Tutorial 4

Tutorial 42023-05-09T11:43:25+00:00

Unravelling the potential of softwarized/programmable networks – From theory to practice

Tuesday, 6 June 2023, 9:00-10:30/11:00-12:30, Room G2
  • Johann M. Marquez-Barja (IMEC & University of Antwerp, IDLab-Faculty of Applied Engineering, BE)
  • Nina Slamnik-Kriještorac (IMEC & University of Antwerp, IDLab-Faculty of Applied Engineering, BE)
  • Vincent Charpentie (IMEC & University of Antwerp, IDLab-Faculty of Applied Engineering, BE)

Motivation and Context

Along with the evolution of applications and services, networks have evolved in order to support such new applications and services. Nowadays, networks are not any more traditionally designed, built, and managed. Current networks, such as 5G and Beyond networks, rely on softwarized solutions to dynamically orchestrate and manage the different resources involved in the network from networking to computing components. Such softwarized solutions results from the combination of different technologies (SDR, SDN, NFV) and techniques (sharing, scheduling, virtualization) applied at different levels/segments of the end-to-end networks, i.e., RAN, MEC, Core, Cloud. While having to deal with such a plethora of solutions, traditional human-managed networks are not able to cope with the dynamics of such new networks, therefore automation comes into play. In order to automatize network management, we need to improve the network management lifecycle steps i.e., orchestration, control, and monitoring. Within this tutorial, we will discuss the evolution of network programmability and how such programmable capabilities enable flexible networks able to provide tailored connectivity/services to the different verticals. We will start with the basic background on programmability and network softwarization moving towards the state-of-the-art and beyond technologies and techniques that provide networks flexible capabilities to new-generation networks and innovative use cases. Furthermore, we will complement the theory with practice and demos on how to set
up the different software-based toolkits in order to orchestrate (decision-making), control (configure/re-configure the network), and monitor (verify the service) a programmable network remotely deployed in the high-performance distributed cloud, MEC, SmartCity, and Smart Highway testbeds located in different locations of Belgium, and the 5G testbed built in the scope of the VITAL-5G project and the Antwerp trial site for transport & logistics use cases.

Structure and Content

The proposed tutorial will take half a day (3 hours). The tentative outline is presented below.

Part A – Theory (90 min; led by J. M. Marquez-Barja):

  • Introduction of general terms and concepts: network softwarization, programmable networks, goal of flexible networking.
  • Timeline of programmability: How did we get here?
  • Definition of Micro and Macro programmability: Examples of Micro and Macro programmability and use cases.
  • Principles of Sharing network resources: The startingpoint.
  • Principles of Virtualization: What can we achieve?
  • Network softwarization: Challenges and benefits.
  • Life-cycle management: Orchestration, Control, and Monitoring.
  • High Performance Testbeds: Real-life experimentation with softwarized networks.

Coffee Break (15 min)

Part B – Practice: 5G Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) for Vehicular Communications (V2X) and Transport & Logistics (T&L) (75 min; led by V. Charpentier and N. Slamnik-Kriještorac)
In this section, we cover the following topics:

  • Vehicular MEC: We introduce the concepts of MEC and V2X, and position them inside the broad and heterogeneous 5G ecosystem. The benefits of combining these two concepts in 5G and beyond are discussed, reflecting on the specific use cases that will be enhanced by bringing V2X services closer to the vehicles and other traffic participants.
  • 5G and MEC for T&L sector: In this part of tutorial, we showcase the experimentation facility that has been built in the scope of the VITAL-5G project, which consists of the trial site for 5G-assisted vessel navigation in Port of Antwerp area, and the 5G testbed. In addition, we present the Edge Network Application framework that facilitates the creation of vertical services in 5G and beyond ecosystems.
  • What can we get from the management and orchestration systems?: Here we discuss the challenges in some of the emerging V2X and T&L use cases (e.g., emergency situation awareness, cooperative lane merge, assisted vessel navigation), and how they can be mitigated by applying management and orchestration techniques.
  • V2X service for public safety in emergency situations: A high-level overview of the system architecture is presented, including the details on service operation, and hints on how this type of service can be managed and orchestrated in distributed MEC environments.
  • Software for orchestration: We make an overview of the most frequently utilized software frameworks for management and orchestration, focusing on Kubernetes, as well as cloud-native design of services using Docker. We demonstrate the VITAL-5G platform with all full set of software toolkits that can be used for Network Application creation and deployment, and 5G network slice performance monitoring.
  • Building a Proof-of-Concept on the testbeds: We describeso me useful practices that we adopted to build a proof-of-concept for testing and validating the impact of management and orchestration on the V2X and T&L service performance, while utilizing the real-life testbeds such as Smart Highway and Smart City in Antwerp, and Virtual Wall in Ghent, Belgium.

The content and material of this tutorial is solidly backed by years of experience of the Flexible Networking Group at IDLab imec-UAntwerp led by Prof. Marquez-Barja. The referenced papers provide both the background and the practice for this tutorial, transitioning from techniques to share network resources for 5G to orchestrating services at the MEC to fulfill critical services for emergency vehicles.

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