2nd Workshop on “5G – Putting Intelligence to the Network Edge” (5G-PINE 2017)

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Motivation


The 2nd 5G-PINE Workshop has been established to disseminate knowledge obtained from actual EU projects as well as from any other action of EU-funded research, in the wider thematic area of “5G Innovative Activities – Putting Intelligence to the Network Edge” and with the aim of focusing on Artifical Intelligence (AI) in modern 5G telecommunications infrastructures.

 

This should take place by emphasizing upon associated results, methodologies, concepts and/or findings originating from technical reports/deliverables, from related pilot actions and/or any other relevant 5G-based applications, intending to enhance intelligence to the network edges.

Internet grows into a more “complex” and “sophisticated” entity than it was originally intended to be some years ago. Actually, it is much more than “simply a modern communication system” as it comprises of numerous essential parts and/or “components” of modern networks, platforms, infrastructures and of related (usually innovative) facilities together with multi-generated “content” and a variety of connected equipment and devices. Internet is the essential “core” of our modern world towards creating a real knowledge-based society and a variety of businesses providing numerous challenges for development and growth. New and unexpected applications and services are nowadays emerging from cutting-edge technological developments that “shape” the requirements for future progress and this dynamic evolution makes the entire context of reference “more fascinating”. Internet’s rapid evolution also influences socio-economic, environmental and cultural aspects of modern society. The Future (Internet-based) Networks aim to enable smart connectivity for all, anywhere, at any time at the highest speed and efficiency fulfilling the overwhelming demands of today’s modern societies, but also overcoming challenges about security, privacy, etc.

The convergence of telecommunications and IT systems in future networks will result in open platforms, which will enable new opportunities for innovation and new business models, especially for the SMEs.

This will, in turn, require more systematic adoption of software defined networking (SDN) concepts to adapt future networks to new requirements allowing continuous and fast innovation cycles in the communication infrastructures and in the Internet as well as for the promotion of modern network and service management features.

In any case, the communication network and service environment of the future will be enormously enhanced and much more complex than the one of today. The corresponding network infrastructures will be capable of “connecting everything” according to a diversity of application-specific requirements, that is: People, things, processes, computing centres, content, knowledge, information, goods; and all these in a quite flexible, really mobile, and powerful way. Thus, it is expected that the Future Internet (FI) -based context will encompass an intense variety of connected sensors, connected (smart) vehicles, smart meters and smart home gadgets way beyond our current experience of tablet and smartphone connectivity. As a consequence, the forthcoming and purely innovative 5G technological framework promotes the design/establishment and operation of a next generation network that will provide reliable, omnipresent, ultra-low latency, broadband connectivity, and will be able of managing critical and demanding applications/services, which are further modified by new challenging personalised applications, proliferate at an immense rate.

The new generation of mobile and wireless systems, identified as 5th Generation (5G), intends to deliver solutions to the continuously increasing demand for mobile broadband services associated with the immense penetration of wireless equipment while, simultaneously supporting new use cases associated to customers of new market segments and vertical industries (e.g., e-health, automotive, energy). Consequently, the vision of the future 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) corresponds to a highly heterogeneous network with unprecedented requirements in terms of capacity, latency or data rates. To efficiently cope with this enormous heterogeneity and complexity, the RAN planning and optimization processes can benefit -at a large extent- from exploiting cognitive capabilities that embrace knowledge and intelligence.
In this direction, legacy systems already started the automation in the planning and optimization processes through Self-Organizing Network (SON) functionalities. In 5G, also by assessing the dawn of big data technologies, it is envisioned that SON can be further evolved towards a more proactive approach able to exploit the huge amount of data available by a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and to incorporate additional dimensions coming from the characterization of end-user experience and end-user behavior. Then, SON can be enhanced through Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tools, able to smartly process input data from the environment and come up with knowledge that can be formalized in terms of models and/or structured metrics that represent the network behavior.
This will allow gaining in-depth and detailed knowledge about the whole 5G ecosystem, understanding hidden patterns, data structures and relationships, and using them for a more efficient network management.
Moreover, 5G aims to deliver intelligence directly to network’s edge, exploiting the emerging paradigms of Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) and Edge Cloud Computing (ECC). In particular, 5G targets at offering rich virtualisation and multi-tenant capabilities, not only in term of partitioning network capacity among multiple tenants, but also offering dynamic processing capabilities on-demand, optimally deployed close to the user. Furthermore, the Small Cell concept, will be enriched in the context of 5G with virtualization and edge computing capabilities, so as to support improved cellular coverage, capacity and applications for homes and enterprises, as well as dense metropolitan and rural public spaces in a dynamic and flexible manner.
The potential benefits from such a combined approach of Network Virtualization, Edge Computing and Small Cells with the aim of improving network management, trigger the interest of Communications Service Providers (CSPs) such as Mobile Network Operators (MNO), Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) and Over-The-Top (OTT) content and service providers, by generating the emerging of new business models and allowing them to gain an extra share in the network market by pursuing emerging business models.
Correlation between the above conceptual approach and AI-based tools may be the “key issue” for a variety of factors that could ensure the proper development and exploitation of 5G telecommunications infrastructures in modern economies!
Among others, the 2nd Workshop on “5G- Putting Intelligence at the Network Edge” aims to investigate and give answers to the following research questions:

  • What are the requirements for the successful “combination” of the three fundamental concepts, i.e. NFV, Small Cells and Edge Computing, towards serving more efficient network management?
  • How the above concepts could be correlated to suitable autonomic-cognitive cycles?
  • How SON functionalities can properly be integrated in modern 5G infrastructures and how such functionalities can be enhanced through appropriate AI-based tools?
  • Which applications/services may benefit most, e.g., Internet of Things and Fog Computing?
  • Which may be the new business models that may arise due to the “Intelligence at the network edge”?
  • What are the security and privacy implications of placing intelligence at the network edge?
  • How to guarantee continuity and quality of service, also within the framework of the wider “quality of experience”, while placing intelligence at the network edge
  • Are there any foreseen trade-offs, e.g., low latency vs. increase of intra-domain traffic?
  • How to handle the explosion of the traffic and provide the necessary capacity, spectrum?
  • How to flexibly accommodate novel classes of services (IoT, M2M, or content-based, and others which are not known today) whilst keeping low CAPEX and OPEX?

The effort is expected to be around the thematic context of the actual 5G-PPP EU-funded project “SESAME” (Grant Agreement No.671596).
SESAME targets innovations around three central elements in 5G, that is: (i) The placement of network intelligence and applications in the network edge through Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) and Edge Cloud Computing; (ii) the substantial evolution of the Small Cell concept, already mainstream in 4G but expected to deliver its full potential in the challenging high dense 5G scenarios, and; (iii) the consolidation of multi-tenancy in communications infrastructures, allowing several operators/service providers to engage in new sharing models of both access capacity and edge computing capabilities.
This is expected to “delineate” a new conceptual approach with dedicated paradigms and scenarios of use of market significance that can serve as “guidelines” for any further evolution process.
It is expected that other European 5G-PPP projects actually having cooperation with SESAME, are also to “join” the 2nd “5G-PINE” Workshop, by providing results and/or other experiences based upon their progress.
Some of these 5G-PPP projects (i.e., those that are relevant to the 5G-PINE 2017 Workshop / EANN 2017 framework) are to be officially invited to contribute to the Workshop.