Mobile Networks Virtualization


The mobile networks are traditionally made of network elements. Each element has a specific role in the network defined by well-defined interfaces e.g. Base Transceiver Station, Mobile Switching Center, Home Location Register and comprises software executing on dedicated hardware. With the emergence of powerful generic microprocessors and the momentum of open software movement this traditional mobile network construction is on the way to be discarded. Indeed, the mobile network is more and more softwareized and network elements are gradually replaced by virtual Network Functions (vNF), which can be hosted in the cloud.

The virtualization of the mobile network will definitely bring several advantages such as flexibility, scalability, increased robustness, etc. However, there is so far not much knowledge about performance, latency, management, etc. Secure 5G4IoT Lab focuses on shedding light on these issues through the establishment of virtualized 5G mobile network using open source software and software radio.

The Research Questions:

  • Is it feasible to build an earlier 5G mobile network using open source 4G communication software?
  • Are generic computer sufficiently powerful to host vNF?
  • Is it feasible to build eNodeB using Universal Sofware Radio Peripheral?
  • How scalable is the 5G network base don open source software?

The Research Approach:

To find the answers to the research questions efforts have been successively put into the following tasks:

  1. Implementation of a small lab 4G LTE mobile network using OpenAirInterface (OAI)
  2. Virtualization of the 4G LTE mobile network
  3. Cloudification of the 4G LTE mobile network to obtain an earlier lab 5G mobile network
  4. Experiments on different network configurations