SoftAir: Software-Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization Solutions for 5G Cellular Systems
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One of the main building blocks and major challenges for 5G cellular systems is the design of flexible network architectures, which can be realized by the paradigm of software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). Existing commercial cellular systems rely on closed and inflexible hardware-based architectures both at the radio frontend and in the core network. These problems significantly delay the adoption and deployment of new standards, impose great challenges in implementing new techniques to maximize the network capacity and coverage, and prevent provisioning of truly-differentiated services for highly variable traffic patterns. The objective of this thesis is to introduce an innovative software-defined architecture for 5G cellular systems, called SoftAir. First, a detailed overview is provided for priori wireless SDN architecture solutions. Second, the SoftAir architecture is introduced with key design elements. Third, four essential management tools for SoftAir are developed. Last, novel software-defined traffic engineering, enabled by SoftAir, are proposed. Through the synergy of SDN and NFV, SoftAir enables the next-generation cellular networks with the needed flexibility for evolving and adapting to the ever-changing network context, and lays out the foundation for 5G wireless software-defined cellular systems.
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