Plug-in over Plug-in Evaluation in Heterogeneous 5G Enabled Networks and beyond

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
IEEE Network, 2021, 35, (2), pp. 34-39
Issue Date:
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With the cool upcoming wave of 5G, currently, the networking and telecommunication industries are facing various digital transformations, which are changing the very fundamental nature of the existing network management infrastructure. Besides the Internet of Things (IoT) domain, we also notice that the 5G network in itself is composed of millions of heterogeneous physical entities and nodes, multiple domains, complex protocols and technologies, different gateways, and so on. This heterogeneity imposes critical impacts on the application specific quality of service (QoS) requirements, performance and utilization of network resources, and data and user security. In order to alleviate the above impacts, researchers propose to use different technologies such as software-defined networking, network function virtualization, blockchain, and artificial intelligence in 5G-enabled IoT networking. We notice that the layers over layers (of protocols and technologies) act like a plug-in over plug-in (PoP) in the network in order to accomplish various aims, including meeting QoS demands, enhancing security, load balancing, and so on. On one hand, we agree that this integration of different technologies in 5G networks bring numerous advantages, but on the other hand, we realize that this has posed a lot of unique critical issues in modern 5G network management. In this article, we point out that this straightforward approach of PoP is eventually not a healthy approach for network transformation. In this regard, using open source MANO (OSM), we provide a proof of concept (PoC) to show that at varying degrees of heterogeneity, PoP adds the delay in the VNF deployment process and further impacts the VIM CPU performance. This eventually affects the QoS requirements of IoT nodes or applications. Following this, we propose a high-level holistic approach that helps to alleviate the PoP issue. Finally, in this context, we also discuss the associated challenges and research opportunities.
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