IEEE Communications Magazine - June 2017 - page 104

IEEE Communications Magazine • June 2017
0163-6804/17/$25.00 © 2017 IEEE
Knowing the variety of services and appli-
cations to be supported in the upcoming 5G
systems, the current “one size fits all” network
architecture is no more efficient. Indeed, each
5G service may have different needs in terms of
latency, bandwidth, and reliability, which cannot
be sustained by the same physical network infra-
structure. In this context, network virtualization
represents a viable way to provide a network
slice tailored to each service. Several 5G initia-
tives (from industry and academia) have been
pushing for solutions to enable network slic-
ing in mobile networks, mainly based on SDN,
NFV, and cloud computing as key enablers. The
proposed architectures focus principally on the
process of instantiating and deploying network
slices, while ignoring how they are enforced in
the mobile network. While several techniques
of slicing the network infrastructure exist, slicing
the RAN is still challenging. In this article, we
propose a new framework to enforce network
slices, featuring radio resources abstraction. The
proposed framework is complementary to the
ongoing solutions of network slicing, and fully
compliant with the 3GPP vision. Indeed, our
contributions are twofold: a fully programma-
ble network slicing architecture based on the
3GPP DCN and a flexible RAN (i.e., programma-
ble RAN) to enforce network slicing; a two-level
MAC scheduler to abstract and share the phys-
ical resources among slices. Finally, a proof of
concept on RAN slicing has been developed on
top of OAI to derive key performance results,
focusing on the flexibility and dynamicity of the
proposed architecture to share the RAN resourc-
es among slices.
Network slicing is definitely one of the key
enablers of the upcoming fifth generation (5G)
systems, where the objective is to build a novel
network architecture that should support not only
classical mobile broadband applications and ser-
vices, but also vertical industry (e.g., automotive
systems, smart grid, public safety) and Internet
of Things (IoT) services. Besides human oriented
devices (i.e., smartphones and tablets), 5G sys-
tems will include sensors, actuators, and vehicles,
allowing the support of more than 50 use cases
and scenarios [1].
To enable network slicing in the future
mobile network generation, Third Genera-
2017) groups are building technical specifica-
tions to integrate network slicing in the upcom-
ing 3GPP standards. Other standardization
bodies, like the International Telecommunica-
tion Union Telecommunication Standardization
Sector (ITU-T) through the IMT 2020 group
2017), and the Next Generation Mobile Net-
studying the requirements and architectures
that will enable network slicing in 5G. Mean-
while, many 5G initiatives and projects, such as
the Fifth Generation Public Private Partnership
(5GPPP) (
accessed 7 March
2017) European program, have crossed the
border by including network slicing in their first
outputs. Particularly, a global commitment has
been made to the definition of network slice
categories, wherein each 5G service may fall:
• Extreme mobile broadband (xMBB) type,
which requires both high data rates and low
latency in some areas, and reliable broad-
band access over large areas
• Massive machine-type communication
(mMTC) type, which needs wireless connec-
tivity for massive deployment of devices
• Ultra-reliable and low-latency communica-
tions (uRLLC) or ultra-reliable MTC, which
covers all services requiring ultra-low latency
connections with a certain level of reliability
Stemming from the fact that these three types of
services cannot be sustained by the same physical
infrastructure, agile and programmable network
architecture is envisioned; each service should
have a tailored network instance to satisfy its
requirements. Using software defined networking
(SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV),
and cloud computing will enable building a pro-
grammable and flexible network instance (i.e.,
virtual network) tailored to services’ needs.
So far, most of the devised network architec-
tures [2–5] that enable network slicing is based
on SDN, NFV, and cloud computing. These pro-
posals share the same principle, with some dif-
ference in the way to instantiate and deploy a
Toward Enforcing Network Slicing on RAN:
Flexibility and Resources Abstraction
Adlen Ksentini and Navid Nikaein
5G N
The authors propose
a new framework to
enforce network slices,
featuring radio resources
abstraction. The proposed
framework is complemen-
tary to the ongoing solu-
tions of network slicing,
and fully compliant with
the 3GPP vision.
The authors are with EURECOM Sophia Antipolis.
Digital Object Identifier:
1...,94,95,96,97,98,99,100,101,102,103 105,106,107,108,109,110,111,112,113,114,...228
Powered by FlippingBook