Journal article Open Access

Manufactured by Software: SDN-Enabled Multi-Operator Composite Services with the 5G Exchange

Gergely Biczok; Manos Dramitinos; Laszlo Toka; Poul E. Heegaard; Hakon Lonsethagen

Foreseen 5G verticals hold the promise of being true value-added services, hence bringing significant income to their respective providers. However, the nature of these verticals are very demanding in terms of both economic and technical requirements, such as multi-operator cooperation, end-to-end quality assurance, and the unified orchestration of network and cloud resources. Existing systems fall short of satisfying these requirements, but emerging network softwarization and resource virtualization technologies, such as SDN and NFV, show promise for being key enablers in this context. In this article, we introduce the 5G Exchange (5GEx) concept that builds on SDN and NFV, and facilitates the provisioning of multi-operator 5G services by means of inter-operator management and orchestration of virtualized network, compute, and storage resources. We present potential 5GEx use cases, conceptual architecture, and value proposition. We also outline open research questions on how to exchange information in such a coopetitive environment, and provide an outlook on the impact of 5GEx on a network service provider's business and operation.

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