It is true to say that PRISTINE does not directly address 5G wireless access networks, but instead proposes a broader evolution of network architecture that can also encompass its mobile counterpart. The hardest challenges of the future 5G standard are not in addressing specific radio access technologies, but on defining an adaptive network architecture that is capable of supporting a wide range of device capabilities, multiple connectivity models and heterogeneous application areas with their specific requirements.
RINA fits very well this role since each DIF in the architecture can be fully customized to the capabilities of the different devices and/or the requirements of different application areas (such as e-health, self-driving cars, consumer electronics, home automation, content distribution, ad-hoc mobile networks, etc.)
5G Challenge – Reducing the average service creation time cycle from 90 hours to 90 minutes:
The IPC model offers the same unified API at all the network layers, so new applications can be quickly integrated (at any logical network layer). In addition, the network stack is highly configurable (via policies), to better suit specialist application demands. One can change as much or as little as needed (e.g. amount of logical layers, security, addressing, etc.) to suit the scenario.
5G Challenge – Creating a secure, reliable and dependable Internet with a “zero perceived” downtime for services provision:
RINA provides integrated security, configurable addressing, and routing resiliency. Mobility and multi-homing are built in, distributed within each layer and without a single point of failure. Add the inbuilt QoS support, and applications perceive a more predicable network with seamless dependability.
5G Challenge – Facilitating very dense deployments of wireless communication links to connect over 7 trillion wireless devices serving over 7 billion people:
The flat nature of IP (v4 and v6) addressing means routing tables have to grow to accommodate accessible devices (and the people operating them). Given devices can roam, they can have multiple points of attachment to one or more networks. Mobile IP is not efficient to manage this, and provides a single point of failure. RINA offers a recursive layer model, resulting in smaller layer routing tables, where mobility is just an update of a lower layer address. The result provides an improved scaling solution to meet 5G estimations.
Significant portions of the 5G infrastructure will be targeted at providing “workarounds” for the shortcomings of IP. RINA recursive layering can act as an inspiration for re-thinking how mobility, resiliency, multi-homing and routing are managed in an elegant, efficient, predictable and comprehensive way.
Next generation wireless networks will rely heavily on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). PRISTINE’s results provide a RINA approach to NFV and also addresses network architecture from a SDN viewpoint.
In contrast to the incremental evolutions seen for 4G and previous wireless standards, the 5G network architecture will present a new, clean-slate approach. To that extent, RINA presents a clean-slate architectural concept that can be leveraged for the 5G’s backhaul, fronthaul and Radio Access Network.
Network heterogeneity is also a key aspect to be addressed by 5G, since extreme density and heterogeneous networks are foreseen to account for the expected 5G data rate increase (roughly 1000× with respect to 4G). In this regard, RINA’s recursive approach addresses the management of heterogeneous networks (HetNets) in an efficient way.