Mobile networks are now rising to the status of critical infrastructure: there will be 11.6 billion mobile-connected devices by 2021, exceeding the world’s population. As the market transitions from existing technologies to an all-IP ecosystem, the need to innovate the way services are delivered is critical. This drives us to change our approach to interconnection, leading towards a more global and flexible model. Over the past years we have been witnessing the shift from a unilateral, network-centric communications market to an environment with many market players around the user and its powerful device. Though Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) used to have a monopoly on these services, this is now being challenged. For example, Mobile Network Aggregators (MNAs) such as Google Fi are gaining popularity among end-users. MNAs are able to multiplex clients across multiple MNOs in order to ensure optimal service and sustained quality of experience (QoE). In this context, there is a stringent and immediate need for MNOs to develop sustainable strategies including next-generation interconnections to adapt and remain relevant. Understanding, monitoring and innovating how mobile end-users consume and reach content, especially under dynamic mobility scenarios (e.g., international roaming), is of paramount importance. My scientific goal in this project is to design fluid interconnection models between the end-user, the MNOs and the IP Exchange (IPX) providers. I plan to illuminate the current cellular interconnection ecosystem and design novel solutions to facilitate and enable next-generation IP interconnection models. I propose to explore novel technologies (e.g., distributed ledger technology) that enable MNOs to interact directly and offer their users customized services (e.g., using crypto-currencies). This will increase the number of connected people, while enabling MNOs to extend their coverage and sustain a healthy stream of revenue from market growth.
Partners: University of Macedonia, UPC, Telefonica Research and Development, UCL
The NECOS project addresses the limitations of current cloud computing infrastructures to respond to the demand of new services, as presented in two use-cases that will drive the whole execution of the project. The first use-case is Telco service provider focussed and is oriented towards the adoption of cloud computing in their large networks. The second use-case is targeting the use of edge clouds to support devices with low computation and storage capacity. The envisaged solution is based on a new concept – Lightweight Slice Defined Cloud (LSDC) – as an approach that extends the virtualization to all the resources in the involved networks and data centres and provides a uniform management with a high-level of orchestration. The NECOS approach will be manifested in a platform whose main distinguishing features are: 1. The Slice as a Service –- a new deployment model. A slice is a grouping of resources managed as a whole, and that can accommodate service components, independent of other slices. 2. Embedded algorithms for an optimal allocation of resources to slices in the cloud and networking infrastructure, to respond to the dynamic changes of the various service demands. 3. A management and orchestration approach making use of artificial intelligence techniques in order to tackle with the complexity of large scale virtualized infrastructure environments. 4. Making reality the lightweight principle, in terms of low footprint components deployable on large number of small network and cloud devices at the edges of the network. The NECOS platform will be based on state of the art open software platforms, which will be carefully selected, rather than start from scratch. This baseline platform will be enhanced with the management and orchestration algorithms and the APIs that will constitute the research activity of the project. Finally, the NECOS platform will be validated, in the context of the two proposed use cases, using the 5TONIC and FIBRE testing frameworks.