When Clouds meet 6G: the academic, industrial and standard perspective

Tuesday, 18 June 2019, 14:00-18:00, room R4
  • Emilio Calvanese Strinati (CEA-LETI MINATEC, France)
  • Vincenzo Sciancalepore (NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH, Germany)

Motivation and Context

In 2020 the 5G Networks are expected to be operational and a global game changer from a technological, economic, societal and environmental perspective with very aggressive promised performance in terms of latency, reliability, energy efficiency, wireless broadband capacity, elasticity, and so on.
Nevertheless, experts claim that the next big step for cellular (and, generally speaking, wireless) networks is not the 5G realization but its next cloudification.
Virtualization and cloudification (or commonly dubbed as cloud computing) are often used interchangeably but they represent different concepts while involving a number of different technical challenges. Virtualization was introduced to consolidate physical servers running heterogeneous applications onto fewer (computing nodes) servers by placing the applications on so-called virtual machines (VMs) in a “hypervised” environment. This was the incipit for the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) paradigm to find a solid basis in communication networks supported by industry initiatives that aimed at saving CAPEX and OPEX while still claiming deployment flexibility and service agility. This brought up in the last years the network slicing concept that has completely revolutionized the networking perspective by abstracting and separating logical network behaviours from the underlying physical network resources thereby significantly impacting on the reduction of the operations expenditures which, in turn, drives the network operators to foster the programmability and automation of network facilities as well as to enable the evolution of a wider range of business services.
Conversely, Cloud computing refers to the delivery of shared on-demand computing resources through the public cloud (e.g., internet) or enterprise private cloud networks. This calls into question the need of cloudification, which translates into i) deploying communications software that has been rewritten and specifically designed for cloud environments, ii) enabling (low-latency) communication paths between cloud environments and iii) adding more flexibility and dynamicity (high reactiveness) on the orchestration process to successfully deliver agile services.
This tutorial focuses on the evolutionary flow of the network virtualization concept through several standard definition activities in the last decade. In particular, we shed light on the Network Function Virtualization pillars and the main difference with the upcoming cloudification phenomena of 5G-andbeyond networks. We analyse the state-of-the-art solutions proposed to realize the first example of cloudification, highlighting the main limitations of the current solutions and the real potentiality of advanced upcoming approaches. We present the interdependencies between 5G KPIs, 5G key enabling technologies and the three levels of cloud: Fog, Mobile Edge Cloud and the Central Cloud. In particular, for the Mobile Edge Cloud, we also provide the audience with a solid background and comprehensive description of the last 5 / 12
achievements of the ETSI MEC ISG group in terms of cloud computing features and interface descriptions. Finally, we point out the future research directions to embrace new open-source function/resource allocation procedures highlighting the viewpoint of few up-and-running H2020 projects.


Structure and Content

The tutorial is organized in three main parts that are described as follows.

Introduction. The tutorial will provide a brief introduction of the problem of vertical-oriented orchestration design of 5G networks, motivating its relevance for future wireless communications. 5G networks are expected to provide great support to the operation and management of 5G end-to-end heterogeneous facilities enabling advanced 5G services development, easier, safer and more secure testing and verification from an operational and financial point of view. In addition, the orchestration solution will orchestrate different heterogeneous 5G network facilities able to provide highly available services, to support multi-tenancy, to manage homogeneously virtualized multi-homed, static or moving, hardware constrained (smart energy, media and transport) devices, to integrate multiple RAN technologies, to manage edge computing resources and to manage virtualized services in an elastic way for the needs of media, smart city and energy vertical scenarios.
This part of the tutorial will describe the virtualization issues of Smart Energy, Virtual & Augment Reality (VAR) and Smart City use cases, covering Enhanced (or Extreme) Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC) and Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) as defined by 5GPPP and ITU. These evolving networking requirements raise critical challenges that urge for 5G physical networks (ranging from RAN to Core Network and slicing requirements [1]) along with 5G softwarization, virtualization and Management and Network Orchestration (MANO) requirements, which in turn, can be translated as facilities requirements for i) multi-tenancy that considers the ability to be open, avoid vendors’ lock-in strategies, combine resources from different operators and offer connectivity services to multiple tenants, ii) flexibility, multi-domain and easy-to-use nature in order to dynamically configure the infrastructure in time and space to accommodate innovative foreseen and unforeseen 5G vertical services, iii) high availability to support via network slicing mission critical applications in the area of energy and city transportation.


Network   Virtualization   and      Programmability.Network virtualization has led to significant benefits in terms of business support, service innovation, infrastructure and operational cost reduction but at the same time, it has brought significant technical challenges. The network virtualization paradigm revolutionizes networking and service experience, by abstracting and separating logical network behaviours from the underlying physical network resources. This significantly impacts on the reduction of the capital and operations expenditures, while also driving programmability and automation of  network  facilities  in order  to enable  a   broad range of business services. Network virtualization elevates  the traditional monolithic network design into a flexible “network of functions” following the virtual network function paradigm raising several technical challenges.
In this part of the tutorial, we will focus on the pivotal aspect of the network virtualization, i.e., the newly evolved concept of network slicing [2] that paves the road towards an automatic and flexible solution in charge of allocating a specific amount of isolated and/or shared network resources, tailored for particular vertical-oriented service requirements [3]. Network resources are meant as computing and storage capacity, virtualized network functions, physical radio resources, core network functions and backhaul/backbone connectivity. The technical challenges also stretch on the entire lifecycle process, including network slice instantiation and maintenance [4], orchestration and allocation of shared and isolated resources [5], including also communication interfaces amongst different network slices. Finally, we will analyse the implementation details of first network slicing proof-of-concept (PoC) by shedding the light on advantages and drawbacks of implementing such a novel concept on 3GPP-compliant equipment [6].


Network Optimization. This part of the tutorial addresses the issue of network optimization. Specifically, the tutorial will show how to design cloud and edge resources in order to optimize key performance indicators of 5G-beyond networks, including spectral efficiency, energy efficiency, end-to-end latency, etc, while at the same time guaranteeing the desired quality of service of different vertical services sharing the same physical resources, which in turn translates into the desired quality-of-experience for the network end-users. The resulting problems are highly non-convex and require specific optimization approaches beyond the traditional convex optimization framework. We will introduce the 5GMiEdge case with a novel mathematical framework that enables the best trade-off between global performance and computational complexity, while at the same time guaranteeing the individual performance of co-existing vertical sectors.
This part of the tutorial provides the audience with a solid background on the above-mentioned optimization frameworks, enabling the audience to formulate and solve practical optimization problems for 6G network design. Both centralized and distributed designs will be developed, discussing the resulting complexity-performance trade-off.

The tutorial ends with an open discussion of the latest research directions and open issues that in our opinion represent the most important challenges that need to be addressed and solved, aiming towards the successful design of 5G-beyond networks.

    1. Intro/Motivation  5G Vision (NGMN, ITU-T, 3GPP)
      • Assessed and Future Network Performance
      • 5G feature advancements (Architecture description)
    2. Use Cases & Business Requirements: is Cloudification needed?
      1. Use Cases
        • mIoT scenarios (eHealth, home services, smart cities, automation, etc.)
        • C2X / V2X (high speed mobile networks, safety, autonomous driving, etc.)
        • Critical communications (disaster scenarios, drones, emergency, etc.)
        • Industry 4.0 (tactile Internet, delay sensitive – interactive communications, etc.)
        • Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (low latency high capacity, interactive streaming, gaming, etc.)
        • Enhanced Mobile Broadband (broadband on the move and everywhere, dense urban scenarios, etc.)
      2. Performance Requirements
        • Analysis of SLA, e.g. latency, jitter and throughput, etc. requirements, for eMBB, URLLC and mIoT
        • Analysis of low latency support with respect to critical services
        • Analysis of isolation, security and privacy requirements
      3. Business Requirements
        • New marker players: Verticals, service/application providers, virtual operators, service brokers, etc.
        • Business enablers (analysis of relation among the different players of the 5G ecosystem)
    3. Virtualization Technologies
      1. Virtualization Concepts
        • Virtual Machines/Dockers
        • Concept of Hypervisor
      2. Network Function Virtualization (NFV)
        • NFV concepts and MANO architecture
        • NFV vs SDN (complementarity)
      3. Network Slicing
        • RAN slicing
        • Orchestration solutions
        • Slicing computing resources
    4. 5G Cloudification
      1. The 5G Enablers for Network Cloudification
      2. Network Function Cloudification and Software Defined Networking: from 4G to 5G
      3. The Cloudification of 5G: from central-RAN to mobile edge cloud. Details examples of convex optimization tools and millimeter wave spectrum use: the 5GMiEdge
      4. Technical Enablers of the Beyond 5G from Cloudification to network automation
    5. ETSI MEC ISG perspective
      1. General concepts and architecture
      2. Capabilities and APIs
      3. Bump-in-the-wire
      4. Distributed EPC
    6. Conclusive Remarks
      1. Summary of virtualization technologies and cloudification enablers
      2. Lessons learned – using and realizing 5G cloudification: limitations and migration

Open research challenges on ‘5G and beyond’ Cloudification

Emilio Calvanese Strinati

Dr. Emilio Calvanese Strinati obtained his Engineering Master degree in 2001 from the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ and his Ph.D in Engineering Science in 2005. In 2006 he joint CEA/LETI. From 2010 to 2012, Dr. Calvanese Strinati has been the co-chair of the wireless working group in GreenTouch Initiative which deals with design of future energy efficient communication networks. From 2011 to 2016 he was the Smart Devices & Telecommunications European collaborative strategic programs Director. Since December 2016 he is the Smart Devices & Telecommunications Scientific and Innovation Director. In December 2013 he has been elected as one of the five representative of academia and research center in the Net!Works 5G PPP ETP. From 2017 to 2018 he was one of the three moderators of the 5G future network expert group. Between 2016 and 2018 he was the coordinator of the H2020 joint Europe and South Korea 5GCHAMPION project. Since July 2018 he is the coordinator of the H2020 joint Europe and South Korea 5G-AllStar project. Since 2018 he holds the French Research Director Habilitation (HDR). E. Calvanese Strinati has published a number of research papers, given more than 100 international invited talks and filed more than 60 patents.

Vincenzo Sciancalepore

Vincenzo Sciancalepore (S11-M15) is a Senior Researcher and RAN specialist at NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH, Germany. He is currently focusing his activity in the area of network virtualization, network slicing and edge computing. He is the standard delegate of NEC actively contributing to the standard ETSI MEC (Multi-Access Edge Computing) ISG. He is currently member of the IEEE Emerging Technologies Standing Committee (ETC) leading the initiatives on Software Defined Networking & Network Function Virtualization as well as in the IEEE Mobile Communication Networks Standards Committee (IEEE MobiNet-SC). He has been involved in a number of European Projects and several published international Research Papers as well as Patents. Currently, he is actively leading a work package in a H2020-fundeed project called 5G-CARMEN that will analyze and deploy 5G technologies along selected stretches of the motorway between Italy, Austria and Germany to improve the mobility of people and goods throughout Europe. He received his M.Sc. degree in Telecommunications Engineering and Telematics Engineering in 2011 and 2012, respectively, whereas in 2015, he received a double Ph.D. degree from Politecnico di Milano and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. He was also the recipient of the national award for the best Ph.D. thesis in the area of communication technologies (Wireless and Networking) issued by GTTI in 2015.