5G-TRANSFORMER System Overview
The 5G-TRANSFORMER project explores how the network can better serve the needs of 5G-TRANSFORMER customers (i.e., vertical industries and M(V)NOs) by offering the abstraction, flexibility, and dynamic management capabilities they require. In terms of notation, it is important to differentiate between (vertical) service, i.e., that is requested by the customer of the 5G-TRANSFORMER system, from the underlying network service deployed to fulfill the requirements of the vertical. An example of the former is a car manufacturer requesting the deployment of an automotive intersection collision avoidance service. The latter will be deployed in the form of an NFV network service, in general.
For more details about the 5G-TRANSFORMER system architecture, please check D1.2 (5G-TRANSFORMER Initial System Design, May 2018).
The key architectural concept to support such adaptation to the needs of verticals and M(V)NOs is network slicing. The term network slice aligns network functionality to business needs, since it allows customers to request not just functions, but also business objectives (e.g., quality of service, security, etc.), as a sort of intent. The scope of a slice may be a single customer facing service or a group of such services. The system will also allow infrastructure providers to share the 5G mobile transport and computing infrastructure efficiently among verticals and M(V)NOs, hence enhancing 5G-TRANSFORMER provider network usage efficiency. In terms of deployment, network slices can be implemented by means of ETSI NFV network services.
The architecture is conceived to support multiple combinations of stakeholders by introducing open Application Programming Interfaces (API) among components. Through these APIs, the system hides unnecessary details from the verticals, allowing them to focus on the definition of the services and the required Service Level Agreements (SLAs). As for interfaces, particularly relevant for the goals of the project are east-westbound interfaces, which enable service and resource federation across different administrative domains, allowing 5G-TRANSFORMER service providers to enhance their service offerings to their customers by peering with other providers.
We envision a system of three major components: vertical slicer (5GT-VS), service orchestrator (5GT-SO) and mobile transport and computing platform (5GT-MTP), see Figure 1. The 5GT-VS is the entry point for the vertical requesting a service and it handles the association of these services with slices as well as network slice management. The 5GT-SO is responsible for end-to-end orchestration of services across multiple domains and for aggregating local and federated (i.e., from peer domains) resources and services and exposing them to the 5GT-VS in a unified way. Finally, the 5GT-MTP provides and manages the virtual and physical IT and network resources on which service components are eventually deployed. It also decides on the abstraction level offered to the 5GT-SO.
Figure 1: 5G-TRANSFORMER system architecture