& 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 Reading’s 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.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 14, 1:00PM EDT
What Is Agile?
Kent J. McDonald, Product Owner, Agile Alliance
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 16, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement Agile
Alan Bateman, Director, Agile Transformation
Wednesday, September 21, 1:00PM EDT
What Is DevOps?
Colin Kincaid, CTO, Service Provider, Cisco
Friday, September 23, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement DevOps
,
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.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP Systems' Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


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.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (2) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cisco Developing 'Monica' Digital Assistant
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/22/2016
FirstNet: A Billion-Dollar Boondoggle?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/26/2016
WiCipedia: Should Men Be Included? & Olympians Face Discrimination
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/26/2016
Google Fiber Can't Be Called a Failure
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2016
Google Fiber Downsizing Not Confirmed
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
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.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Bridging the tech skills gap is a major challenge for service providers and suppliers alike today – and the challenge is two-fold when it comes to increasing the number of women in the comms space. Level 3 Communications has made it a priority to overcome both challenges by implementing several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within – in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs. During this radio show, you’ll learn about these programs from Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3, and the best ways to bridge your own skills gap so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you’ll have the chance to ask Mary Beth your questions live on the air.