Concept and Methodology

To conduct advanced field trials of most representative and innovative CAM applications seamlessly functioning across a designated 5G cross-border corridor (‘Via Baltica-North’) spanning across 3 EU member states borders (Latvia-Estonia-Finland) in order to validate the latest 5G features and 3GPP specifications under realistic conditions, so as to accelerate the widespread deployment of 5G E2E interoperable CAM ecosystems and services in digitised motorways, railways and shipways throughout Europe.

The 5G-ROUTES conceptual approach has been carefully structured along the following 3 pillars:

  1. Formulating and validating a wide set of innovative, complementary and meaningful advanced use cases directly relevant to CAM (also aligned with 3GPP V2X Phase 3) and cross-border mobility across the ‘Via Baltica-North’ 5G corridor (traversing Latvia, Estonia and Finland). In particular, validating the technical (i.e. network-level) and service-level performance conforming to >150 target 5G KPIs specified per use case.
  2. Providing the technological enablers for facilitating the execution of the field trials, and in particular:
    • Integrating in cross-border CAM field trials a set of innovative enabling technologies, such as AI-based network slicing and optimisation, AI-based distributed MEC for CAM services, AI-based 5G radio interface for innovative shared spectrum usage for CAM services, AI-based positioning enhancements for V2X, cross domain integration fabric for multi-domain interaction and service roaming, combined with commercial 5G base stations and other CAM complementary technologies, such as satellite 5G connectivity for serving remote areas, vehicular On-Board Units (OBUs), IEEE 802.11p in vehicles and FRMCS in railways.
    • Leveraging the KPI visualisation system the 5G-SOLUTIONS project and extending its functionality to incorporate the CAM use cases, thus enabling the parallel execution of use cases, automating the analysis and presentation of the results obtained from the trials and presenting them through an intuitive user-friendly dashboard in near-real time.
  3. Aligning the implementation roadmap of 5G-ROUTES roadmap with the latest 3GPP standardisation releases.

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The 5G-ROUTES technical approach is based on a modular architecture in which the various 5G CAM technological enablers are integrated via open interfaces and APIs. These enablers will facilitate the measurement and visualisation of 5G network and service-level KPIs of the use cases, in parallel, and in near real-time whilst exercised in the field, as well as benchmarking and access from multiple locations.

The high-level architectural approach of 5G-ROUTES (Figure above), and its constituent elements are based on the latter objectives. Each MNO will deploy an independent 3GPP-based 5G network (following the forthcoming R.16 & R.17 releases) and an ETSI compliant NFV Cloud solution with a Management and Orchestration stack at the core. The latter will support automatic resource scaling based on the workload, by leveraging ETSI compliant orchestration solutions. This provides the necessary flexibility for the system to adapt to new interfaces, data sources, GDPR compliant data processing, machine learning and other CAM and network services that may be required during the interfacing with the 5G infrastructure and CAM ecosystem. 

Both, the ETSI OSM and the ATOS Canopy Hybrid Cloud Orchestration solutions will be considered, as they offer compatibility with OpenStack as well as with Public Clouds, simplifying interoperability and CAM service roaming. The latter also provides access to Public Clouds’ AI engines. Furthermore, a MEC solution, in line with the ETSI GR MEC 022 specifications for V2X support and ETSI GR MEC 017 specifications5 will be deployed at the network Edge, to allow the re-use of ETSI NFV MANO functionality in both the Edge and Core clouds. CAM functions will be implemented as a collection of Core and Edge Services (or Virtual Network Functions – VNFs) and orchestrated by the NFV Orchestrator (NFVO) and the Mobile Edge Application Orchestrator (MEAO), respectively.

Finally, highspeed and low latency satellite links, based on a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation, will provide 5G backhauling in underserved areas. The main elements of the architecture are:

A 5G deployment with dynamic Network Slicing support.
The 5G-ROUTES networks will be validated over the emerging 3GPP releases R.16 & R.17, for the 5G RAN and Core. Furthermore, they will support zero-touch network slice management mechanisms through AI-based approaches that dynamically allocate resources by predicting the traffic patterns and user mobility behavior in real-time. This will help satisfy the demanding CAM service SLAs in vehicular use cases, supporting user roaming across borders.
A distributed Mobile Edge Computing (MEC)
A distributed Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) solution based on Ericsson’s Edge NFVI platform will be deployed in the 5G-ROUTES NFV environment. MEC is an effective approach in scenarios where computing capacity is required at the edge of the network and its role is pivotal to meeting the stringent requirements of eMBB and URLLC service classes. 5G-ROUTES will leverage Ericsson’s mature and powerful MEAO to distribute and continuously roam CAM services across all edge sites and across borders, taking into account mobility patterns
An integrated terrestrial-satellite 5G connectivity
An integrated terrestrial-satellite 5G connectivity realised through dual connectivity (terrestrial – SatCom) providing service continuity throughout cross-border and uncovered areas. This continuity is enabled by a seamless handover between 3GPP (5G terrestrial) and (un)trusted non-3GPP (satellite) accesses as discussed in the framework of 3GPP releases R.16 & R.17. This feature implies interfacing satellite operator traffic flow with the MNO core network considering control mechanism for handover triggering. This will provide a unique value proposition that extends beyond standalone backup 5G satellite connectivity.
An inter-domain integration fabric
An inter-domain integration fabric, compatible with ETSI ZSM specifications, which will facilitate cross-domain service management and CAM service roaming. While cloud and network resources in each domain will be managed independently by the MNO, cross-domain coordination is still needed such that the CAM services work seamlessly across borders. The integration fabric will allow management services, such as the VNF Manager, from different domains to publish and subscribe via appropriate APIs, facilitating real-time exchange of data and analytics. Hence, VNF Management & Orchestration decisions and SLAs remain consistent across MNOs.
Tenant Web Portal
The use of the Tenant Web Portal is considered as an important element to 5G-ROUTES to automate and accelerate the execution of the use cases running in parallel, as well as the analysis, benchmarking and presentation of the technical KPIs from cross-border field trials, whilst being in the field, by using big-data graph analytics and cloud-computing for rapid and automated processing of the vast amount of data obtained from the trials. The portal interacts with the 5G enabling technologies through relevant open standards intent-based APIs. To realise the portal, the KPI visualisation system developed as part of 5GSOLUTIONS project will be leveraged and extended so as to cover multi-tenancy in the cloud, the cross-border context and the additional KPIs in each of the use cases.