NIRVANA:iNtellIgent, heteRogeneous VirtuAlised Networking infrAstructure

Lead Research Organisation: University of Kent
Department Name: Sch of Engineering & Digital Arts

Abstract

The Internet is expanding towards mobile wireless connectivity rapidly. However, to enable this for increasing numbers of users and connected devices, and increasingly bandwidth-, processing power- and energy-hungry applications, will require a transformation in the way in which current mobile and wireless networks perform. Shorter wireless distances (small cells, picocells, femtocells) and different network types for the connection (WiFi, 3G, 4G, 5G) depending on the availability and suitability for different applications, is a process that is already happening and expected to continue. This will manifest itself with simpler remote radio heads providing coverage in otherwise difficult to penetrate locations (and the main processing functions gathered together in a centralised pool of base station baseband units), and with the appearance of new wireless standards. NIRVANA takes this evolution and proposes a transformative step: the incorporation of fast, hardware-based, network monitoring, and intelligence (using the monitoring/gathered information) close to the pool of base stations. The proximity of the intelligence enables low-overhead control of a range of operational functions, which allow users to be moved from one connection type to another, according to their application and the load on the network, and to match the network's resources precisely to user needs. It allows energy efficiency to be optimised throughout the network and in the mobile device, too. The latter is augmented by locating the computing resources for a "mobile cloud" near the base station pool. Some processing is offloaded to the mobile cloud instead of being done on the mobile, and even some mobile-to- mobile communication may be done within this cloud - saving the mobile device (and the network) energy that would have been used in radio transmissions. Finally, among the new wireless connection types to be investigated, millimetre-wave communications, using the most up-to-date releases of the wireless local area network standard (802.11ad/j), will be fashioned into a device-to-device mesh network, for mobile distributed caching, which will be shown to further enhance the capacity of the network and its energy efficiency.

Planned Impact

NIRVANA offers a paradigm shift for the future mobile Internet by combining network intelligence acquisition with state-of- the-art data throughputs. This will have general societal and economic impact as people gain improved access wherever they are. Any geographic area/locale where large numbers of people or vehicles interact, including hospitals, campuses, factories, sporting events, may in the future use mesh networks and will have complex requirements for data transfer, handover and caching. The context and content-aware data harvesting that is envisaged will be relevant for security conscious application as well as strategic meta-networking for future societal needs. The resilience of the highly heterogeneous networking will benefit emergency services in disaster recovery.

NIRVANA's industry project partners are able to exploit progress made and are highly interested in the project. For EE, as with other mobile operators, there is a need to maximize the interaction between new mesh networks, local area wireless networking, and the fixed infrastructure. Maximising customers' satisfaction level (including offering new services while not reducing mobile battery lifetimes) and minimizing costs and energy consumption are clear drivers. BT as a global telecommunications service provider has interests in technologies such as mobile device virtualisation that will provide clear benefits to its customers as well as to its network functionalization and management systems.

JDSU is interested in extending the use of its network management and monitoring tools into future mobile networks, and NIRVANA provides JDSU with a clear direction on the possibilities that are open. Qualcomm has a keen interest in the interaction of D2D communications and the mobile infrastructure, which will be important for its future chipsets and system software. NEC is heavily involved with communications network technology development, has particular interests in the technology for C-RAN, and is very involved with important standardisation bodies. Techgate is a cloud services provider with significant interest in the cloud computing and networking aspects of the project. All partners will take an active role in the definition of use case scenarios and exploitation paths. The extensive depth and diversity of the various NIRVANA industry partners will particularly aid dissemination of the ideas in a way which can make maximum impact on the telecommunications sector in the UK, a sector which includes large numbers of smaller businesses and emerging industries.

Both universities will incorporate news of latest developments in the work undertaken in their outreach activities to inspire the next generation of researchers and better inform the public. The work will also provide a firm foundation for the consortium to leverage further funds via EU HORIZON 2020. This will enable full system development, bringing in EU companies and broadening the research to include other large-data users and management specialists.

In summary, NIRVANA is timely because it captures the current operator debate on small cells, femtocells, distributed base stations and cloud-radio access networks (C-RANs). It is a debate heavily influenced by user population densities and the availability or willingness to deploy a fibre infrastructure. NIRVANA innovates additionally by including network intelligence close to the base station pool, enabling sophisticated operational and service layer functionalities not previously envisaged. These will have enormous future societal and economic impact as the mobile Internet becomes a foundation for future national prosperity.
 
Description Definition of new radio access network architecture for future mobile communications, including its use through the change in location of functions for direct device-to-device communications and for mobile edge/cloud computing. Demonstration of new functionally-split RAN (at LTE MAC-PHY interface) with an Ethernet fronthaul, including unique layer-2 software-defined networking demonstration using performance metrics extracted from the fronthaul. Optimisation of joint resource management for mobile cloud and device-to-device communications to further enhance resource and energy efficiency.
Exploitation Route It will be important to allow collaborators access to the testbed that has been developed .
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics

URL http://www.intelligent-nirvana.net/
 
Description Used in presentations to standards groups, to industry at WWRF meeting and further discussions with industry at these groups. Presented at 5G World industry conference and exhibition booth in London, June 2017, with further discussions with companies on industry collaborations.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Horizon 2020
Amount € 488,440 (EUR)
Funding ID 644526 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2015 
End 12/2017
 
Description NIRVANA industry collaborations 
Organisation BT Group
Department BT Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Presentations made to engineers/scientists of collaborating partners.
Collaborator Contribution Advice, recommendations for future work, steering of technical directions of research. Loan of equipment, measurement probes and software (Viavi Solutions). Hosting of meeting at Research Lab (EE Ltd) in 2015 and 2016. Hosting of meeting at BT labs in 2016.
Impact Offer to host demonstrator (BT, Viavi Solutions).
Start Year 2015
 
Description NIRVANA industry collaborations 
Organisation Molecular Products Trustee Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Presentations made to engineers/scientists of collaborating partners.
Collaborator Contribution Advice, recommendations for future work, steering of technical directions of research. Loan of equipment, measurement probes and software (Viavi Solutions). Hosting of meeting at Research Lab (EE Ltd) in 2015 and 2016. Hosting of meeting at BT labs in 2016.
Impact Offer to host demonstrator (BT, Viavi Solutions).
Start Year 2015
 
Description NIRVANA industry collaborations 
Organisation NEC Corporation
Department NEC (UK) Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Presentations made to engineers/scientists of collaborating partners.
Collaborator Contribution Advice, recommendations for future work, steering of technical directions of research. Loan of equipment, measurement probes and software (Viavi Solutions). Hosting of meeting at Research Lab (EE Ltd) in 2015 and 2016. Hosting of meeting at BT labs in 2016.
Impact Offer to host demonstrator (BT, Viavi Solutions).
Start Year 2015
 
Description NIRVANA industry collaborations 
Organisation Qualcomm
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Presentations made to engineers/scientists of collaborating partners.
Collaborator Contribution Advice, recommendations for future work, steering of technical directions of research. Loan of equipment, measurement probes and software (Viavi Solutions). Hosting of meeting at Research Lab (EE Ltd) in 2015 and 2016. Hosting of meeting at BT labs in 2016.
Impact Offer to host demonstrator (BT, Viavi Solutions).
Start Year 2015
 
Description NIRVANA industry collaborations 
Organisation Techgate PLC
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Presentations made to engineers/scientists of collaborating partners.
Collaborator Contribution Advice, recommendations for future work, steering of technical directions of research. Loan of equipment, measurement probes and software (Viavi Solutions). Hosting of meeting at Research Lab (EE Ltd) in 2015 and 2016. Hosting of meeting at BT labs in 2016.
Impact Offer to host demonstrator (BT, Viavi Solutions).
Start Year 2015
 
Description NIRVANA industry collaborations 
Organisation Viavi Solutions Inc.
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Presentations made to engineers/scientists of collaborating partners.
Collaborator Contribution Advice, recommendations for future work, steering of technical directions of research. Loan of equipment, measurement probes and software (Viavi Solutions). Hosting of meeting at Research Lab (EE Ltd) in 2015 and 2016. Hosting of meeting at BT labs in 2016.
Impact Offer to host demonstrator (BT, Viavi Solutions).
Start Year 2015
 
Description Participation in IEEE 1914 standards group 
Organisation ADVA Optical Networking
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Attendance at standards meetings in San Jose, Beijing and Aarhus; presentations of project results.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback and comments, input to some joint papers, potential input to White Papers.
Impact Magazine paper submitted with input from some of the above organisations. Not multidisciplinary.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Participation in IEEE 1914 standards group 
Organisation Broadcom Corporation
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Attendance at standards meetings in San Jose, Beijing and Aarhus; presentations of project results.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback and comments, input to some joint papers, potential input to White Papers.
Impact Magazine paper submitted with input from some of the above organisations. Not multidisciplinary.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Participation in IEEE 1914 standards group 
Organisation China Mobile
Country China 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Attendance at standards meetings in San Jose, Beijing and Aarhus; presentations of project results.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback and comments, input to some joint papers, potential input to White Papers.
Impact Magazine paper submitted with input from some of the above organisations. Not multidisciplinary.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Participation in IEEE 1914 standards group 
Organisation Comcores
Country Denmark 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Attendance at standards meetings in San Jose, Beijing and Aarhus; presentations of project results.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback and comments, input to some joint papers, potential input to White Papers.
Impact Magazine paper submitted with input from some of the above organisations. Not multidisciplinary.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Participation in IEEE 1914 standards group 
Organisation Nokia
Department Nokia Bell Labs
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Attendance at standards meetings in San Jose, Beijing and Aarhus; presentations of project results.
Collaborator Contribution Feedback and comments, input to some joint papers, potential input to White Papers.
Impact Magazine paper submitted with input from some of the above organisations. Not multidisciplinary.
Start Year 2016
 
Description 5G World 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Booth at 5G World event in London ExCel with poster and showing video demonstrations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://5g.co.uk/event/2017/06/5g-world-2017/
 
Description Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Research labs open for Open Day for 50th Anniversary - EPSRC and other projects described to visitors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Research Media article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact General, public-facing article on EPSRC NIRVANA and EU iCIRRUS project work, which could be understood by business leaders and policymakers. Has led to further requests for information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.internationalinnovation.com/better-faster-intelligent-telecommunications/
 
Description e-magazine article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact e-magazine article in Adjacent Government on fronthaul research team at the University of Kent, mentioned NIRVANA project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.adjacentgovernment.co.uk