User Story: Connecting to a live Cellular Radio System


This user story details one experience that the SoftFIRE team have had in develping ETE test capabilities that involve connection of a static Cellular Radio Access Network (RAN) to a virtualised Core Network (CN) to produce soft configured ETE LTE-A test network slice for experimenters to use.


The SoftFIRE team have spent some considerable time learning how to interconnct a static LTE-A RAN to virtualised Core Network components to provide  slices of ETE LTE-A infrastructure in an Infrastructuer as a Service (IaaS) form.

This is a description of what the 5GIC testbed team have sone to generate such IaaS slices that are accessible via the SoftFIRE OpenBaton Central MANO Orchestrator which is located in the Fokus testbed of the federated SotFIRE testbed.

5GIC planned a hard configured segment of the overall 5GIC RAN testbed that they wanted to expose to the SoftFIRE experimenters.  This was planned as a sensible size of geographical coverage to allow a short outdoor drive test and/or walk test as well as some indoor walk test coverage in a multi-storey building, across three floors.  The RAN segment was planned in terms of a number of base stations to be included in the exeperiment, a variery of type of base stations  (indoor or outdoor, single, dual or tri-sector and with some variety in resource capacity, i.e. some base stations with single carrier capability and  some with dual carrier aggregated capability.

The RAN segment was planned in terms of RAN  hard configured IP adderssses for endpoints for  i) User Plane, ii) the Control plane and the iii) Operations and Maintenacnce Centre per base station.

The core VNF components were allocated IP addressses as a pool for the target VMs instantiated.  The planning for core allows up to 2 x IP addresses per VNF.

A simple SDN flow plan was designed to connect the RAN to all potential installed VNFs that may be instantiated.

The LTE EPC Core Network VNFs (HSS, MME, SGWc, SWGu, PGWc, PGWu) and the Cluster Controller (CC) and Cluster Member, 5G evolved experimental core network functions, were were all loaded onto the local resource server at the 5GIC testbed as software images and their VNF Descriptors (VNFD) were constructed as YAML files and loadedonto the local resourcse server the Fokus tsetbed.

YAML Network Function Descriptors (NFD) were constructed to function chain the following NF’s together into NF’s:

Network Service Abbreviation List of VNFs included
Control Plane Node CPN HSS,MME, SGWc, PGWc
User Plane Node(Cluster Controller) UPN(CC) SGWu, PGWu, CC
USer Plane Node(Cluster Member) UPN(CM) SGWu, PGWu, CM

This rendered the ability to generate IaaS LTE-A ETE slices with 5G capabilities to experimenters from the Open Baton Controller and inatantiated on the 5GIC testbed.

Lesson Learned

  1.  Always ensure that the UE  IP address range is large enough for your all potential test mobiles being used in all of the experiments in operation at a time.
  2. Use addres ranges wherever possible in the SDN flow design to avoid line by line flow programming.

Leave a Reply