University of Cambridge > > Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar > Network Function Virtualization and its Application to Improve the Architecture and Protocols of Future Cellular Networks

Network Function Virtualization and its Application to Improve the Architecture and Protocols of Future Cellular Networks

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Communication networks are changing. They are becoming more and more “software-based.” The use of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to run network services in software, along with the concept of Software Defined Networks (SDN), is leading to a largely software-based network environment. Our high-performance NFV platform, OpenNetVM, enables high bandwidth network functions to operate at near line rate, while taking advantage of the flexibility and customization of low-cost commodity servers.

5G cellular networks are trying to meet the needs of an increasing number of users and new applications that require low latency and high bandwidth. An impediment to this is the significant latency and overhead contributed by the 3GPP-specified complex control-plane for cellular networks. In conjunction with the dynamic management of capacity, NFV can serve as an ideal platform to support future cellular networks. However, truly exploiting the opportunities of a software-based environment requires careful thinking about the cellular network protocols as well.

We propose CleanG, a new packet core architecture and a significantly more efficient control-plane protocol, exploiting capabilities of current Network Function Virtualization (NFV) platforms. With the elastic scalability offered by NFV , the data and control sub-components of the packet core can scale, adapting to workload demand. CleanG eliminates the use of GTP tunnels for forwarding data and the associated complex protocol for coordination across multiple, distributed components for setting up and managing them. We have developed CleanG on top of our OpenNetVM NFV platform. In this talk I will describe our work on CleanG, after a high-level overview of our OpenNetVM NFV platform.


Dr. K. K. Ramakrishnan is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, Riverside. Previously, he was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Labs-Research. He joined AT&T Bell Labs in 1994 and was with AT&T Labs-Research since its inception in 1996. Prior to 1994, he was a Technical Director and Consulting Engineer in Networking at Digital Equipment Corporation. Between 2000 and 2002, he was at TeraOptic Networks, Inc., as Founder and Vice President.

Dr. Ramakrishnan is an ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow and an AT&T Fellow, recognized for his fundamental contributions on communication networks, congestion control, traffic management, VPN services, and a lasting impact on AT&T and the industry. His work on the “DECbit” congestion avoidance protocol received the ACM Sigcomm Test of Time Paper Award in 2006. He has published nearly 300 papers and has 185 patents issued in his name. K.K. has been on the editorial board of several journals and has served as the TPC Chair and General Chair for several networking conferences. K. K. received his MTech from the Indian Institute of Science (1978), MS (1981) and Ph.D. (1983) in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA .

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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