abstraction, separation, and mapping of forwarding, control and management aspects of service. The industry and the academia are embracing 5G as the future network capable to support next generation vertical applications with different service requirements. To realize this vision in 5G network, the physical network has to be sliced into multiple isolated logical networks of varying sizes and structures which are dedicated to different types of services based on their requirements with different characteristics and requirements(e.g., a slice for massive IoT devices, smartphones or autonomous cars, etc.). Softwarization using Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV)in 5G networks are expected to fill the void of programmable control and management of network resources. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive review and updated solutions related to 5G network slicing using SDN and NFV. Firstly, we present 5G service quality and business requirements followed by a description of 5G network softwarization and slicing paradigms including essential concepts, history and different use cases. Secondly, we provide a tutorial of 5G network slicing technology enablers including SDN, NFV, MEC, cloud/Fog computing, network hypervisors, virtual machines & containers. Thidly, we comprehensively survey different industrial initiatives and projects that are pushing forward the adoption of SDN and NFV in accelerating 5G network slicing. A comparison of various 5G architectural approaches in terms of practical implementations, technology adoptions and deployment strategies is presented.. Moreover, we provide discussion on various open source orchestrators and proof of concepts representing industrial contribution.. The work also investigates the standardization efforts in 5G networks regarding network slicing and softwarization. Additionally, the article presents the management and orchestration of network slices in a single domain followed by a comprehensive survey of management and orchestration approaches in 5G network slicing across multiple domains while supporting multiple tenants. Furthermore, we highlight the future challenges and research directions regarding network softwarization and slicing using SDN and NFV in 5G networks.
... However, it does not take into account the CP/UP separation in disaggregated RAN deployments. In [39] authors propose a RAN slicing system that allows defining CP/UP functions for each slice, therefore enabling slice customization, isolation and resource sharing. Moreover, it allows specifying if the CP and the UP are shared or separately processed. ...
Article
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Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is making their way into the fifth generation of mobile communications. For example, 3GPP is embracing the concept of Control-User Plane Separation (a cornerstone concept in SDN) in the 5G core and the Radio Access Network (RAN). In this paper we introduce a flexible, programmable, and open-source SDN platform for heterogeneous 5G RANs. The platform builds on an open protocol that abstracts the technology-dependent aspects of the radio access elements, allowing network programmers to deploy complex management tasks as policies on top of a programmable logically centralized controller. We implement the proposed solution as an extension to the platform and release the software stack (including the southbound protocol) under a permissive APACHE 2.0 License. Finally, the effectiveness of the platform is assessed through three reference use cases: active network slicing, mobility management, and load-balancing.
... In [4], the authors present a functional framework for the management of slicing for a New Generation -Radio Access Network (NG-RAN) infrastructure, based on a dynamic RAN slicing approach. In [5], a dynamic RAN slicing approach for LTE-based systems is presented, and three representative use cases are utilized for isolation, sharing, and customization capabilities. ...
Conference Paper
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Network Slicing (NS) represents a key technology enabler for advanced connectivity and data processing tailored to customers’ specific requirements. While significant progress has already been achieved for Core NS, Radio Access Network (RAN)slicing still presents limitations in terms of sharing infrastructure,Service Level Agreement (SLA) guarantees, isolation, resource scheduling and allocation. In this context, this paper firstly introduces a novel slices configuration framework for the 5G New Radio (5G NR) infrastructure able to dynamically migrates the radio resources among the slices, while preserving the Quality of Service (QoS) of the served users. Our solution is detailed illustrated and tested on top of a real case 5G scenario, using a software-based simulator. Finally, this paper investigates the flexibility, scalability, and real-time properties of the proposed method, as required in the future 5G cloud-based architectures.
... This calls for a unified and flexible execution environment to run multiple virtualised RAN and CN instances with the required levels of customisation over heterogeneous deployments. To this end, we present below the proposed runtime slicing system [11]. ...
Article
Media use cases for emergency services require mission-critical levels of reliability for the delivery of media-rich services, such as video streaming. With the upcoming deployment of the fifth generation (5G) networks, a wide variety of applications and services with heterogeneous performance requirements are expected to be supported, and any migration of mission-critical services to 5G networks presents significant challenges in the quality of service (QoS), for emergency service operators. This paper presents a novel SliceNet framework, based on advanced and customizable network slicing to address some of the highlighted challenges in migrating eHealth telemedicine services to 5G networks. An overview of the framework outlines the technical approaches in beyond the state-of-the-art network slicing. Subsequently, this paper emphasizes the design and prototyping of a media-centric eHealth use case, focusing on a set of innovative enablers toward achieving end-to-end QoS-aware network slicing capabilities, required by this demanding use case. Experimental results empirically validate the prototyped enablers and demonstrate the applicability of the proposed framework in such media-rich use cases.
... Resource allocation has recently received significant attention as it is one of the pivot ideas around the slicing concept [36] [37] [38]. Unfortunately, most literature about slicing discusses the resource allocation problem without considering 5G's packet-switched network nature (e.g., segmentation problem where the information is not forwarded unless all the fragments are reassembled), or 5G's RB distribution peculiarities (e.g., RBG). ...
Article
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The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is investing a notable effort to mitigate the endogenous stack and protocol delays (e.g., introducing new numerology, through preemptive scheduling or providing uplink granted free transmission) to attain to the heterogeneous Quality of Service (QoS) latency requirements for which the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks (5G) is envisioned. However, 3GPP’s goals may become futile if exogenous delays generated by the transport layer (e.g., bufferbloat) and the Radio Link Control (RLC) sublayer segmentation/reassembly procedure are not targeted. On the one hand, the bufferbloat specifically occurs at the Radio Access Network (RAN) since the data path bottleneck is located at the radio link, and contemporary RANs are deployed with large buffers to avoid squandering scarce wireless resources. On the other hand, a Resource Block (RB) scheduling that dismisses 5G’s packet-switched network nature, unnecessarily triggers the segmentation procedure at sender’s RLC sublayer, which adds extra delay as receiver’s RLC sublayer cannot forward the packets to higher sublayers until they are reassembled. Consequently, the exogenously generated queuing delays can surpass 5G’s stack and protocol endogenous delays, neutralizing 3GPP’s attempt to reduce the latency. We address RLC’s related buffer delays and present two solutions: (i) we enhance the 3GPP standard and propose a bufferbloat avoidance algorithm, and (ii) we propose a RB scheduler for circumventing the added sojourn time caused by the packet segmentation/reassembly procedure. Both solutions are implemented and extensively evaluated along with other state-of-the-art proposals in a testbed to verify their suitability and effectiveness under realistic conditions of use (i.e., by considering Modulation and Coding Scheme (MCS) variations, slices, different traffic patterns and off-the-shelf equipment). The results reveal current 3GPP deficits in its QoS model to address the bufferbloat and the contribution of the segmentation/reassembly procedure to the total delay.
... Another aspect from the 5G scope, to be further studied in the context of hierarchical management framework, is network slicing and its application in NG-RAN. Recent works on this topic included virtualized RAN and dynamic RAN slicing, and can be found in e.g., [13] [14]. In the context of slicing, three areas in the RAN management could be defined (see Figure 6), namely: intra-slice management -"slice-specific" (optimization of resources for a certain slicei.e. ...
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The evolution of mobile wireless systems into Heterogeneous Networks, along with the introduction of the 5th Generation (5G) systems, significantly increased the complexity of radio resource management. The current mobile networks consist of a multitude of spectrum bands, use cases, system features, licensing schemes, radio technologies, and network layers. Additionally, the traffic demand is uneven in terms of spatial and temporal domains, calling for a dynamic approach to radio resource allocation. To cope with these complexities, a generic and adaptive scheme is required for the efficient operation of Heterogeneous Networks. This article proposes to use a hierarchical and modular framework as an approach to cover the mentioned challenges and to generalize this scheme to different network layers. The proposed management solution is based on three main components: specialized solutions for individual requirements, exposed to the coordination layer, through abstraction middleware. In this approach, new items can be added as plugins.
... However, resource sharing also brings challenges for slice isolation. Accordingly, a proof-of-concept prototype for RAN run-time slicing which has the capability of isolating, sharing, and customizing resources for three use cases was demonstrated in [6]. Based on a flexible numerology structure in 5G NR, dynamic resource allocation was formulated as an optimization problem for quality of service (QoS) provisioning given the co-existence of eMBB and URLLC services in [7]. ...
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Network slicing enabled by fifth generation (5G) systems has the potential to satisfy diversified service requirements from different vertical industries. As a typical vertical industry, smart distribution grid poses new challenges to communication networks. This paper investigates the behavior of network slicing for smart grid applications in 5G radio access networks with heterogeneous traffic. To facilitate network slicing in such a network, we employ different 5G radio access numerologies for two traffic classes which have distinct radio resource and quality of service requirements. Three multi-dimensional Markov models are developed to assess the transient performance of network slicing for resource allocation with and without traffic priority. Through analysis and simulations, we investigate the effects of smart grid protection and control traffic on other types of parallel traffic sessions as well as on radio resource utilization.
... However, resource sharing also brings challenges for slice isolation. Accordingly, a proof-of-concept prototype for RAN run-time slicing which has the capability of isolating, sharing, and customizing resources for three use cases was demonstrated in [6]. Based on a flexible numerology structure in 5G NR, dynamic resource allocation was formulated as an optimization problem for quality of service (QoS) provisioning given the co-existence of eMBB and URLLC services in [7]. ...
... Additionally, the MAC layer comprises other RRM procedures (e.g., PS, LA, etc). Focusing on PS, the algorithm and the optimization criteria could be could be adapted to optimally distribute the radio resources between the UEs attached to a specific RAN slice subnet [16]. Some examples: semi-persistent planing is better for transmitting periodic information of mMTC services; or optimization criteria such as guaranteeing latency and throughput are appropriate for uRLLC and eMBB services, respectively. ...
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Chapter
Network slicing is one of the key enablers to provide the required flexibility for the envisioned service‐oriented 5G. We introduce a descriptor, a triple consisting of resources, processing, and state, as a means to describe base stations (BSs) and the embedded slices alike through a unifying description. Second, we propose a RAN slicing system, composed of the RAN runtime execution environment and accompanying controller based on this descriptor. This includes design and performance details of the employed system. Finally, we elaborate on the aspects of RAN slicing such as the radio resources, the processing chain of a slice, and its state.
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While there is clarity on the wide range of applications that are to be supported by 5G cellular communications, and standardization of 5G has now started in 3GPP, there is no conclusion yet on the detailed design of the overall 5G RAN. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the 5G RAN design guidelines, key design considerations, and functional innovations as identified and developed by key players in the field.1 It depicts the air interface landscape that is envisioned for 5G, and elaborates on how this will likely be harmonized and integrated into an overall 5G RAN, in the form of concrete control and user plane design considerations and architectural enablers for network slicing, supporting independent business-driven logical networks on a common infrastructure. The article also explains key functional design considerations for the 5G RAN, highlighting the difference to legacy systems such as LTE-A and the implications of the overall RAN design.
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The standardization of the next generation 5G radio access technology has just started in 3GPP with the ambition of making it commercially available by 2020. There are a number of features that are unique for 5G radio access compared to the previous generations such as a wide range of carrier frequencies and deployment options, diverse use cases with very different user requirements, small-size base stations, self-backhaul, massive MIMO, and large channel bandwidths. In this article, we propose a flexible physical layer for the NR to meet the 5G requirements. A symmetric physical layer design with OFDM is proposed for all link types, including uplink, downlink, device-to-device, and backhaul. A scalable OFDM waveform is proposed to handle the wide range of carrier frequencies and deployments.
Conference Paper
In this work, we present novel Architectural Design Patterns towards open, cloud-based 5G communications. We provide a brief classification of technologies that cannot be ignored in the design process of 5G systems and illustrate how a new technological added value can be created, when current methodologies, design paradigms, as well as design patterns and their extensions are properly exploited in efficient Radio Access Network (RAN) architectures. We believe that in many cases, the required technology is already there; nevertheless the correct approach has to be worked out and placed within an appropriate context, especially in the case of the integration of complex RAN systems. The enhancements in RF optimization, the progress in cloud computing, Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV), new design concepts such as Network Slicing have to become part of the RAN design methodology. Diverse architectural concepts should break existing stereotypes to pave the way towards the true 5G system integration.
Article
As a chain is as strong as its weakest element, so are the efficiency, flexibility, and robustness of a mobile network, which relies on a range of different functional elements and mechanisms. Indeed, the mobile network architecture needs particular attention when discussing the evolution of 3GPP EPS because it is the architecture that integrates the many different future technologies into one mobile network. This article discusses 3GPP EPS mobile network evolution as a whole, analyzing specific architecture properties that are critical in future 3GPP EPS releases. In particular, this article discusses the evolution toward a "network of functions," network slicing, and software-defined mobile network control, management, and orchestration. Furthermore, the roadmap for the future evolution of 3GPP EPS and its technology components is detailed and relevant standards defining organizations are listed.
Article
5G network is anticipated to meet the challenging requirements of mobile traffic in the 2020's, which are characterized by super high data rate, low latency, high mobility, high energy efficiency, and high traffic density. This paper provides an overview of China Mobile's 5G vision and potential solutions. Targeting a paradigm shift to user-centric network operation from the traditional cell-centric operation, 5G radio access network (RAN) design considerations are presented, including RAN restructure, Turbo charged edge, core network (CN) and RAN function repartition, and network slice as a service. Adaptive multiple connections in the user-centric operation is further investigated, where the decoupled downlink and uplink, decoupled control and data, and adaptive multiple connections provide sufficient means to achieve a 5G network with 'no more cells.' Software-defined air interface (SDAI) is presented under a unified framework, in which the frame structure, waveform, multiple access, duplex mode, and antenna configuration can be adaptively configured. New paradigm of 5G network featuring user-centric network (UCN) and SDAI is needed to meet the diverse yet extremely stringent requirements across the broad scope of 5G scenarios.
Conference Paper
The mobile network plays an important role in the evolution of humanity and society. However, due to the increase of users as well as of mobile applications, the current mobile network architecture faces many challenges. In this paper we describe V-Core, a new architecture for the mobile packet core network which is based on Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization. Then, we introduce a MobileVisor which is a machine to slice the above mobile packet core network into different control platforms according to either different mobile operators or different technologies (e.g. 3G or 4G). With our architecture, the mobile network operators can reduce their costs for deployment and operation as well as use network resources efficiently.
Article
One of the main building blocks and major challenges for 5G cellular systems is the design of flexible network architectures which can be realized by the software defined networking paradigm. Existing commercial cellular systems rely on closed and inflexible hardware-based architectures both at the radio frontend and in the core network. These problems significantly delay the adoption and deployment of new standards, impose significant challenges in implementing and innovation of new techniques to maximize the network capacity and accordingly the coverage, and prevent provisioning of truly- differentiated services which are able to adapt to growing and uneven and highly variable traffic patterns. In this paper, a new software-defined architecture, called SoftAir, for next generation (5G) wireless systems, is introduced. Specifically, the novel ideas of network function cloudification and network virtualization are exploited to provide a scalable, flexible and resilient network architecture. Moreover, the essential enabling technologies to support and manage the proposed architecture are discussed in details, including fine-grained base station decomposition, seamless incorporation of Openflow, mobility- aware control traffic balancing, resource-efficient network virtualization, and distributed and collaborative traffic classification. Furthermore, the major benefits of SoftAir architecture with its enabling technologies are showcased by introducing software- defined traffic engineering solutions. The challenging issues for realizing SoftAir are also discussed in details.
Article
This article presents the progressive evolution of NFV from the initial SDN-agnostic initiative to a fully SDN-enabled NFV solution, where SDN is not only used as infrastructure support but also influences how virtual network functions (VNFs) are designed. In the latest approach, when possible, stateless processing in the VNF shifts from the computing element to the networking element. To support these claims, the article presents the implementation of a flowbased network access control solution, with an SDN-enabled VNF built on IEEE 802.1x, which establishes services as sets of flow definitions that are authorized as the result of an end user authentication process. Enforcing the access to the network is done at the network element, while the authentication and authorization state is maintained at the compute element. The application of this proposal allows the performance to be enhanced, while traffic in the control channel is reduced to a minimum. The SDN-enabled NFV approach sets the foundation to increase the areas of application of NFV, in particular in those areas where massive stateless processing of packets is expected.
Article
The objective of this article is to demonstrate the feasibility of on-demand creation of cloud-based elastic mobile core networks, along with their lifecycle management. For this purpose the article describes the key elements to realize the architectural vision of EPC as a Service, an implementation option of the Evolved Packet Core, as specified by 3GPP, which can be deployed in cloud environments. To meet several challenging requirements associated with the implementation of EPC over a cloud infrastructure and providing it "as a Service," this article presents a number of different options, each with different characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. A thorough analysis comparing the different implementation options is also presented.
Article
Heterogeneous mobile networks, HMNs, with flexible spectrum use, densified cell deployment, and multi-layer multiple types of radio access technologies, are expected to be key to meeting the 1000 times increase of mobile data traffic in 2020 and beyond. The increasing complexity in HMNs renders the control and coordination of networks a challenging task. The control frameworks of current cellular networks, which were previously designed for sparse network deployment, hit the wall for HMNs. HMNs need good separation of control and data planes, and call for novel control methods to handle the highly complex dynamics therein. In this article, we first briefly review the control planes of 2G to 4G cellular networks, and then identify their constraints to support HMNs. We analyze the complexity in HMNs and examine enabling control technologies for HMNs. We believe new thinking is needed for efficient control of HMNs. SDN is a promising technology to solve complex control problems in the Internet. Principle-based control methods applied in SDN are promising to solve control problems in HMNs. Several SDN approaches have been proposed for mobile networks. However, most of them are targeted at mobile core networks. We propose an SDNbased control framework named SoftMobile to coordinate complex radio access in HMNs. The main features of SoftMobile are low-layer abstraction, separation of control and data planes, and network-wide high-layer programmable control. Important research problems in SDN for mobile networks are highlighted. We believe SDN for mobile networks will be the controlling evolution of future HMNs.
Conference Paper
Mobile operators are witnessing a dramatic increase in traffic spurred by a combination of popularity of smartphones, innovative applications and diverse services. As mobile traffic transitions from being voice dominated to video and data dominated, the revenue per byte for the mobile operators is declining at an unhealthy rate. To counter the traffic growth and build cost-effective networks, many operators are now forging alliances for RAN (Radio Access Network) sharing to improve coverage and capacity at reasonable investments and operational costs. This paper presents the design and implementation of NetShare, a network-wide radio resource management framework that provides effective RAN Sharing. NetShare introduces a novel two-level scheduler split between the mobile gateway and the cellular basestations to effectively manage and allocate the wireless resources of the radio access network composed of multiple basestations among multiple different entities (such as operators, content providers, etc.) that share the network. Firstly, NetShare provides performance isolation across entities with a minimum guaranteed resource allocation to each entity across the network. Secondly, NetShare optimally distributes the resources to each entity across the network proportional to the resource demand at each basestation. Through extensive LTE-based system simulations and prototype evaluations on a WiMAX testbed, we show the efficacy of NetShare in (a) providing isolation across entities and (b) efficiently distributing resources for each entity across the network thus achieving high utilization of resources for an entity.
Conference Paper
An important piece of the cellular network infrastructure is the radio access network (RAN) that provides wide-area wireless connectivity to mobile devices. The fundamental problem the RAN solves is figuring out how best to use and manage limited spectrum to achieve this connectivity. In a dense wireless deployment with mobile nodes and limited spectrum, it becomes a difficult task to allocate radio resources, implement handovers, manage interference, balance load between cells, etc. We argue that LTE's current distributed control plane is suboptimal in achieving the above objective. We propose SoftRAN, a fundamental rethink of the radio access layer. SoftRAN is a software defined centralized control plane for radio access networks that abstracts all base stations in a local geographical area as a virtual big-base station comprised of a central controller and radio elements (individual physical base stations). In defining such an architecture, we create a framework through which a local geographical network can effectively perform load balancing and interference management, as well as maximize throughput, global utility, or any other objective.
Conference Paper
Wireless virtualization enables multiple concurrent wireless networks running on a shared wireless substrate to support different services (e.g. multimedia, VoIP). A fundamental challenge in wireless virtualization is how to efficiently assign wireless resource to virtual networks (VNs), i.e. embedding problem. However, so far there are few research results related to the embedding problems of wireless virtualization. This paper focuses on two important goals: (1) the embedding algorithm should handle online virtual network requests; (2) an efficient embedding algorithm is needed. Inspired from karnaugh-map, we present a karnaugh-map-like online embedding algorithm of wireless virtualization, which includes: online scheduling method and karnaugh-map-like embedding algorithm. Evaluation results show that our algorithm has better performance. To the best of authors' knowledge, it is not only the first detailed algorithm on embedding problem of wireless virtualization, but also the first algorithm handling the online requests of wireless virtualization.
Article
The purpose of this paper is to present a vision for future mobile and wireless networks. The vision, which we call Networks without Borders (NwoB), is based on a marketplace of virtual network operators which construct networks from a pool of shared resources (e.g., base stations, spectrum, core network components, cloud resources, processing capabilities, etc.). The resources will be sourced from traditional industry players as well as crowdsourced from individuals. The paper describes this approach from a value-chain perspective. The proposed value chain is substantially different from the value-chain models that are currently used to illustrate mobile and wireless networks. The economic imperatives and innovation drivers for this approach are discussed. Early work showing the promise of this vision is presented. This work focuses on diverse examples which advocate the removal of traditional and historical restrictions on spectrum and infrastructure and move toward more dynamic use of shared resources. In the first example, we look at how frequency-division-duplexing (FDD) and time-division-duplexing (TDD) restrictions on spectrum usage can be relaxed; we remove the borders between TDD and FDD. In the second example, we look at the aggregation and pooling of corporate infrastructure which uses exclusive spectrum and removes the borders between different mobile operators. Finally, we look at the aggregation of user-deployed or crowdsourced infrastructure that opportunistically uses spectrum and removes the borders between independently deployed hotspots. These are starting points, and the full realization of the vision will involve more dynamic access to spectrum and more extensive sharing of infrastructure. Hence, the final part of the paper describes the resulting research challenges.
Article
Network virtualization is receiving immense attention in the research community all over the world. There is no doubt that it will play a significant role in shaping the way we do networking in the future. There have been different approaches to virtualize different aspects of the network: some are focusing on resource virtualization like node, server and router virtualization; while others are focusing on building a framework to set up virtual networks on the fly based on different virtual resources. Nevertheless, one very important piece of the puzzle is still missing, that is “Wireless Virtualization”. The virtualization of the wireless medium has not yet received the appropriate attention it is entitled to, and there have only been some early attempts in this field. In this paper a general framework for virtualizing the wireless medium is proposed and investigated. This framework focuses on virtualizing mobile communication systems so that multiple operators can share the same physical resources while being able to stay isolated from each other. We mainly focus on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) but the framework can also be generalized to fit any other wireless system. The goal of the paper is to exploit the advantages that can be obtained from virtualizing the LTE system, more specifically virtualizing the air interface (i.e. spectrum sharing). Two different possible gain areas are explored: spectrum multiplexing and multi-user diversity. KeywordsLTE virtualization–future internet
Article
We address the two-dimensional Knapsack Problem (2KP), aimed at packing a maximum-profit subset of rectangles selected from a given set into another rectangle. We consider the natural relaxation of 2KP given by the one-dimensional KP with item weights equal to the rectangle areas, proving the worst-case performance of the associated upper bound, and present and compare computationally four exact algorithms based on the above relaxation, showing their effectiveness.
Description of Network Slicing Concept
  • Ngmn Alliance
NGMN Alliance, "Description of Network Slicing Concept," Tech. Rep., Jan. 2016.
OpenAirInterface: A Flexible Platform for 5G Research
  • N Nikaein
  • M K Marina
  • S Manickam
  • A Dawson
  • R Knopp
  • C Bonnet
N. Nikaein, M. K. Marina, S. Manickam, A. Dawson, R. Knopp, and C. Bonnet, "OpenAirInterface: A Flexible Platform for 5G Research," ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 33-38, Oct. 2014.
RadioVisor: A Slicing Plane for Radio Access Network
  • A Gudipati
  • L E Li
  • S Katti
A. Gudipati, L. E. Li, and S. Katti, "RadioVisor: A Slicing Plane for Radio Access Network," in Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Hot Topics in Software Defined Networking, ser. HotSDN '14. ACM, 2014, pp. 237-238.
OpenRAN: A Software-defined Ran Architecture via Virtualization
  • M Yang
  • Y Li
  • D Jin
  • L Su
  • S Ma
  • L Zeng
M. Yang, Y. Li, D. Jin, L. Su, S. Ma, and L. Zeng, "OpenRAN: A Software-defined Ran Architecture via Virtualization," ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 549-550, Aug. 2013.