"Virtualization and Softwarization in 5G Systems"
5G cellular networks are expected to support an unprecedented step forward in terms of capacity and flexibility. Indeed, requirements for higher throughput, massive access, ultra-low latency and adaptability are strongly steering the attention from the traditional 4G/LTE architecture to more flexible and adaptable solutions. At the same time, in fact, virtualization and softwarization paradigms are gaining momentum, driven by the capability to improve network scalability and flexibility as well as resource allocation offered by Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV).
The seminar is aimed at describing how such virtualization and softwarization paradigms are expected to shape the architecture and improve the functionalities of 5G systems.
To achieve such goal, the seminar will first introduce the concepts of virtualization and softwarization applied to services and networks, thus defining SDN and NFV and reviewing the related architectures, protocols and standards (e.g. OpenFlow, OpenNFV).
The seminar will then briefly illustrate the 4G/LTE architecture and nomenclature, that will be later used as a reference for the evolution towards 5G and analyze the corresponding requirements, that can be linked to three major service groups: eXtended Mobile Broad Band access (xMBB), Ultra-reliable Machine Type Communications (uMTC) and Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC).
As it is clear that a single architecture won?t be able to efficiently handle such three emerging forms of communications, the presentation will address the issue of increasing adaptability, flexibility and control through softwarization and virtualization technologies. This will lead to the definition of two major evolutionary paths towards 5G: the Cloud RAN and the network slicing paradigms.
In the Cloud Radio Access Network (RAN), baseband functions of the cellular network are (partially and completely) moved deeper in the network in more centralized locations, and hosted on general-purpose server hardware using virtualization technologies. This allows easier reconfiguration and higher degrees of freedom in resource allocation.
Network slicing applies effective resource (communication, processing, storage) softwarization techniques in order to partition a section or the whole end-to-end path into separate slices that can be isolated and separately managed. Thus, it'll represent a key solution to support the diversity of application requirements and the emerging concept of multi-tenancy network sharing.
The audience will learn the novel paradigms illustrated above through visual diagrams / sample scenarios as well as through practical prototypes implemented by the presenter and his research group.