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With joint forces to a multiservice network architecture for 5G

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  • Deutsche Telekom is among a consortium of 13 partners from industry and academia in the 5G NORMA project
  • The project, as part of the 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (5GPPP) initiative, focuses on developing a multiservice mobile network architecture for 5G
  • 5G NORMA project aims to underpin Europe’s leadership position in 5G

Deutsche Telekom has joined forces with other operators, industry vendors, IT companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and academia in Europe to develop a novel, adaptive and future-proof mobile network architecture for the 5G era. As part of the 5GPPP initiative, 5G NORMA (5G Novel Radio Multiservice adaptive network Architecture) will propose an end-to-end architecture that takes into consideration both Radio Access Network (RAN) and Core Network aspects. The consortium will be working over a period of 30 months, beginning in July 2015, to meet the key objectives of creating and disseminating innovative concepts on the mobile network architecture for the 5G era.

There will be a need for super fast and reliable connectivity with virtually zero latency for use cases such as remote control of robots, and support for billions of sensors and things. 5G will also need to provide consistent and high quality connectivity for people and things. In addition, 5G networks will combine revolutionary technologies and existing mobile radio generations, as well as Wi-Fi, into a new system. A new mobile network architecture is required to manage these complex multi-layer and multi-technology networks, and to build in flexibility even for applications that are yet to be envisioned.

With the 5G NORMA project, leading players in the mobile ecosystem aim to underpin Europe’s leadership position in 5G. The NORMA approach breaks away from the rigid legacy network paradigm. It will on-demand adapt the use of the mobile network (RAN and Core Network) resources to the service requirements, the variations of the traffic demands over time and location, and the network topology, which include the available front/backhaul capacity.

The consortium envisions the architecture will enable unprecedented levels of network customizability to ensure that stringent performance, security, cost and energy requirements are met. It will also provide an API-driven architectural openness, fueling economic growth through over-the-top innovation.

The technical approach is based on the innovative concept of adaptive (de)composition and allocation of network functions, which flexibly decomposes the network functions and places the resulting functions in the most appropriate location. By doing so, access and core functions may no longer reside in different locations, which is exploited to jointly optimize their operation whenever possible. The adaptability of the architecture is further strengthened by the innovative software-defined mobile network control and mobile multi-tenancy concepts and underpinned by corroborating demonstrations.

A socio-economic analysis of the benefits of 5G NORMA innovations will also be conducted. This will determine the value to the wireless industry, the users in society and the public sphere of enhanced services enabled by the proposed architecture.

Dr. Werner Mohr, Chairman of the 5GPPP Association and Head of Research Alliances for Nokia Networks, said: "5G is not only about new radio access technology, network architecture will play an important role as well. 5G networks will have to be programmable, software driven and managed holistically to enable a diverse range of services in a profitable way. With 5G NORMA, the consortium aims to ensure economic sustainability of the network operation and open opportunities for new players, while leveraging a future-proof architecture in a cost- and energy-effective way."

"Deutsche Telekom will continue to lead further development and standardization of 5G technology as an engaged partner in European initiatives," says Rachid El Hattachi, SVP Technology Architecture & Blueprints, Deutsche Telekom. "A key part of our vision for 5G is to redefine the network to adaptively support a wide range of new uses. The embedded flexibility of a multiservice mobile network architecture is essential to this concept."

The activities in 5G NORMA build on the architectural requirements and design principles defined in the White Paper published by the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) alliance. Plus, 5G NORMA is a continuation of DT’s research and innovation activities started within the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) with the Mobile and wireless communications Enablers for the Twenty-twenty Information Society (METIS) project.

El Hattachi: "In DT’s 5G:haus, we work together with leading industry partners to drive the development of key 5G technologies through feasibility trials and delivering proof of concepts. Our participation in this program is an opportunity to actively align the corroborating 5G NORMA demonstrations with the activities of 5G:haus."

The consortium will be working over a period of 30 months, beginning in July 2015. Key objectives include the creation and dissemination of innovative concepts on the 5G mobile network architecture for the 5G era. Some of these may be captured in products or patents, while others may emerge from the process and working engagements. Emphasis will also be placed on commercialization, including partnerships and start-up creation.

Industry players included in the consortium:

Vendors and IT: Alcatel-Lucent, NEC, Nokia Networks, ATOS
Operators: Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Azcom Technology, Nomor Research, Real Wireless
Academia: University Kaiserslautern in Germany, Kings College London, University Carlos III Madrid

About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies with around 151 million mobile customers, 30 million fixed-network lines and more than 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2014). The Group provides fixed network, mobile communications, Internet and IPTV products and services for consumers and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in more than 50 countries and has approximately 228,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 62.7 billion in the 2014 financial year – more than 60 percent of it outside Germany.

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