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Title: Software defined virtualized cloud radio access network (SD-vCRAN) and programmable EPC for 5G
Author: Banik, Pushpanjali
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 5842
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis focuses on proposing a Software Defined Network (SDN) based programmable and capacity optimized backhaul and core network which is critical for 5G network design. Cloud Radio Access networks (CRAN) which is key enabler of 5G networks can address a number of challenges that mobile operators face while trying to support ever-growing end-users' needs towards 5th generation of mobile networks (5G). A novel layered and modular programmable CRAN architecture called Software Defined Virtualised Cloud Radio Access Network (SD-vCRAN) is introduced with Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Network (SDN) capabilities. The SDN-Base Band Unit (BBU) pool is shifted to the programmable core network site, where a centralised SDN controller manages the network servers and virtualised network function entities - Mobile Management Entity (MME), Serving/Packet Data Network Data plane (S/PGW-D), Serving/Packet Data Network Control plane (S/PGW-C), Software Network Defined Baseband Unit (SDN-BBU) and Local controllers (LC) via OpenFlow (OF) protocol. This approach simplifies network operations, improve traffic management, enable system-wide optimisation of Quality of Service (QoS) and network-aware application development. The control plane (excluding the preserved 3GPP standard interfaces: S1-MME, S6a, Gx) managed by the network servers provides load balancing, traffic management and optimisation tools for the data plane. The proposed work starts by reviewing the requirements of 5G networks, followed by discussion on 5G backhaul and core challenge. Then, an overview of CRAN, Evolved Programmable Core (EPC), SDN, NFV and related works. The simulation details of the proposed architecture are discussed along with the challenges faced by adopting SDN and NFV in mobile core. A thorough assessment of the interfaces and protocols that should be conserved or enhanced on both data and control plane is conducted. The result enables an architecture where the SDN-BBU pool shares a single cloud with the programmable EPC and the control plane is migrated from the network elements to a centralized controller, running on a virtual machine in the mobile core. The data and control plane separation removes overlaps and provides better signalling, as well as efficient network functioning to comply with latency demands. The proposed system performance is validated in terms of throughput, datagram loss, and packet delay variation under three scenarios: 1. single policy installation, 2. multiple policy installation and 3. load balancing. The load balancing performance of proposed system is validated comparing the performance of two different SDN controllers: Floodlight and OpenDaylight, where the later performs better in terms of throughput (no bandwidth restriction), packet loss (below 0.3%) and jitter (below 0.2ms). Furthermore, a detailed comparison of two SDN controller's - Floodlight and OpenDaylight performances is presented, which shows that OpenDaylight performs better only for less dense networks which needs less processing of messages without being blocked, and the Floodlight performs better in ultra-dense network. Some directions and preliminary thoughts for future work and necessary information to operators for building their roadmap to the upcoming technologies is presented.
Supervisor: Al-Raweshidy, H. ; Nilavalan, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cloud radio access radio ; Software defined network ; Network function virtualization ; Cloud HetNets ; Mobile core network programmability