ESPOO, Finland -- Nokia Networks and Aalto University, Finland, together with Coriant and EXFO, showcase the future of software defined networking (SDN) in mobile backhaul. The parties have developed an ETSI Industry Specification Group for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Proof of Concept, in which a virtualized LTE network applies SDN technology to the entire mobile backhaul, transport and core network*.
The SDN-based virtual LTE network promises greater agility for providing capacity and functionality when and where needed. It will allow operators to introduce new services much faster to the market and adapt network resources quickly to highly variable traffic and usage patterns. Using SDN in mobile backhaul and packet core also increases network economies as hardware can be utilized flexibly for multiple purposes.
The Proof of Concept acts as a platform for extensive experimentation needed to find the best solutions and ensure full compliance with mobile specific requirements. It will help understand the benefits and the business impact of SDN for the on-demand provisioning of new services.
Proof of Concept in short
- In a virtualized mobile LTE network mobile backhaul, transport and packet core are made of standard switches and managed by centralized SDN controllers.
- All control software, including subscriber data and mobility management, runs on generic data centers, maintaining a global view of the network.
- As a result, the LTE base stations remain the only mobile network specific hardware components, while all other functions are tailored to specific mobile functions by software only.
Jose Costa-Requena, Research Manager, Department of Communication and Networking at the Aalto University, said: "The researchers working on this revolutionary project envision both optimizing the mobile transport network by using SDN and running mobile backhaul, transport and core entirely in the telco cloud. The future of networking is about simplicity, automation and agility of the network to best serve business and subscriber needs."
Lauri Oksanen, Vice President, Research and Technology, Nokia Networks, said: "At Mobile World Congress 2014, Nokia Networks showed virtualized evolved packet core with SDN. This Proof of Concept extends it to mobile backhaul. It is one of our FutureWorks** research projects and demonstrates how SDN can be deployed to control the user data path throughout the mobile LTE network. We can experiment on how centralized SDN control intelligence and cloud computing can be applied to the network going forward."
The Proof of Concept is built on a Nokia LTE emulator that was realized by implementing a virtual evolved packet core (EPC) with SDN technology, an LTE base station and terminals. Aalto University integrated the virtualized LTE network components. Coriant, a global supplier of SDN-enabled end-to-end transport solutions, provided carrier grade SDN switches. EXFO, a global provider of test, measurement, and service assurance solutions, provided probes for measurement and analysis.