& 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.
Light Readingís Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
LIVE NOW!
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (1) comment


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
LRTV Custom TV
Drivers & Potential of NGP

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


ETSI has created an Industry Specification Group to work on Next Generation Protocols (NGP ISG), looking at evolving communications and networking protocols to provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century. The NGP ISG will identify the requirements for next generation protocols and network ...
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei IP 2020 for Future Networks

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Future Networks should satisfy many requirements such as high throughput, extremely low latency, flexible mobility, intrinsic security, networking automation, and so forth. The Chief Architect of Huawei Future Networks addresses a holistic solution, i.e., IP 2020, to achieve these requirements for various future life scenarios (e.g., autonomous driving, tactile ...
LRTV Custom TV
Digital Object Architecture

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Digital Object Architecture provides a basic information infrastructure that can facilitate interoperability between or among different systems, processes, and other information resources, including different identity management systems. Digital objects are networked objects that are named by digital object identifiers and instantiated by an infrastructure service ...
LRTV Custom TV
BT's Openreach Has High Hopes for Long-Reach VDSL

11|11|16   |   06:04   |   (0) comments


Peter Bell, Network Portfolio CIO at BT's access business Openreach, talks about the operator's trial of a new broadband access technology called Long Reach VDSL.
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
AT&T Debuts DirecTV Now on New Video Platform
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 11/28/2016
Apple Seeds 5G? Seeks 'Multi-Gigabit' Chip Designer
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Samsung Bows to Investors, Considers Revamp
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/29/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.