Nokia has launched the 5G Mobile Network Architecture (5G MoNArch) research project. Supported and financed as part of Phase II of the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP) — under the auspices of the European Union's Horizon 2020 Framework Programme — 5G MoNArch will put fifth-generation mobile network architecture into practice. The project consortium, consisting of 14 leading industrial and academic partners and coordinated by Nokia, will focus on the implementation of a set of 5G use cases in real world testbeds.
5G MoNArch's specific goal is to use network slicing, which capitalizes on the capabilities of software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), orchestration and analytics to support a variety of use cases in vertical industries such as automotive, healthcare and media. Network slicing is a technique where the network is logically (not physically) sectorized, so that separate services are supported by each ‘separate’ logical network. As 5G networks need to simultaneously support various services with different requirements, network slicing will be a crucial aspect of the network architecture, providing flexible and adaptive networks which fulfill the 5G requirements.
Nokia strongly supports projects that bring together the public and private sectors to advance technology and has pursued this approach for decades. Since 2015, Nokia has been a leading contributor to 5G-PPP, coordinating the Phase I research of 5G-NORMA — the leading European network architecture research project setting the conceptual basis for 5G communications networks — and providing key input to 3GPP standardization. Now, in the second phase of 5G-PPP, 5G MoNArch aims to complement the initial groundwork by bringing these concepts to practical deployment.
5G MoNArch involves 14 key mobile network players from six European countries, bringing together the complementary background and technical know-how required to turn the project's vision into reality. It will run for two years with a total budget of €7.7 million.
In continuation of 5G-NORMA, 5G-MoNArch enriches the original architectural concepts of the first phase with innovations, such as cloud-enabled network protocols, and showcases the new technology in two testbeds. The flexible and programmable architecture will support the vast variety of services, use cases, and applications that 5G will bring in the next years.
The main objectives of 5G MoNArch are:
- Detailed specification and extension of 5G architecture.
- Enhancement of architectural designs with key enabling innovations such as inter-slice control and cross-domain management, experiment-driven modeling and optimization, and native cloud-enabled protocol stack.
- Functional innovations around the key technologies required for dedicated 5G use cases: resilience, security, and resource elasticity.
- Deployment and experimental implementation of the architecture for two use cases in real-world testbeds – heavy communications usage in a tourist-heavy city, and secure and reliable communication in a seaport environment.
- Evaluation, validation, and verification of the architecture performance.
Peter Merz, head of End-to-End Mobile Networks Solutions at Nokia Bell Labs, said, "5G-PPP brings together a range of stakeholders from the communications technology sector and other industries. We follow a shared architecture of what the next-generation communications infrastructure needs to look like to enable and meet the network demands of the next decade. 5G communication needs both private and public entities to invest in the infrastructure and ensure Europe remains competitive. Nokia is fully committed to the 5G-PPP: we have delivered know-how and innovative technologies since its launch in 2015 in order to strengthen the European 5G footprint."