5G architecture; paper outlines the Flat Distributed Cloud

January 19, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
The University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (Guildford, UK) has published a white paper exploring a disruptive change in next-generation cellular architecture that, “enables a user experience that is perceived as always sufficient for their current context.”

The Flat Distributed Cloud 5G Architecture Revolution ’ discusses how the future 5G network will be designed to always make best use of the resources available at the time of each new communications request applicable to the context of the user at the time. The paper proposes a disruptive change to cellular networking that reaches out to embrace an end-to-end view including appropriate aspects of the fixed/content distribution network. Its authors summarise the concept as;

“The vision is of a more connected experience over a dynamic cloud-based architecture that separates the user plane and control plane and is much flatter. Amongst the design objectives is a more context-aware network that aspires to predict popular content, collates group content and gets user data ready ‘just in time’ by harvesting user profile information that is traded between user and service and/or networks. The architecture integrates the Internet of Things, in a graduated way, bringing legacy IoT with it, and adding new 5G SCADA-like (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) control system capabilities to the cellular framework. The considerably more efficient network [that results] is designed to employ the best of evolving NVF/SDN [network function virtualisation/ software defined networking] implementations and is able to sit on C-RAN, H-RAN and D-RAN according to transmission options [cloud-, high- and distributed-radio-access-network].

The paper’s discussion centres around some key predictions/assertions about 5G; that mobile penetration is likely to be >100% in nearly all markets in 2020; that [data] rates on mobile broadband are potentially likely to be higher than home [connections]; that unless there are major changes in fixed broadband then mobile broadband is likely to dominate by 2020; and that there is an opportunity to make the next generation mobile network the de-facto communications system.

Read the paper at the University of Surrey’s site, here.