Giles Heron (CISCO)
Giles looked at the mechanisms and techniques needed to build and manage future networks using Software Defined Networking. His main point was that the promise of SDN was to reduce the cost of managing networks and not about specific mechanisms such as OpenFlow. But this must be done in a way that allows network management applications to be built and tested. He concentrated on two main tools that are being developed and supported: YANG, which is a data model used to express how data is represented and NETCONF, which is a mechanism that defines the relationship between devices and services. So one can think of YANG as a MIB while NETCONF, like SNMP, is used to implement services using RPCs with YANG as the data model. It was a very useful presentation as it tried to get beyond the SDN hype.
Download Giles’ presentation: Future Networks 2016 – Giles Heron
Professor Jon Crowcroft (University of Cambridge)
Jon first looked at the success of the Internet, which he put down to a large slice of luck; therefore projects that concentrate on trying to basically replicate the functionality of the Internet but trying to do it better rarely work. He also said that top-down approaches rarely succeeded. Instead of trying to make wholesale changes, he said that it might be better to look at specific problems that needed to be solved. He posed these problems as challenges that were based around needed functionality to support new features such as mobility or new technologies such as IoT. Jon then looked at the interaction or the lack of between the Electronic Engineering (EE) and the Computer Science (CS) communities. He felt that effort was needed to get the communities talking and working together on real problems. He suggested that the communities do joint bids on problems to which both groups needed solutions. He said a key area that he felt should engage both groups is the area of networked machine learning and its possible application to large-scale network problems.
Download Jon’s presentation: Future Networks 2016 – Jon Crowcroft
Stuart Revell (5GIC)
Stuart’s presentation was centred on an Interim Report from Future Communications Challenges Group, which was charged by the government to come up with a UK strategy and plan for 5G & Digitisation. The report proposed a new organisational structure based around SME & Micro Engagement, Knowledge exchange & Dissemination, a Standards Groups, which is split into key industries/sectors. A new subsystem was added based around funded testbeds and trials, which would feed into the Standards Group. The testbeds would be run using a hub-and-spokes model looking at different types of networks and technologies. The report identified 4 key areas for networking: High Speed Broadband (HSB); Network Availability, Capacity and Coverage (AC & C), Massive Internet of Things (MIoT), Critical Internet of Things (CIoT). The context of low power as well as seamless public and private engagement were deemed to be essential. He divided the 5G effort into 3 areas: 5G Radio, 5G Core and 5G Fabric. He then showed the huge positive economic impact that would be obtained by a successful implementation of the overall system. He then looked at SDN, slicing and the 5G Fabric, which acts like a Network of Networks, to provide the communications needed in key areas. Stuart felt that testbeds and trials were needed now.
Download Stuart’s presentation: Future Networks 2016 – Stuart Revell
Dr. Marco Ruffini (Trinity College Dublin)
Marco Ruffini looked at optical networks in the 5G era. He acknowledged that 5G had to be more than an incremental improvement on 4G and that optical networking could make 5G excel in the areas of enhanced Mobile Broadband and ultra Reliable and Low-Latency Communications. Fibre makes Cloud RAN possible and leads to an effective splitting of the LTE stack resulting in a radical increase in fronthaul speeds. This in turn will lead to network convergence which Marco argues should yield reduced overall network costs as well as increased performance. For Fixed mobile convergence, Passive Optical Networks (PON) should lead to a more flat overall structure. Marco then highlighted the need to look at services on the back of all the network improvements, which should lead to a more service driven way of operation. The clear separation of services and architectures should enable some novel solutions to problems, such as the old Telco Central Office re‐architected as a Data Centre using network virtualisation.
Download’s Marco’s presentation: Future Networks 2016 – Marco Ruffini