NEC has joined the Superfluidity project being run by the European H2020 5G Public-Private (5G PPP) initiative, which will define and develop a converged cloud-based 5G virtual network and service platform distributed over the mobile edge and core of 5G networks extending up to data centres.
Superfluidity will in this way enable innovative use cases and empower new business models that require very fast mobility of network and service functions close to end users.
The Superfluidity consortium comprises 18 partners including telco and IT players (leading telecom industry vendors, operators, IT companies, small and medium-sized enterprises) and academic institutions.
Superfluidity is defined as “a state in which matter behaves like a fluid with zero viscosity”. The Superfluidity project aims at achieving superfluidity in the 5G network: i.e., the ability to instantiate services on-the-fly, run them anywhere in the network (core, aggregation, edge) and shift them transparently to different locations.
The Superfluidity project tackles crucial shortcomings in today’s networks and aims at improving today’s long provisioning times, with wasteful over-provisioning used to meet variable demand. Superfluidity will softwarize the network infrastructure departing from the usage of rigid and cost-ineffective hardware devices.
NEC, telecom industry vendors, operators, IT companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and academia in Europe and Asia are working together to tackle such issues designing a 5G network and service platform.
Superfluidity aims to revolutionise the design of the network architecture by providing high performance network components and services decomposed into elementary and reusable small “software units” which will be embedded into a native, converged cloud-based architecture.
The work is planned for a period of 30 months, which started on the 1st of July 2015.
As a result, the “superfluid” 5G network will enjoy:
i) location independence of network services in heterogeneous networks
ii) time independence via instantaneous deployment and migration of services
iii) scale independence for almost unlimited and transparent service scalability
iv) hardware independence via development and deployment of services with high performance irrespective of the underlying hardware.
Consortium members include:
Vendors and IT: NEC, Alcatel Lucent (Technical Coordinator), Citrix, Intel, OnApp, Red Hat.
Operators: British Telecom, PT Inovação e Sistemas, S.A., Telefónica, Investigación y Desarrollo, S.A.U..
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: EBlink, Telcaria Ideas S.L., Unified Streaming.
Academia: CNIT (Project Coordinator), University Ben Gurion, University of Liège, University of Technology Dresden, University Politehnica of Bucharest.
NEC outlined its vision for Network Evolution toward 2020 and Beyond at MWC 2015: The “Network 2020” will facilitate the easy fusion of ICT platforms and the network across various industries, using high-capacity, low-latency, power-saving, flexible architecture based on SDN/NFV and C-RAN technology.