Distributed Cloud, Software-Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization Evolution toward 5G Architecture for Ultra-Low Latency Applications

   School of Engineering and the Built Environment

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  Dr S Yousef  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Research Group

Future Cities Research Network

Telecommunication Engineering Research Group (TERG)

Proposed supervisory team

Dr Sufian Yousef


Smart cities, 5G Networks

Summary of the research project

As the industry explores more flexible, automated network solutions, this part of the evolution toward 5G capabilities is already underway and researchers expect it to be fundamental to 5G. However, researchers pointed out that research questions remain on the best network architectures for different applications. Ultra-low-latency applications such as autonomous driving may require highly distributed networks simply due the geographical distributions, while applications that can tolerate higher latency could be served from fewer central locations.

Traditional networks make use of network configuration, bearer and QoS information to satisfy user requests, but the Distributed Cloud (DC) architecture additionally employs user and network context information such as where, when, why who and what is being requested as well as the user’s location and location type to service requests. The network is also able to make use of learned intelligence gathered from these additional resources both at the device and in the network.

The DC network will provide communications connection using both fixed and wireless bearers where available and will enable interconnection with internet, cloud and new content distribution networks. 5G has a main requirement of highly flexible, ultra-low latency and ultra-high bandwidth virtualised infrastructure in order to deliver end-to-end services.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) technologies are the key enablers to federate heterogeneous experimental facilities and to integrate both network and cloud resources to offer advanced end-to-end 5G services upon multi-domain heterogeneous networks and distributed centers (DC). SDN has emerged as the most promising candidate to improve network programmability and dynamic adjustment of the network resources. SDN is defined as a control framework that supports the programmability of network functions and protocols by decoupling the data plane and the control plane, which are currently integrated vertically in most network equipment.

SDN proposes a logically centralized architecture where the control entity (SDN controller) is responsible for providing an abstraction of network resources through Application Programming Interfaces (API). One of the main benefits of this architecture resides on the ability to perform control and management tasks of different wireless and wired network forwarding technologies (e.g., packet/flow switching or circuit switching) by means of the same network controller. The OpenFlow protocol is the most commonly deployed protocol for enabling SDN. It offers a logical switch abstraction, mapping high-level instructions of the protocol to hide vendor-specific hardware details, which mitigates inter-operability issues commonly found in multi-vendor deployments. This abstraction enables SDN to perform network virtualization, that is, to slice the physical infrastructure and create multiple co-existing network slices (virtual networks) independent of the underlying wireless or optical technology and network protocols. In a multi-tenant environment, these virtual networks can be independently controlled by their own instance of SDN control plane (e.g., virtual operators).

This project can be investigated by Matlab, NS3 Simulation and hardware setup.

Where you'll study



This project is self-funded.

Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps

If you wish to be considered for this project, we strongly advise you contact the proposed supervisory team. You will also need to formally apply for our Engineering and the Built Environment PhD. In the section of the application form entitled 'Outline research proposal', please quote the above title and include a research proposal.

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