After the successful participation in the Fed4Fire+ Open Call for Experimentation, the SCAN team has already started experimenting on a new project, a Cross Layer Controller based on SDN and SDR towards 5G Heterogeneous Networks.
Towards the 5th generation networks, the network ecosystems have already begun comprising a plethora of 3GPP and non-3GGP Radio Access Technologies (RATs). Deployment scenarios envision a multi-layer use of macro, micro and femto-cells, where multi-mode end devices, supporting different applications, are served by Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets) of diverse technologies. At the same time, this heterogeneous environment results in an abstracted pool of resources, moving away from the traditional cell concept and exposing the network programmer with the collective resources in time, frequency, and space, which are available in the network. An imperative need is thus created, as a result to obtain an overview of the network and radio conditions in real-time in order to respond to these conditions in an optimal way. The concepts of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Software Defined Radio (SDR), when applied in a coordinated and sophisticated manner, may prove of utmost importance towards addressing the aforementioned challenges. The convergence of the SDN’s programmable control plane nature with the SDR’s programmable data plane into a novel architecture will enhance and complement both scopes. As a result, in the context of this proposed series of experimentation, we deploy and evaluate a Cross Layer Controller (CLC), which acts on top of the SDN and SDR controllers, and monitors in real-time the conditions in the radio environment, as well as the network information in a unified way; based on this dynamic input, CLC enforces end-to- end policies to both layers, highlighting thus, the feature of cross layer slicing and dynamic adaptation.