European Commission R&D Projects

Upcoming

EU Horizon SNS - Beyond 5G Artificial Intelligence Assisted Energy Efficient Open Radio Access Network (BeGreen)

BeGREEN will take a holistic view to provide evolving radio networks that not only accommodate increasing traffic and service levels but also consider power consumption as a factor. Determining the metrics by which power consumption should be included is a key feature of the project. An obvious first stage will be to consider the cost of the energy but also societal factors, linked to the necessary reduction in global emissions will also be considered. The different mechanisms by which power consumption could be reduced will be evaluated. At a hardware level, techniques will include improvement of the energy efficiency of power amplifiers and the appropriate use of accelerators to reduce power consumption relative to the use of generic compute platforms when performing network function virtualisation. At the link level, techniques to provide a better estimate of the impact of the radio channel will be considered and the resulting improvement in spectral efficiency balanced against the increased power consumption associated with the resulting calculations. At a system level, new nodes and architectures are considered that move away from the assumption that additional capacity requires installation of new base-stations. These architectural considerations will include Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RIS) and cell-free architectures that could provide a better distribution of radio power around an area when compared to the centralised cellular approach. To achieve the expected hardware, link-level and system-level benefits, research into some fundamental capabilities are required. The use of AI/ML techniques provides a solution to reduce the number of calculations required when compared to a more traditional approach. AI/ML can also be used to recognise patterns in the system level data associated with the behaviour of the user base and to learn the most appropriate response to this behaviour in terms of both network performance and also energy consumption. The location at which these AI/ML operations are carried out within the network will also have an impact on the performance of the approach, the consumption of power and the ability to share resources between different operations. The movement of data around the network to the appropriate location for calculations to be carried out also requires the definitions of new interfaces and protocols to enable the data to be processed in an open architecture of virtualised network functions. For this reason, the project will assume that the emerging O-RAN standard and its evolution is the baseline architecture. The disaggregation, virtualisation and network and service management capabilities inherent in O-RAN provide the mechanisms to realise many of the infrastructure changes and techniques for energy optimisation discussed above. A priority for BeGREEN will be to establish a solid techno-economic basis for assessment of technology choices where energy efficiency is an explicit characteristic rather than an afterthought. With 5G networks being rolled out across the globe, and technologies addressing 6G use cases being actively debated in academic and industrial fora, there is still surprisingly little analysis of the actual impact of specific engineering choices made by the technical community in development of 5G. This project will take an evidence-based assessment of current and emerging radio access technology choices to expose the practical energy cost of cutting-edge technologies to help community achieve energy consumption targets.

UNICO5G - Open6G

Open Radio Access Networks (O-RANs) is a major carrier-led effort to disaggregate the next generation of virtualized RANs for multi-vendor deployments. It is aimed at disrupting the vRAN ecosystem by breaking vendors lock-in and opening up a market that has been traditionally dominated by a small set of players. When successful, Open RANs will unleash an unprecedented level of innovation in the 6G space by lowering the market entrance barrier to new competitors. Harnessing the strengths of Opening the radio access arena, however, entails a number of daunting challenges that need to be addressed. First, managing the increased complexity of Open RAN 6G networks with traditional human-in-the-loop approaches will not be possible anymore. Instead, zero-touch technologies that fully automate the network operation will become the standard, and the success of 6G will vastly depend on the quality of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that will run at schedulers, controllers, and orchestrators across network domains, and de-facto manage the infrastructure. While Open RAN interfaces will facilitate AI network management operations, new challenges will be introduced in terms of network data processing and timely management actions decisions. Second, 6G Networks should enable the Internet of Senses as the society evolves towards its full Digital Transformation. Wireless-based Sensing will thus become a key technology to fulfil the Digital Twins vision across industries but the need of deploying dedicated equipment for this purpose and its corresponding intensive processing might jeopardize its implementation in practice. Finally, as Smart Surfaces get increasingly incorporated into 6G systems, a new complexity dimension will be added for Open RAN systems to be managed. The new degree of freedom for configuring them both for communication and sensing purposes will raise yet a new challenge in the AI-driven automation of networks to jointly meet all needs simultaneously in a single mobile system. Open6G will build on the Open RAN efforts ongoing today to tackle the aforementioned challenges by i) exploring the limits of AI-driven network automation in future 6G systems, ii) designing cost-efficient joint mobile communications and sensing solutions, iii) seamlessly integrating smart surfaces into AI-driven automated joint communications and sensing 6G systems and iv) designing and developing an Open 6G Testing Platform for novel networking and sensing applications comprising smart surfaces.

RETOS - HoloMIT 2.0

HoloMIT 2.0 is a key enabler for the next-generation Metaverse by providing outstanding real-time interactive and collaborative holoportation (i.e. holographic tele-transportation) services, with volumetric users representations, over open heterogeneous 5G and beyond ecosystems. On the one hand, the project will contribute with a modular and adaptive end-to-end holo-portation platform and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) leveraging the edge - cloud continuum and the capabilities of programmatic and elastic network architectures to increase the performance, adaptability and scalability of holo-portation services. On the other hand, the project will contribute with novel accessibility-powered multi-modal features to enable truly interactive and collaborative multi-party holo-portation services in a variety of use cases (e.g., training, culture, corporate meetings, gamification), to be also explored and selected within the project via user-centric activities. The envisioned technological contributions will be backward-compatible with current infrastructure and off-the-shelf equipment, as well as based on standards-compliant extensions to current technologies, protocols and formats. This will increase the chances of successful deployment and adoption, avoiding interoperability issues, but also the ability to incorporate new (even third-party) functionalities and other alternative components to the HoloMIT 2.0 platform. Likewise, the projects contributions will be assessed, validated and demonstrated in a variety of pilot actions over real 5G and beyond scenarios, by leveraging own available network and processing infrastructure. In essence, HoloMIT 2.0 will provide beyond state-of-the-art contributions in the networking and immersive technologies domains, with high potential in different verticals, and bringing sustainability, societal and economic impact

HORIZON-MSCA-2021-DN-01-101072924-INTEGRATE

As the standardization of 5G wireless networks progresses, the research community has started focusing on what 6G will be. Motivated by the need of ensuring high data-rates, while at the same time saving spectrum, a major technology that has been proposed for 6G is the integration of communication and sensing services in the same infrastructure. This enables wireless networks to perceive the surrounding environments, triggering new services and leading to a more efficient use of resources. The INTEGRATE project focuses on the theoretical, algorithmic, and architectural foundations of integrated communication and sensing networks, developing the first open access network-level simulator for joint communication and sensing. To this end, a new implementation of wireless transceiver is proposed, which leverages the use of reconfigurable holographic surfaces and allows the integration of communication and sensing with remarkable performance while at the same time reducing the energy consumption. Specifically, INTEGRATE will: 1) Develop reconfigurable holographic surfaces capable of supporting joint communication and sensing tasks and that can be integrated in wireless transceivers with minimal cost and energy requirements. 2) Characterize the fundamental performance limits of integrated communication and sensing networks, developing an algorithmic framework and protocol suite to approach these limits. 3) Build the first open access software simulation platform for joint communication and sensing networks.

Current

RISE6G

Targeting the 2030 horizon, 6G networks are poised to pave the way for sustainable human-centered smart societies and vertical industries, such that wireless networks will be transformed into a distributed smart connectivity infrastructure, where new terminal types are embedded in the daily environment. In this context, the RISE-6G project aims at investigating innovative solutions that capitalize on the latest advances in the emerging technology of Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RISs), which offers dynamic and goal-oriented radio wave propagation control, enabling the concept of the wireless environment as a service.

DAEMON

The DAEMON H2020 european project develops and implements innovative and pragmatic approaches to Network Intelligence (NI) design that enable high performance, sustainable and extremely reliable zero-touch network system. DAEMON designs an end-to-end NI-native architecture for Beyond 5G (B5G) that fully coordinates NI-assisted functionalities.

SPIRS

SPIRS encompasses the complete design of a platform, so-called SPIRS platform, which integrates a hardware dedicated Root of Trust (RoT) and a processor core with the capability of offering a full suite of security services. Furthermore, the SPIRS platform will be able to leverage this capability to support privacy-respectful attestation mechanisms and enable trusted communication channels across 5G infrastructures and the respective management domains.

5G-ERA

5G-ERA (5G Enhanced Robot Autonomy), aims alongside all other ICT-41 projects to provide an enhanced 5G experimentation facility and relevant Network Applications (NetApps) for 3rd party application developers so as to provide them with a 5G experimentation playground to test and qualify their applications. 5G-ERA addresses the new challenges on experimental facilities for the vertical developers and designers in the field of robotic applications

MonB5G

Concept: A hierarchical, fault-tolerant, automated data driven network management system that incorporates security as well as energy efficiency as key features, in order to orchestrate a massive number of parallel network slices and significantly more diverse types of services in an adaptive and zero-touch way. Aim: A zero-touch management and orchestration in the support of network slicing at massive scales for 5G LTE and beyond. It proposes a novel autonomic management and orchestration framework, heavily leveraging distribution of operations together with state-of-the-art data-driven AI-based mechanisms. Architecture: MonB5G will split the centralized management system into several management sub-systems, distributing both the intelligence as well as the decision making across various components, as described earlier. Each technological domain may have one or several distributed management elements.

CERVERA - INTEGRA

El objetivo de la Red de Excelencia Cervera INTEGRA es el desarrollo y capacitación de Centros Tecnológicos referentes en sus respectivos campos de especialización científico-tecnológica para abordar soluciones tecnológicas que permitan una conducción autónoma y conectada ultra-segura en entornos urbanos complejos que definirán el Transporte Inteligente del futuro. Dentro de esta temática, los campos de actividad contemplados se centran en: i) Conducción autónoma y conectada de alta seguridad y sistemas de evasión de colisión; ii) Seguridad integral y protección del ocupante en entornos de conducción autónoma; iii) Nuevas herramientas de simulación de entornos conectados; y iv) Tecnologías de seguridad para transporte y distribución de mercancías autónomo de última milla.

CDTI - Intelligent University Campus

En el ámbito de sus funciones, la Región de Murcia, a través de la Consejería de Empleo, Investigación y Universidades ha detectado la necesidad de dotar a la Universidad de Murcia, como el centro de producción de conocimiento, talento y transferencia de conocimiento a la sociedad más importante de la Región, de un campus inteligente, como ejemplo de un campus desarrollado sosteniblemente, inteligente a través de la aplicación de tecnología de frontera, altamente conectado y cuyos beneficios en su desarrollo pueden mejorar la calidad de vida y el bienestar de la comunidad universitaria y de la sociedad, que puede ser resuelta a través de un proceso de contratación precomercial de servicios de I+D, ya que las soluciones existentes en el mercado no satisfacen la referida necesidad.

MINTS - European Training Network on MIllimeter-wave NeTworking and Sensing for Beyond 5G

Europe has been at the very forefront of telecommunication technology since the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) standard. However, maintaining this position in today’s market has become a tremendous challenge. The growth of the EU’s telecommunication market is decelerating due to high market saturation and declining average revenue per user. Furthermore, new international players are aggressively expanding their global market share at the expense of traditional European equipment vendors, and without dramatic innovation to open up new markets and exploiting new technology innovatively, EU’s telecommunication industry is at risk. Communication for industry 4.0 applications and autonomous driving are some of the examples for such highly promising new use cases that will open up new high-margin telecommunication markets. Since conventional wireless technologies such as 4G LTE and WiFi on sub-6GHz frequency bands with data rates of at best a few hundred Megabits-per-second (Mbps) are insufficient to meet the high throughput, latency, and reliability demands of such applications, moving to millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies has been under investigation over the past years with the specific purpose of significantly improving network throughput performance and enabling new applications.

MSCA-ITN 5GSmartFact

5GSmartFact is an MSCA-ITN project funded by the EU whose objective is to study, develop, optimize and assess the deployment of 5G networks that target the IIoT requirements (in terms of availability, ultra-low latency, reliability, amount of supported devices, localization accuracy and energy efficiency) in factory environments, and exploit them to integrate factory applications (especially those related to robot-control and robot navigation) which might lead to a complete redesign of networked robot architectures and hence to a leap forward in the industry automation.

Past

5GROWTH

The vision of the 5GROWTH project is to empower verticals industries through AI-driven Automated 5G technologies enabling the simultaneous use of the infrastructure among multiple verticals and applications (Industry 4.0, Transportation, Energy) while fulfilling their KPIs despite their extremely diverse range of networking and computing service requirements. In order to do so, 5GROWTH will automate the process for supporting diverse industry verticals through (i) a vertical portal in charge of interfacing verticals with the 5G platforms, (ii) closed-loop automation and SLA control for vertical services lifecycle management and (iii) AI-driven end-to-end network slicing solutions to jointly optimize RAN, Transport, Core and cloud/MEC resources, across multiple technologies and domains (federation). The main objective of 5GROWTH is the technical and business validation of 5G technologies from the verticals’ point of view, following a field-trial-based approach on vertical sites (TRL 6-7). Multiple different vertical industries (Comau, Efacec, Innovalia) will be field-trialled on 3 vertical-owned sites in close collaboration with the vendors (Ericsson, Interdigital, NEC, Nokia) and operators (Altice, Telecom Italia, Telefonica) in the project. 5GROWTH will leverage on results of 5GPPP Phase 2 projects where slicing, virtualization and multi-domain solutions for the creation and on-boarding of vertical services are being developed and validated, e.g. 5G-TRANSFORMER and 5G-MONARCH. Two ICT-17-2018 5G end-to-end platforms, 5G-EVE and 5G-VINNI, have been selected for the Trials to demonstrate the 5GROWTH specific vertical use cases. In terms of impact towards standardisation bodies (SDOs) involving vertical actors, 5GROWTH builds on a Standardization Advisory Committee comprising key members of relevant SDOs. In addition to the impact on vertical-oriented standards (e.g., EN50126 (IEC62278) for railway signalling), the verticals in the consortium will have a key role towards influencing 5G standardization by leveraging on industrial partners with leading and active experts in SDOs such as 3GPP, ETSI MEC, ETSI NFV, ETSI ENI, ITU-T FG ML5G/NET2030.

5G-CARMEN

European mobility is drastically changing: growing urbanisation, environmental aspects, and safety are only a few of the key indicators pointing in this direction. Road infrastructures and vehicles are blending with the digital world, becoming always-connected, automated and intelligent, delivering optimal experience to passengers, and addressing societal goals (e.g., emission and accident reduction) and economic needs (e.g., vehicles as smart-living environments). In this respect, the European Union pushes for large-scale collaborative cross-border validation activities on cooperative, connected and automated mobility. 5G-CARMEN addresses these challenges harnessing the concept of “Mobility Corridors”. In 5G-CARMEN important European industries, academics and innovative SMEs commit to achieve world-wide impact by conducting extensive trials across an important corridor (by people/goods traffic volumes), from Bologna to Munich, spanning 600 km of roads, connecting three European regions (Bavaria, Tirol and Trentino/South-Tyrol) across three countries. 5G-CARMEN will realise a 5G-enabled corridor to validate a set of innovative Cooperative, Connected, and Automated Mobility (CCAM) use cases from both business and technical perspectives. To achieve this, 5G-CARMEN will leverage on the most recent 5G technology enablers, including 5G NR, C-V2X interfaces, Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), end-to-end network slicing, highly accurate positioning and timing, and predictive quality of service. The neutral host model will be used in order to enable this vision. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), Over-the-Top (OTT) providers, and service providers will have access to a multi-tenant platform that supports the automotive sector transformation towards delivering safer, greener, and more intelligent transportation with the ultimate goal of enabling self-driving cars.

SPOTLIGHT

A European Training Network for Beyond 2020 Mobile Data Networks. To handle the unprecedented demand for mobile data traffic, different vendors, operators and research programmes have aimed to develop radio access technologies (RATs) that boost physical-layer link capacity, utilize millimeter wave radio, or further densify network topology. Notable steps have also been made towards shifting baseband processing from the (currently) ultra dense network edge to a central location where coordinated resource management will be performed. Nonetheless, the today's mobile network ecosystem includes vastly heterogeneous, evidently overlapping (in coverage) and fully isolated (in operation) attachment points that still handle most of the functions necessary for mobile data communications independently. Aiming to meet and surpass the requirements set for the 5G and Beyond mobile data network, in SPOTLIGHT we will create a fully-integrated and multi-disciplinary network of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) that will analyze, design, and optimize the performance of a disruptive new mobile network architecture: the SPOTLIGHT architecture. This architecture promises to break performance limitations present to the currently loosely inter-connected, resource-fragmented and isolated in operation mobile network ecosystem, by transforming the currently loosely-coupled multitude of heterogeneous and multi-layered RATs to a flat coalition of massively distributed antenna sub-systems that are optimally orchestrated by a cloud-empowered network core. Our primary aim will be to support for the first time self-including yet ultra-reliable radio communications at the edge network. To further reduce response time and enhance network resilience, all functions necessary for mobile communications will be subject of i) massive parallelization in cloud platforms at the network core and ii) big data analysis running on-top of a virtual pool of shared energy, radio, computing and storage resources at the network.

5G-TRANSFORMER

5G-Transformer aims to transform today’s mobile transport network into an SDN/NFV-based Mobile Transport and Computing Platform (MTP), which brings the “Network Slicing” paradigm into mobile transport networks by provisioning and managing MTP slices tailored to the specific needs of vertical industries. The technical approach is twofold: Enable vertical industries to meet their service requirements within customised MTP slices; and Aggregate and federate transport networking and computing fabric, from the edge all the way to the core and cloud, to create and manage MTP slices throughout a federated virtualized infrastructure. The goal of 5G-Transformer is to design, implement and demonstrate a 5G platform that addresses the aforementioned challenges. It defines three novel building blocks that will be developed and demonstrated integrating multiple vertical industries: (1) Vertical Slicer as the logical entry point (i.e., one stop shop) for verticals to support the creation of their respective transport slices in a short time-scale (in the order of minutes). (2) Service Orchestrator to orchestrate the federation of transport networking and computing resources from multiple domains and manage their allocation to slices. (3) Mobile Transport and Computing Platform as the underlying unified transport stratum for integrated fronthaul and backhaul networks.

5G-AURA

The vision of future 5G networks encompasses a heterogeneous communication landscape in which existing Radio Access Technologies (RATs) will be integrated with evolving wireless technologies and systems, software-design network architectures and cloud-enabled services. Effectively harnessing the potential of all these innovative and heterogeneous features and providing a programmable multi-tenant network architectural framework will be the key to the success of 5G, and will be the main objective of the 5G-AURA project. Instead of focusing separately on the optimization of the diverse technological and architectural components, our efforts will be concentrated on providing a unifying framework that will sustain the coexistence and coordination of networking, software and cloud technologies, ensure network programmability and efficient resource orchestration, minimize control and signalling overhead, support multi-tenancy and scalability, and promote the development of new business models for emerging services. To efficiently achieve these objectives, 5G-AURA has identified 12 specific research challenges which have been mapped to 14 individual projects that will be carried out by 14 recruited ESRs. The project’s consortium, formed by four academic institutions and four industrial partners, has the necessary expertise and available infrastructures to form a high quality training network across multiple disciplines, sectors and countries. Considering that 5G is currently in an early development state and there are multiple open issues on 5G protocols, network architectures and technologies and standardization efforts, the timing of 5G-AURA is perfect, and the project has a strong potential to have significant impact on academia and industry and enhance the European innovation capacity in terms of technical contributions, intersectoral training of scientists and professional and novel business opportunities.

5G-Crosshaul(Xhaul)

Mobile data traffic is forecasted to increase 11-fold between 2013 and 2018. 5G networks serving this mobile data tsunami will require fronthaul and backhaul solutions between the RAN and the packet core capable of dealing with this increased traffic load while fulfilling new stringent 5G service requirements in a cost-efficient manner. The 5G-Crosshaul project aims at developing a 5G integrated backhaul and fronthaul transport network enabling a flexible and software-defined reconfiguration of all networking elements in a multi-tenant and service-oriented unified management environment. The 5G-Crosshaul transport network envisioned will consist of high-capacity switches and heterogeneous transmission links (e.g., fibre or wireless optics, high-capacity copper, mmWave) interconnecting Remote Radio Heads, 5GPoAs (e.g., macro and small cells), cloud-processing units (mini data centres), and points-of-presence of the core networks of one or multiple service providers. This transport network will flexibly interconnect distributed 5G radio access and core network functions, hosted on in-network cloud nodes, through the implementation of: (i) a control infrastructure using a unified, abstract network model for control plane integration (Xhaul Control Infrastructure, XCI); (ii) a unified data plane encompassing innovative high-capacity transmission technologies and novel deterministic-latency switch architectures (Xhaul Packet Forwarding Element, XFE). Demonstration and validation of the 5G-Crosshaul technology components developed will be integrated into a software-defined flexible and reconfigurable 5G Test-bed in Berlin. Mobility-related experiments will be performed using Taiwan’s high- speed trains. KPI targets evaluated will include among others a 20% network capacity increase, latencies <1 ms and 30% TCO reduction. The 5G-Crosshaul proposal addresses the ICT 14-2014 call of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-15 with a special focus on the P7 objectives defined by the 5GPPP IA

5G-NORMA

The 5G NORMA project is one of the 5G-PPP projects under of the Horizon 2020 framework. 5G NORMA aims to develop a novel mobile network architecture that provides the necessary adaptability in a resource efficient way able to handle fluctuations in traffic demand resulting from heterogeneous and dynamically changing service portfolios and to changing local context. The developed “multi-service and context-aware adaptation of network functions” will allow for a resource-efficient support of these varying scenarios and help to increase energy-efficiency by always selecting the most energy efficient option. The “mobile network multi-tenancy” approach to be developed by 5G NORMA will leverage the adaptability and efficiency of network functions and enable an inherent and dynamic sharing and distribution of network resources between operators. This will allow operators to increase their revenue through the new services, while leveraging the efficiency of the architecture to do so in a cost-effective way. 5G NORMA will apply concepts from software-defined networking (SDN) and network virtualization (NFV), and, in the long-term, will result in enhanced and flexible 5G base stations, software-based centralized controllers and software-based RAN elements. 5G NORMA work is substantiated by the leading players in the mobile communications ecosystem and aim to underpin Europe’s leadership position in this global design effort. Deliverables will include technical innovations, commercial opportunities and societal benefits.

SONATA

Virtualisation and software networks are a major disruptive technology for communications networks, enabling services to be deployed as software functions running directly in the network on commodity hardware. However, deploying the more complex user-facing applications and services envisioned for 5G networks presents significant technological challenges for development and deployment. SONATA addresses both issues. For service development, SONATA provides service patterns and description techniques for composed services. A customised SDK is developed to boost the efficiency of developers of network functions and composed services, by integrating catalogue access, editing, debugging, and monitoring analysis tools with service packaging for shipment to an operator. For deployment, SONATA provides a novel service platform to manage service execution. The platform complements the SDK with functionality to validate service packages. Moreover, it improves on existing platforms by providing a flexible and extensible orchestration framework based on a plugin architecture. Thanks to SONATA’s platform service developers can provide custom algorithms to steer the orchestration of their services: for continuous placement, scaling, life-cycle management and contextualization of services. These algorithms are overseen by executives in the service platform, ensuring trust and resolving any conflict between services. By combining rapid development and deployment in an open and flexible manner, SONATA is realising an extended DevOps model for network stakeholders. SONATA validates its approach through novel use-case-driven pilot implementations and disseminates its results widely by releasing its key SDK and platform components as open source software, through scientific publications and standards contributions, which, together, will have a major impact on incumbent stakeholders including network operators and manufacturers and will open the market to third-party developers.

MOBILE CLOUD NETWORKING

The Mobile Cloud Networking (MCN) is a EU FP7 Large-scale Integrating Project (IP) funded by the European Commission. MCN project was launched in November 2012 for the period of 36 month. The project is coordinated by SAP, and ZHAW is the technical leader. In total top-tier 19 partners from industry and academia commit to jointly establish the vision of Mobile Cloud Networking. The project is primarily motivated (see Motivation) by an ongoing transformation that drives the convergence between the Mobile Communications and Cloud Computing industry enabled by the Internet. These observations led to a number of objectives (see Vision) to be investigated, implemented, and evaluated over the course of the project.

iJOIN

Future mobile networks will have to provide an exceptionally greater traffic volume in the near future, expecting an increase of up to 500-1000 times today's throughput by 2020. Since the improvement in the transmission rate obtained with physical layer techniques is limited, the best solution to increase the system throughput is by spatial reuse. In this sense, the use of very dense, low-power, small-cell networks with a very high spatial reuse appears to provide a promising option to handle future data rate demands. Nevertheless, this approach faces several challenges: first, small-cell deployments will require a high degree of coordination due to strong inter-cell interference. Furthermore, heterogeneous backhaul solutions will be used to connect small-cells and core network, but so far, access and backhaul are individually designed and therefore not optimised jointly. iJOIN introduces the novel concept RAN-as-a-Service (RANaaS), where RAN functionality is flexibly centralised through an open IT platform based on a cloud infrastructure. iJOIN aims for a joint design and optimisation of access and backhaul, operation and management algorithms, and architectural elements, integrating small-cells, heterogeneous backhaul and centralised processing. This solution will optimise the RAN system throughput and provide services instantly and efficiently in cost, energy, complexity and latency wherever and whenever the demand arises. Additionally to the development of technology candidates across PHY, MAC, and the network layer, iJOIN will study the requirements, constraints and implications for existing mobile networks, specifically 3GPP LTE-A.

CROSSFIRE

CROSSFIRE (unCooRdinated netwOrk StrategieS for enhanced interFerence, mobIlity, radio Resource, and Energy saving management in LTE-Advanced networks) is a Multi-Partner Initial Training Network (MITN) Marie Curie project that is focused on providing forward-looking solutions for Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A) network co-existence including aspects ranging from the physical layer such as co-channel interference and cognition to the user perception of the service, i.e., Quality of Experience (QoE). The project will analyze and propose network virtualization solutions for LTE-A networks, a technology which is envisioned to transform operation of cellular networks in the years to come. It will create a fully-integrated and multi-disciplinary network of 12 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) working in 8 first-class institutions distributed in 6 European countries. The consortium is formed by 3 Universities, 1 Research Center and 4 Private Companies. This Network will offer to a group of newly recruited ESRs a cross-sectorial environment to shape their long-term research view and get fundamental methodological tools on various research fields such as, network virtualization, self-organization, cognitive radio, energy saving, and small cell networks.

FLAVIA

Wireless networks importance for the Future Internet is raising at a fast pace as mobile devices increasingly become its entry point. However, today's wireless networks are unable to rapidly adapt to evolving contexts and service needs due to their rigid architectural design. We believe that the wireless Internet's inability to keep up with innovation directly stems from its reliance on the traditional layer-based Internet abstraction. Especially, the Link Layer interface appears way too abstracted from the actual wireless access and coordination needs. FLAVIA fosters a paradigm shift towards the Future Wireless Internet: from pre-designed link services to programmable link processors. The key concept is to expose flexible programmable interfaces enabling service customization and performance optimization through software-based exploitation of low-level operations and control primitives, e.g., transmission timing, frame customization and processing, spectrum and channel management, power control, etc. FLAVIA's approach is based on three main pillars: i) lower the interface between hardware-dependent layers and upper layers, ii) apply a hierarchical decomposition of the MAC/PHY layer functionalities, and iii) open programmable interfaces at different abstraction levels. To prove the viability of this new architectural vision, FLAVIA will prototype its concept on two wireless technologies currently available, 802.11 and 802.16, representing today's two main radio resource allocation philosophies: contention-based and scheduled. Moreover, FLAVIA will assess the applicability of the proposed architecture concepts to the emerging 3GPP standards. FLAVIA's concept will allow boosting innovation and reducing the cost of network upgrades. Operators, manufacturers, network designers, emerging third-party solution developers, and even spontaneous end users, will be able to easily and rapidly optimize and upgrade the wireless network operation, quickly prototype and test their new protocols, and adapt the wireless access operation to emerging scenarios or service needs.

CARMEN

CARMEN, CARrier grade MEsh Networks, studies and specifies a wireless mesh network supporting carrier grade triple-play services for mobile/fixed network operators. Future operator networks will be comprised of a common core network and several access networks, and the CARMEN access network will complement other access technologies by providing a low cost and fast deployment mesh network access technology. The project proposes the integration of heterogeneous wireless technologies in a multi-hop fashion to provide scalable and efficient ubiquitous quad-play carrier services. To address the integration complexity of heterogeneous radio technologies, CARMEN introduces a layer 2.5 located between the subnet layer and the routing layer (the abstract interface in the architecture figure below), in order to abstract technology specific issues into a common set of events and commands. Upper layers will use the abstract interface of layer 2.5 to dynamically adapt functions such as routing, mobility and monitoring. One relevant issue is that CARMEN will provide capacity handling algorithms to exploit specific features of the mesh networks such as the availability of multiple links between two peers (i.e. multipath) or the use of radio broadcast instead of unicast to alleviate the load of broadcast services (e.g. video) in the mesh network. CARMEN will focus on three planes: technology, message transfer, and self-configuration and management, to provide a complete solution for setting up and maintaining a cost-effective carrier grade wireless mesh access network.

MOBY DICK

In order to continue to evolve 3rd Generation mobile and wireless infrastructure towards the Internet - targeting IST 2000 IV 5.2 "Terrestrial Wireless System and Networks", the Moby Dick project defined, implemented, and evaluated an IPv6-based mobility-enabled end-to-end QoS architecture starting from the current IETF's QoS models, Mobile-IPv6, and AAA framework. A representative set of interactive and distributed multimedia applications served to derive system requirements for the verification, validation, and demonstration of the Moby Dick architecture in a testbed comprising UMTS, 802.11 Wireless LANs and Ethernet. When the existing applications or the underlying architectures did not provide what was required, the necessary modification were undertaken.