5GIC shows off new flat distributed cloud network

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The UK's 5G Innovation Centre has demonstrated flat distributed cloud (FDC) core network architecture, which it said would help 5G networks deploy rapidly, offer flexible services and add new features and updates quickly.

Researchers said the FDC network, which was demonstrated over an end to end LTE-Advanced system, would reduce installation and operational costs for operators and help to make 5G more cost efficient.

The architecture is based on off the shelf Intel-based server blades running the Linux operating system. It operates using the OpenBaton orchestrator and the OpenStack controller.

Researchers said this framework means operators can deploy virtual network services in around 10 minutes, without the need to perform upgrades on physical sites and offering the ability to buy software from different vendors.

Cisco, Huawei and Quortus were among the telcos taking part in the trial, which was held in association with the European Commission's Horizon 2020 virtualisation project SoftFire. It was launched 18 months ago in a bid to reduce deployment, operation and upgrade costs for operators.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Head of the 5GIC, said: “This successful demonstration of the FDC is a huge step forward towards the development of a viable 5G network that supports mobile broadband, Internet of things and high quality applications such as Ultra High Definition video, Virtual and Augmented Reality applications.

"The next step for the 5GIC team will be to demonstrate FDC-based network slicing – the partitioning of network resources for different purposes to create the perception of infinite capacity.”