Software-defined networks and the virtualization of network functions are at the heart of a new scientific research project that aims to achieve high performance and dynamic processing in 5G networks.
IMDEA Networks and TELCARIA are launching a project to harness the transformative potential of the network architecture currently enabled by the virtualization of network functions (NFV – Network Functions Virtualization) to the potential of networks defined by software (SDN – Software Defined Networking). Both technologies have matured greatly in the last decade and are set to play a leading role in future 5G networks.
If they are to be able to meet the demands of 5G, the networks of the future face great challenges such as the exponential growth in the flow of data flow and the number of connected devices and terminals, as well as the need to drastically reduce latency and operating costs, whilst delivering high reliability and security.
Software-defined networking (SDN) technology is an approach to cloud computing that facilitates network management and enables programmatically efficient network configuration in order to improve network performance and monitoring. SDN is meant to address the fact that the static architecture of traditional networks is decentralized and complex while current networks require more flexibility and easy troubleshooting. SDN suggests to centralize network intelligence in one network component by disassociating the forwarding process of network packets (data plane) from the routing process (control plane). The control plane consists of one or more controllers which are considered as the brain of SDN network where the whole intelligence is incorporated. However, the intelligence centralization has its own drawbacks when it comes to security, scalability and elasticity and this is the main issue of SDN.
SDN networks and virtualization techniques enable strategic and centralized network management, protecting the network and maintaining a stable flow of information, as they allow traffic incidents to be solved instantly.
Currently, there is tremendous demand for business services based on the cloud, but an upgraded network architecture is needed, one which provides faster access to heterogeneous applications and guarantees the security of the services provided, as well as their scalability and storage. One example of what virtualized SDN networks in the cloud can achieve would be the creation of a virtual channel in an existing network, which allows an Internet provider to offer a guaranteed high-speed connection without the need to enable or create a new physical connection.
This dynamic processing in 5G networks research has been selected in the last call for aid from the Ministry of Education and Innovation of the Region of Madrid for the recruitment of young researchers to carry out industrial doctoral projects simultaneously in companies and in assigned research centers. This regional initiative successfully combines the efforts of scientific research and the ICT industry in a project that aims to lead innovation and evolution of current networks in order to adapt to the demands of 5G. It is also expected to support new business models in the region.
The funded thesis is called Software and Virtualization Techniques for Improving Performance and Scalability in the Integration of SDN and Cloud-based Network Services in 5G Technologies and will be completed in 2021.