Nokia to lead EU-backed 5G slicing project, MoNArch

The second phase of the European Union’s 5G PPP initiative has begun, and a string of projects are being announced, with a firmer focus on real world use cases than Phase One. Nokia is to lead the 5G MoNArch (Mobile Network Architecture) program, along with Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia Mobile and 11 others from six countries.

The partners aim to apply network slicing, one of the great promises of 5G, to practical vertical industry requirements. They will define an architecture, building on the work of a Phase One project, 5G NORMA, which was also led by Nokia.

Once defined, the 5G-MoNArch architecture will be deployed in two testbeds based on scenarios with demanding network requirements. The first will be at a sea port with a requirement for secure, reliable communications, and will be hosted by consortium partner the Hamburg Port Authority in Germany.  For each testbed, 5G-MoNArch will instantiate the architecture and extend it with use case specific functionality, such as resilience and security in this case.

The second test deployment will be in a busy tourist city center, as yet unnamed but expected to be in Germany or Italy because of the MNOs involved. The specific functionality in this case will be resource elasticity, to make an efficient use of network resources when mobile broadband demand is high.

The group will work on detailed specifications for these scenarios, which can then be applied more widely to practical solutions. Technologies to be explored include inter-slice control, cross-domain management, experiment-driven modelling and optimization, and the cloud-enabled protocol stack. The participants will evaluate the performance of the architecture and aim to improve resilience, security and resource elasticity.

The consortium partners say the project will feed its results into commercial developments by members and others, and expects it to affect the evolution of orchestrators and edge-cloud RAN, as well as new vertical market services enabled by slicing.

Peter Merz, head of end-to-end mobile networks solutions at Nokia Bell Labs, the vendor’s R&D arm, said: “5G PPP brings together a range of stakeholders from the communications technology sector and other industries. We follow a shared architecture of what the next generation communications infrastructure needs to look like to enable and meet the network demands of the next decade.”