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NGN  March 2019

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Subject:

Re: Architectural developments for 5G?

From:

David Lake <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David Lake <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 16 Mar 2019 14:02:55 +0000

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Virtualising the radio functions doesn't solve the architectural issues - it is simply a way of moving requirement for high-demand maths functions to the centre.

In fact, some of the current C-RAN models are orthogonal to "edge-compute" argument - if I co-locate my base-band processing for (say) London in one location, the only point I can attach any edge device is at that one location not at the cell-site, that is assuming I can break into the architectural limitation of the SGi/N6-focused network in 4G/5G.

Now this...

	"5G protocol space is almost completely opaque to researchers:-)"

In the words of Sportin' Life (and Bronski Beat), "It ain't necessarily so...."

Look here - https://www.openairinterface.org/

Eurecom have just launched a 5GNR stack their open source network.   I've been running a private LTE network at home built on their code (Ettus B210 SDR) for a number of years and the code has been getting better and better.

They now have full implementations of the 5GNR gNB and a 5GNR client which run on a number of different SDRs (Lime and Ettus have the best support) and THE CODE IS OPEN!

Again, speaking PURELY personally, I feel that we are sometimes too quick to say "but the 3GPP standard says we should do X" rather than "I've got some interesting code to do the 3GPP X - I wonder what happens when I change it to do Y...."

Not-withstanding that, cross-discipline work is always challenging.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Crowcroft <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent: 16 March 2019 13:18
To: Lake, David (PG/R - Elec Electronic Eng) <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: Jon Crowcroft <[log in to unmask]>; [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Architectural developments for 5G?

indeed - I'm not wrong (I hpe) in saying tha the starting point for edge compute in mobile data nets was to virtualise the radio fucntions so that 4G and 5G could support earlier protocols without having to support legacy hardware so the whole NFV thing originated there i guess

but now we're taking about application space, but it has to be prtty tightly coupled to information about location (not just for latency, but also security and energy reasons)

the problem for the "two" communities is that while cloud (including new offerings on edge clould from just about all the major players, and things like lamda)  is open source (even some application platforms like tensorflow, which includes wide area machine learning  tools - as do lots of research projects), the 5G protocol space is almost completely opaque to researchers:-)

> Speaking personally, there remain a number of architectural challenges 
> if you look at this in the 5G landscape because the standards coming 
> out of 3GPP really still see the network and compute/application 
> landscapes as separate.
> 
> MEC has not been widely adopted because the notion of the compute edge 
> in 4G is beyond the interface to the non-mobile network (SGi in 3GPP 
> speak) and is likely to be in the same place in 5G (N6 interface).  
> Main transport protocol in both 4G and 5G remains GTP with IPSec 
> between eNB/gNB and SGW/UPF.
> 
> There are not-insignificant issues with Lawful Intercept in MEC as 
> well - the only solid proposal I've seen for a commercial MEC solution 
> suffers two problems - one, a "bump-in-the-wire" for GTP and IPSec 
> (yuck!) and two, a lack of LI which typically happens at the SGI point in current 4G.
> 
> The issue is that the current mobile network is not really that mobile 
> in architecture - extensive use is made of fast-moving tunnels in both 
> 4G and 5G and there are (currently) no plans to change as it works.
> 
> In 5G, the functional elements of the data-plane (UPF) can be moved 
> closer to the edge but this creates issues in concurrency of data - in 
> other words, I can place portions of the 5G network near the 
> cell-tower and put an edge cache there but what happens when I move 
> between cells because I now have two problems - firstly, I've broken 
> the mobility which works VERY well in todays' networks (less than 20ms 
> of lost data on the most disruptive move in a cellular network, 
> typically more like 1ms without breaking/reallocating any IP/TCP/TLS) 
> and secondly I now need a scheme to distribute data to those caches in the first place.
> 
> The problem we seem to be facing is one where there is no obvious 
> standards group to move this forward - IETF will look at it from a 
> bits-and-bytes level at the network (and really are not engaged in 5G 
> at all), 3GPP only see the mobile network as a transport between 
> handset and the outside world.
> 
> Yes, there is LOTS to consider here...
> 
> Where do you want to start???!!!
> 
> David
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Next Generation Networking <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Jon 
> Crowcroft
> Sent: 16 March 2019 12:45
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Architectural developments for 5G?
> 
> there's a bunch of projects on "edge" computing - huawei & BT also are 
> both pursuing what they call compute first networking (or in-network
> processing) - back in the day, telefonica did a bunch of work assuming 
> you'd have a rack at every cell tower....
> 
> you are absolutely right that the architecture for scaling the 
> application (what in cloud terms is the orcestration or coordination
> system) is crucial, and not at all a mapped out design space, so I 
> think there's lots of interesting research to do on what systems like 
> kubernetes for edge cloud would look like (that's just one piece of 
> the problem - security architecture is also not obvious in that world, 
> and mobile/migrating computation for mobile users makes life even more 
> of a
> challenge)
> 
> great thought!
> 
> > Dear all,
> > Just a thought for today. An interesting talk last year at Coseners 
> > on the realities of 5G.
> > Is the research community looking at local processing needs (or, 
> > rather, future needs) for applications that develop on the back of 5G?
> By 'local'
> > I mean within the decision time frame required by the application 
> > and hosted somewhere on the network and replicated probably at or 
> > near the edge. The questions I have in mind are practical 
> > realisations that
> scale.
> > There are several views on what that level of scale might evolve 
> > towards and what latency requirements of applications might drive 
> > the preferred solution and I don't wish to comment on every scenario.
> > There are some open questions (I would guess) on an architecture for
> best scaling.
> > Regards,
> > John
> >
> > ####################################################################
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