Behind the 5G network: SDN will be the key technology!

From the 2G to 3G/4G era, the “quality change” of mobile network speed has completely changed our work and life, and let us have more embarrassment for the 5G era. Especially after entering 2016, from standard organizations, to equipment providers, to operators, they are actively embracing 5G. It can be said that the 5G boom has taken shape. However, it must be emphasized that 5G will not only bring faster mobile network speed, but also a more comprehensive, end-to-end next-generation mobile communication system!

The system changes our mobile access experience in at least three ways:

High capacity, whether indoors or outdoors, mobile networks are everywhere, and can meet high-bandwidth (high-performance) access in high-density applications;

Ultra-reliable, the stability of communication is significantly improved compared to the 3G/4G era;

Low latency, better able to meet the needs of current and future applications, such as video, Internet of Things (IOT), M2M, car networking, telemedicine, ultra-large sensor networks, power grids, transportation, and even smart city control. Of course, it also includes the current hot AR and VR.

In addition to the changes in experience, the 5G era will change the ecosystem of the entire industry, create new business models, and bring new business opportunities. Just like the changes brought about by high-speed Internet and smartphones, 5G will also revolutionize the telecommunications, automotive, medical, government (public utility), manufacturing and transportation industries.

Among them, in the telecommunications industry, the first change is the operator's network architecture design, and behind this is inseparable from the support of virtualization computing, software-defined network SDN, network function virtualization NFV. Dan Pitt, CEO of ONF, pointed out that without the software-defined network SDN, the "commitment" of 5G is even difficult to achieve.

5G "commitment" goal

To meet the needs of more business applications in the future, 5G must achieve breakthroughs in performance (throughput and latency), reliability, flexibility, scalability, and power efficiency.

Although the 5G standard has not yet been determined, some "hard requirements" for 5G have been widely recognized in the industry in advance. In terms of capacity, 5G will achieve 1000 times more mobile data traffic per unit area than 4G; in terms of transmission rate, typical user data rate will increase by 10 to 100 times, peak transmission rate will reach 10Gbps; in terms of delay, end-to-end The delay will be 5 times shorter than 4G, the target is as low as 10ms, even in some special application scenarios as low as 1ms; and in terms of scalability, the number of networkable devices will be 10 to 100 times more than in the 4G era; in addition, low The Battery life of the power MMC (machine type equipment) is also increased by 10 times.

5G is not only fast

In order to achieve the above objectives, 5G not only needs to integrate innovative air interface technology and existing wireless access technologies, but also needs to adjust, optimize antenna design, spread spectrum, and upgrade base stations (to achieve ultra-dense networking, new multi-access, etc.). In addition, the 5G network architecture will also undergo significant changes, especially with the landing of big data applications, 5G network architecture will evolve toward distributed, intelligent and other directions. By then, SDN will be the key!

Why SDN is the key technology of 5G

As mentioned above, 5G brings more than just higher bandwidth and lower latency. Its flexible, agile and manageable features will also create more innovative services for operators to better cope with OTT. Shock. And SDN will be the basis for all of this, while at the same time changing the traditional "chimney" architecture of a hardware application.

SDN decouples control plane and data plane

SDN realizes the decoupling separation between the control plane and the forwarding (data) layer, which makes the network more open and can flexibly support the upper layer services/applications. For operators, SDN enables many innovations in dynamic control, including packet data connections, variable QoS, downlink buffering, online charging, packet conversion, and selective linking. It is understood that the current ONF mobile network working group is accelerating the development of these innovations.

At present, more and more 5G architectures have been built based on the SDN concept, such as the architecture envisioned by the mobile communication network NGMN, with hardware and software separation, and programmable capabilities provided by SDN and NFV, covering all aspects of 5G, including equipment. , mobile / fixed network infrastructure, network functions, etc., to achieve automated orchestration of 5G systems.

The agile features brought by SDN can better meet the different needs of different applications in the 5G era, so that each application has specific bandwidth and delay. At the same time, IT staff can use SDN's programmability to turn network resources into independent, end-to-end "slices", including wireless, backhaul, core and management domains.

With the support of the SDN architecture, operators have truly realized the network as a service and effectively manage network resources while providing services continuously. SDN will also provide operators with the best data transmission path to further optimize the operator's network. On the whole, the 5G architecture based on SDN will further reduce the capex and opex of operators, allowing operators to have more funds to realize service innovation and truly transform the network into value gains.

Different 5G ecosystem open source to help innovation

5G will have a huge impact on the existing industry landscape, bringing opportunities for many telecom operators and cloud service providers in various industries. At the same time, the 5G ecosystem will be divided into multiple levels, from sharing infrastructure, providing special network functions, to providing end-to-end services, and working with software partners to integrate into 5G systems.

In the future, the 5G infrastructure will be defined by traditional standards organizations, but 5G-based value-added services will be built based on the operator's software capabilities, and the power of the open source community will undoubtedly accelerate the operator's software innovation capabilities. In other words, operators want to stand out in the fierce competition in the future, and embracing open source will be a shortcut.

5G standard will wait until 2020

With the advent of the 5G boom, the call for a globally unified 5G standard is getting louder and louder. To this end, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has initiated research work for the 5G standard, according to the work plan: 2015 will complete the IMT-2020 international standard pre-study, 2016 will carry out 5G technical performance requirements and assessment methods research, the end of 2017 The 5G candidate program will be launched and the standardization will be completed by the end of 2020.

In addition, 3GPP, as the main standard organization of the international mobile communication industry, will undertake the formulation of the technical content of 5G international standards. The 3GPP R14 phase is considered to be the best time to start the 5G standard study, and the R15 phase can start the 5G standard work project. R16 and later will improve the 5G standard.

Innovative application experience brought by 5G

I have just introduced many advantages of 5G, including high performance, high capacity, low latency, low power consumption, ultra-reliable, etc. So, how will our work and life change in the 5G era?

Being "immersed"

For example, high performance + high capacity will provide users with extremely high data transfer rates to meet the extremely high traffic density requirements of the network. In the future World Cup and Olympic Games, 5G can not only provide Gbps-level experience rate, tens of Gbps peak rate, but also real-time back to the exciting moments (Ultra HD) in the stadium. For the audience who are not able to visit the scene, with the help of many cameras (all angles) and virtual imaging technology in the stadium, you will not be able to enjoy the "immersive" experience.

Low latency will make the Internet of Vehicles a reality, and completely solve the 4G delay performance is not ideal - can not meet the safety requirements of autonomous driving (ie, the brake reaction time is too long). The low latency of 1ms in the 5G era will make the driving distance of the vehicle within the braking reaction time no more than 20cm, which truly meets the needs of safe driving and truly makes automatic driving possible.

5G and the Internet of Things

Of course, the key changes brought by 5G are still in the field of Internet of Things, such as smart city, environmental monitoring, intelligent agriculture, forest fire prevention and other application scenarios targeting sensing and data acquisition, with small data packets, low power consumption, and massive connections. And other features, and 5G low power, multi-connection and other features just to meet the needs of these application scenarios.

5G key technology: more than SDN

In addition to SDN, the future 5G network needs the support of network function virtualization NFV and cloud computing technology to build a more flexible, intelligent, efficient and open network system. For example, the cloud supports multiple wireless access modes, and combines centralized and distributed wireless access network architectures to accommodate various types of backhaul links for more flexible networking deployment and more efficient Wireless resource management; with NFV, operators can further reduce their input costs (through standard hardware) and achieve more functionality. In contrast, SDN provides a lower level of support, but it is absolutely critical!

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