5G Virtualization Convergence Layer

Automating the creation of optimized and customized 5G network slices for vertical services

Context and challenge to answer

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5G technology is the next generation of telecom networks that targets many improvements, the right trade-offs between speed, latency, and cost, with billions of connected devices (massive IoT) as well as support for novel vertical applications, for connected cars, autonomous driving, Industry 4.0, among others. .

5G aims to slice the physical network in multiple logical networks, namely network slices, each of them to be optimized to the specific quality of service (QoS) requirements for each vertical service/application. However, vertical service providers and vertical application developers are normally agnostic to network issues and therefore not able to deal with integration with 5G infrastructure. There is a need to translate those vertical application requests and its requirements into the optimal network infrastructure elements and its configuration, such as network functions, specific traffic paths, etc. However, that is not a trivial challenge since infrastructure elements are usually pre-defined on per technology basis in a monolithic way.

Description and offered functionality

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5GCOLA solves the challenge of the integration with infrastructure specific elements for vertical application developers and vertical providers, related to the monolithic provision of network resources and predefined network services. This is done by means of creating a zero-touch slice management framework. 5GCOLA includes blueprints to define the possible network services (NSs) onboarded in an NFV MANO (Network Function Virtualization Management and Orchestration) system, matching the requirements of a given vertical application component.

In addition, 5GCOLA sets up the mechanisms to automatically fetch and transfer the NS components from the catalogue/repository, deploying and integrating them with the vertical application components. In this way, it enables the automatic creation of an optimized slice customized for each 5G ready vertical application.

5GCOLA also offers a set of typical network functionalities exposed to the vertical app developers that can be included on demand inside the application graph with the desired rules. 5GCOLA deploys and configures these functionalities, translating the generic policies provided by the vertical developer to specific network infrastructure rules, understandable by the NFV Orchestrator.

Value proposition

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The unique value proposition of 5GCOLA is the cost-saving for vertical 5G application developers and providers, thanks to dynamic and optimized and zero-touch provisioning and integration of network-specific services. In addition, it contributes to the efficient utilization of resources and guaranteed QoS for each slice.

Use cases

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The ultimate targeted customer is telecom operators and emerging small telecom service providers that can easily incorporate 5GCOLA as part of their OSS/NFVO solutions aiming to satisfy their customers’ (vertical application developers and vertical service providers) requirements in 5G networks in an efficient way.

Example of novel vertical use cases that can be targeted with this solution are:

  • Public Protection and Disaster Relief to manage emergency rescue situations in which prioritization in zero latency and high bandwidth are needed
  • Autonomous driving applications, in which network reliability is of high importance.
  • Connected cars, e.g. Vehicle to Everything (V2X) in which high data density together with low latency are required.  
  • Applications in a manufacturing plant for Industry 4.0 that imply as well significant requirements on high number of connected things, as well as accuracy.

Future roadmap

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The 5GCOLA can integrate additional features to increase automation by means of Machine Learning mechanisms that enable autonomous 5G network slicing.  

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