Light Reading
Huawei's Dr. Serge Manning, appointed chair of the new Wireless and Mobile Working Group, focused on exploring how SDN can be used in mobile networks.

ONF Group to Explore SDN in LTE

Sarah Reedy
1/21/2014
50%
50%

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is formally launching a new working group to focus on how to use software-defined networking (SDN) in mobile networks, but it's actually been a long time in the making.

The nearly three year-old non-profit, formed to promote the use of the OpenFlow protocol, announced the Wireless and Mobile Working Group on Tuesday, along with the appointment of Dr. Serge Manning, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 's senior manager for corporate standards, as chair of the new group. The group, one of twelve in the Open Networking Foundation , was created to study use cases and the architectural and protocol requirements needed to extend OpenFlow to the wireless domain. (See SDN's Northbound Ascent and ONF Completes Latest OpenFlow PlugFest.)

The wireless group actually began meeting a year ago as a discussion group after Manning co-authored a solution brief, "OpenFlow Enabled Mobile and Wireless Networks," a 55-page document he trimmed down to 10 pages for easier reading. It became an official charter of the ONF in the fall, and Manning was approved as the chairman this month.

The group's goal is to build a common-ground architectural framework for applying OpenFlow technologies to mobile networks so that they can keep up with the demands operators face. Manning says SDN in mobile networks hasn't been studied extensively to date, but he anticipates the use cases, like the motivators -- exploding traffic volumes, the need for new services, and greater network complexity -- will be quite similar to fixed-line networks.

"Our goal is to use SDN and OpenFlow to make [wireless networks] dynamic and adaptable to apps, and bring the same advantages of fixed over to cellular," he says. "Most will work, but some areas, like how you identify flow in EPC [evolved packet core], may need additional parameters to make it work efficiently."

Manning said the group has had use cases coming from all directions, but it's starting with a focus on three areas: the mobile packet core, wireless backhaul, and integrated fixed/wireless operation in the enterprise. These use cases are finished, he says, and will be made public soon.

"This year, we're looking at architectural and protocol requirements with OpenFlow to see where we need to do enhancements," he says. "We're trying to explore specific ways SDN and OpenFlow can be used."

That's easiest to do in the EPC because 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards have already identified a control-signaling plane separate from the data plane. But, Manning says, the gateways in place are combined. The ONF wants to see if it can use OpenFlow to distribute them out to the edge while keeping the control plane and 3GPP interfaces the same.

"Our customers, operators, have a lot invested in 3GPP," he says. "How can we add SDN into cellular and make it better?"

A selling point in the early days of SDN is the fact that operators can be aggressive as they want -- applying SDN technologies to part of the network or the whole thing. Manning said doing just an experimental portion, such as only small cells, or only one geography, will simply mean that segment performs better, but still ties in with billing and back-office promises. When the operator is ready to go fully programmable, it'll be an easy migration path.

With all their growth and the deployment of new LTE network, mobile operators have more greenfield opportunities than their fixed-line colleagues, and the greenfield opportunity is always the ideal time to try something new to leapfrog what's been done in the past, adds ONF Executive Director Dan Pitt. "But if we waited for greenfield, it'd be a long road," he adds. "With a technology as disruptive as this one, they can get started and then gradually migrate traffic."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SarahReedy
100%
0%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
1/21/2014 | 11:17:14 AM
Re: Just wondering
The ONF does say their goal is to keep the controller the same. I think it's interesting that the market is so similar to fixed networks. I would think the challenges owing to backhaul and HetNets would be a lot more accute in wireless networks. Luckily, the benefits are the same too though.
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
1/21/2014 | 10:56:55 AM
Re: Just wondering
There is so much growth on the mobile networks side of things that this was inevitable. And it may mean changes for the controller. But I think this move allows the segment of the network driving the most growth to also have a bigger voice in how SDN evolves. 
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/21/2014 | 10:25:29 AM
Just wondering
Does this mean that we might be looking at an OpenFlow optimized for mobile? And should that happen it would then, I would think, also impact the controller market.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive