& cplSiteName &

ONF Group to Explore SDN in LTE

Sarah Thomas
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        ADD A COMMENT
Sarah Thomas
100%
0%
Sarah Thomas,
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.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
LRTV Interviews
Colt Sales Exec on Services Trends

7|4|17   |   12:59   |   (0) comments


Colt's sales director for enterprise, James Kershaw, sheds some light on the services currently in demand and how network upgrades are influencing customer demand.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Mobile to Power Online Video Consumption – Zenith
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/19/2017
Can Mushroom Sprout in Crowded SD-WAN Field?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/18/2017
AI Will Be Ubiquitous in 2020 but Overhyped in 2017 – Gartner
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 7/18/2017
Facing the Facebook Video Threat
Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer, Amdocs, 7/17/2017
Brocade, Broadcom Merger in Doubt
Iain Morris, News Editor, 7/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Fuzzy Quick Fix Click Here
If you can't access it, is it really broken?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.