IEEE Softwarization - December 2017
A collection of short technical articles

Dear Readers,

We are really proud to present you our latest Special Edition on Network Slicing!
This special edition will appear as a two-part series published in December 2017 and January 2018, gathering a set of 15 articles and providing a comprehensive overview of the multiple facets of network slicing.
The December issue (Part I) discusses a wide range of topics such as current standardization activities in 3GPP and ETSI, opportunities and challenges for operators, lessons learned from lab experimentations, and application to a Vehicular-to-Anything use case.
The objective was to collect insights on the maturity of Network Slicing developments from a wide range of actors across industry and academic, with operators, vendors and researchers. While this hot topic is being studied, prototyped and standardized, it remains a complex technical and business concept with still many challenges as illustrated in these articles.

We wish you a happy reading and stay tuned for the January edition!

Best regards, Marie-Paule (Special Edition Guest Editor) and Laurent (Editor in Chief).

Overview of ETSI NFV Network Slicing Report: Network Slicing Support with ETSI NFV Architectural Framework

By Tetsuya Nakamura, CableLabs, U.S.A.

Network slicing has been defined by multiple Standards Definition Organizations (SDOs) and fora. However, the meaning and understanding of the network slicing concept are different from each other and there is no common definition. The ETSI NFV Network Slicing report does not define additional network slicing use cases or features but analyses use cases related to network slicing as defined in other SDOs and industry fora. Furthermore, the report describes how these use cases could be mapped to the current NFV concepts and supported by the ETSI NFV architectural framework and by NFV-MANO. This article is aim to introduce a brief overview of the report.

Slicing and Orchestration in Service-Oriented RAN Architecture

By Navid Nikaein and Chia-Yu Chang, Communication Systems Department, EURECOM, France

Radio access network (RAN) slicing is one of the key enablers to realize the service-oriented 5G vision and deliver RAN-as-a-service. To dynamically manage and orchestrate diverse slices, a multi-service execution environment is required to enable on-the-fly virtualization of RANs on the top of the same physical RAN infrastructure, each customized and programmed as per slice requirements. The underlying RAN infrastructure can be either monolithic or disaggregated, where RAN is decomposed into radio unit (RU), distributed unit (DU) and centralized unit (CU) with flexible functional split among them. Such disaggregation provides the capability to abstract resources, states and function modules in order to be reusable and composable across slices, while retaining the centralization benefits for coordinated and cooperative processing. With abstraction, different levels of isolation and sharing among resource and state can be provided. Additionally, slice functions can be customized in terms of user-plane (UP) and control-plane (CP) processing to reflect slice-specific requirements with the access to a portion of resources and states in a virtualized form.

Radio Slicing

By Qian (Clara) Li, Geng Wu, Apostolos (Tolis) Papathanassiou, and Udayan Mukherjee, Intel Corporation, USA

Generally speaking, slicing techniques create self-contained logical systems from a common pool of physical resources (including computing, communication, storage, etc.). It is enabled by virtualization techniques and advances in computation and communication capabilities. Examples of slicing include vertical network slicing for different services/applications or groups of users, and horizontal edge computing slicing for computing offloading to augment device capability.

NTT DOCOMO’s 5G Experimentations and Trials on Network Slicing

By Ashiq Khan, Takuya Shimojo, Anass Benjebbour, and Shigeru Iwashina, Research Laboratories, NTT DOCOMO, INC.

With the availability of component technologies and the progress made in standardization, DOCOMO is progressing well towards its target of 5G commercial roll out in 2020, coinciding with the Tokyo Olympics. DOCOMO itself has enormously contributed to the development of the component technologies and standards for 5G. Many such innovations and consequent specifications come from the extensive experimentation and trials carried out by DOCOMO R&D. Where the Radio Access Network (RAN) trials are focusing on meeting stringent 5G requirements, the core network and its operation is focusing on network slicing. This article presents an overview of DOCOMO’s 5G-related experiments and trials, focusing on 5G mobile core network, and the automation of network operation in the 5G era and beyond.

End-to-End Network Slicing: Opportunities and Challenges for Operators – a View from BT

By Andy Corston-Petrie, Principal Researcher, Converged Networks Research Lab, BT TSO

For more than a year, BT has been actively researching Network Slicing as a key capability within the 5G landscape. We set out by identifying the key research questions to explore, and have previously identified a number of strategic priorities for operators, spanning technical, commercial and operational domains. In this article, we will describe what we believe those strategic priorities are, with a special emphasis on the challenges and opportunities around end to end network slicing across multiple domains, technologies and vendors.

This article aims to give an update on BT Research’s activities on Network Slicing, and the challenges and opportunities that we have identified.

V2X and Network Slicing

By Marie-Paule Odini, HPE Distinguished Technologist

This article will explore V2X – Vehicle to Everything – leverage of Network Slicing and more specifically 5G Network Slicing, going into architecture and use cases.

With more and more vehicles on the roads, over one billion cars today but also trucks, trains and other motorized vehicles two main drivers are defining how this industry is moving to V2X, Vehicle to Everything communication: one is regulation, mainly to reduce casualties on the road; the other is user experience which ranges from enhancing driving experience for those who will still want to drive, to session continuity between home, work environment and driving. Many other use cases and value propositions address other segments: transportation industry, city management teams, road management teams, electric grid companies, operators that manage communication networks etc.

Network Slicing and 3GPP Service and Systems Aspects (SA) Standard

By Tony Saboorian and Amanda Xiang, Huawei

Network slicing is an important capability to bring network resource utilization efficiency, deployment flexibility and support fast growing over the top (OTT) application and services. 3GPP is considering network slicing as one of the key features of 5G. It is spending significant effort to develop comprehensive network slice related standards in various working groups, particularly SA1 (service requirements), SA2 (architecture), SA3 (security) and SA5 (network management). This article gives an overview of current 3GPP Service and Systems Aspects (SA) standard status for the development of mobile network slicing for 3GPP Release 15 whose target completion date is June 2018.



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IEEE Softwarization Editorial Board

Laurent Ciavaglia, Editor-in-Chief
Mohamed Faten Zhani, Managing Editor
TBD, Deputy Managing Editor
Syed Hassan Ahmed
Dr. J. Amudhavel
Francesco Benedetto
Korhan Cengiz
Noel Crespi
Neil Davies
Eliezer Dekel
Eileen Healy
Chris Hrivnak
Atta ur Rehman Khan
Marie-Paule Odini
Shashikant Patil
Kostas Pentikousis
Luca Prete
Muhammad Maaz Rehan
Mubashir Rehmani
Stefano Salsano
Elio Salvadori
Nadir Shah
Alexandros Stavdas
Jose Verger