Table of Contents


Looking around


Miscellanea


Hall of fame

RADIO

 

3GPP defines the initial roadmap towards 5G

In March 3GPP endorsed a tentative timeline for the standardization of next generation cellular technology, also known as “5G” . This article briefly summarizes some of the key milestones and how the work is expected to proceed in 3GPP working groups.

During RAN & SA plenaries #67  (Shanghai, 9-13 March 2015), 3GPP discussed and endorsed the main 5G milestones.
The following high level milestones were agreed to comply with the ITU-R IMT-2020 process constraints:

  • 2016/2017: submission of 3GPP requirements to ITU-R.
  • 2018: submission of 3GPP 5G solution to ITU-R for evaluation (i.e. “does it satisfy ITU-R requirements for 5G?”).
  • December 2019: submission of final 3GPP 5G specs to ITU-R. A possible early drop in 2018 (as envisaged also by the NGMN whitepaper) is yet to be confirmed.

Consequently, the following  initial 3GPP 5G timeline was agreed:

 
  • Service requirements (SA1): the Release 14 Study Item (SMARTER, New Services and Markets Technology Enablers) will address new use cases & requirements following a phased approach; the corresponding normative activity for the phase 1 (WI) will not to start before March 2016.
  • Radio technologies (RAN): a RAN workshop on “5G” is planned in September 2015, where companies will share their views on next generation radio technology and SA1 will present their initial service requirements. In addition to that, the following milestones were agreed:
    • Start of channel modelling for bands above 6 GHz in September 2015.
    • Start of activity on Radio scope and requirements in December 2015.
    • Start of activities to study radio solutions in March 2016 (Release 14).
  • System aspects (SA2): the study on a possibly new 5G architecture will start on December 2015 (as part of Release 14). It is anticipated that SA2 will have a critical role in reconciling service requirements (SA1) and radio-specific requirements (RAN) and in making sure that there will be a coherent and consistent architecture/system.
    • A joint workshop between RAN and SA (or the relevant WGs) is foreseen in H2 2016

With respect to the above timeline, no assumptions have been made so far on:

  • schedule for the transition from Study Item phase to Work Item (i.e. normative) phase in the Working Groups;
  • exact timing of Rel-14, Rel-15, Rel-16;
  • when other 3GPP SA and CT WGs (e.g. security aspects, protocols, …) will start being involved in 5G activity;
  • when and in which release there will be the first generation of “5G” specs and what will be in it.

The last bullet-point is due to the fact there is a strong request from Korea and Japan to define a new radio access in 2018 to be able to have trials during the Winter Olympic Games in Korea (Feb 2018) and commercial service in 2020 (Olympic Games in Japan). On the other hand, LTE evolutions could already satisfy at least some of the requirements for 5G. For example, at RAN #67 a study to reduce the latency of LTE communications was approved. Moreover, thanks to the ongoing activities on use of LTE in unlicensed spectrum and extension of carrier aggregation, peak data rates in the order of tens of Gbps will be achievable (LTE already now can provide peak data rates in the order of 3 Gbps). The main issue will be to convince Korea and Japan to define the radio performance requirements in a way LTE can be considered part of the 5G family.
3GPP RAN#67 tasked the RAN ITU-R Ad-Hoc Group to maintain the relationship between 3GPP and ITU-R (i.e. verify timing and coordinate submissions of 3GPP documents to ITU-R).
More information can be found in SP-150149 (that can be downloaded from the 3GPP web site).

Maria Pia Galante, Giovanni Romano

 

Low cost Machine to Machine and Internet of Things

Low cost Machine to Machine and Internet of Things

3GPP GERAN started a feasibility study on “Cellular System Support for Ultra Low Complexity and Low Throughput Internet of Things”, with the scope to allow cellular solutions to address applications with very limited throughput requirements and non-delay sensitive applications

In May 2014 3GPP GERAN started a feasibility study on “Cellular System Support for Ultra Low Complexity and Low Throughput Internet of Things”, with the scope to allow cellular solutions to address applications with very limited throughput requirements and non-delay sensitive applications (e.g. smart metering with long life battery and in deep radio coverage).
The target is to finalize the feasibility study by August 2015 and consequently start the normative work to be completed in the framework of Rel-13 (i.e. March 2016).
Currently 2 approaches are envisaged: one is based on an evolution of GSM and the other one relies on a so-called “clean-slate approach”, i.e. an alternative solution which is disruptive compared to the legacy GSM radio access network.
The supporters of the first approach are Ericsson and Nokia Networks, whilst there are currently 4 proposals for the second approach, coming from Huawei, Qualcomm, Sigfox and Semtech.
So far the most promising and stable one seems to be Huawei proposal, referred to as NB-M2M (Narrow Band-M2M) proposal, able to achieve the main targets of the study, i.e.

  • extended radio coverage (compared to a legacy GPRS network) up to 20 dB;
  • device’s battery lifetime of at least 10 years in extended radio coverage conditions;
  • throughput of at least 160 bps (both in uplink and in downlink) at the network layer in the same radio conditions;
  • device’s complexity remarkably reduced compared to a legacy GPRS R97 device, in order to be able to compete with non-3GPP proprietary solutions already available on the market and claiming devices’ extremely reduced cost;
  • required bandwidth of one (or a very few) 200 KHz RF channel(s).

Operators like Vodafone, Telecom Italia and Telefonica requested the incoming solution be deployable as a SW upload on the existing radio access nodes and reuse 3GPP legacy core networks, in order to leverage the assets available to Operators to the highest extent.
Note that at last 3GPP Project Coordination Group (PCG) issues were raised on the fact that GERAN was going to standardize a new radio access technology. As a consequence the resolution from PCG was to move the normative work on the clean slate approach from GERAN to RAN starting from September 2015. Even if it was indicated that there should be no impact on the timeplan, the consequences of this decision need to be carefully evaluated in the near future.

Davide Sorbara

 

CORE NETWORK & SERVICES

 

3GPP takes first SMARTER steps into 5G development

3GPP takes first SMARTER steps into 5G development

Led by Vodafone and signed by more than 40 Telco companies worldwide (including Telecom Italia), SMARTER is the SA WG1 project which will develop high-level use cases and identify the related high-level potential requirements to enable 5G.

SA#67 in March this year has approved the first official 3GPP Study Item related to 5G development. The name of the project is “New Services and Markets Technology Enablers”, a.k.a. SMARTER: you’d better take note of this name as it is likely going to show up frequently in the near future.
Led by Vodafone and signed by more than 40 Telco companies worldwide (including Telecom Italia), SMARTER is the SA WG1 project which will develop high-level use cases and identify the related high-level potential requirements to enable 5G.
The study aims to identify the market segments and verticals whose needs 3GPP should focus on and that cannot be met with current LTE/EPS state of the technology.
In this activity the 3GPP doors will be open to contributions from all those external organizations who already tried to frame the 5G concept from different angles in recent months (e.g. NGMN, 4G Americas, Chinese IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Association, ITU-R WP5Ds, Korea’s 5G Forum).
It is clear that this would be a very broad and wide-ranging endeavour and therefore the work is likely to span a number of 3GPP releases (…and years!). As a result, the work has been organised so that a subset of distinct work/study items with clearly focussed objectives are executed in each phase of the work. The first phase should complete by March 2016, consolidating the resulting potential requirements from a first set of few, e.g. 3-4, selected use cases.
SA1#70 was the first official meeting working on TR 22.891, which will document the feasibility study on SMARTER: 20 use cases and the relative potential requirements were agreed. Over 40% of the use case areas deriving from external white papers were already included, to some extent.
The TR completion is already esteemed to be 20% after only one meeting, which is definitely a good progress. 

 

The most relevant discussions during this meeting were related to crucial points of the 5G, partly already addressed also by NGMN :

  • The concept of Slicing was introduced, as already emerged during NGMN 5G activity - A slice is composed of a collection of logical network functions that supports the communication service requirements of particular use case(s). It shall be possible to direct terminals to slices in a way that fulfil operator needs, e.g. based on subscription or terminal type. The network slicing primarily targets a partition of the Core Network, but it is not excluded that RAN may need specific functionality to support multiple slices or even partitioning of resources for different network slices.
  • The need of very low latency for scenarios of: Indoor Mobile broadband, On-demand Networking, Virtual presence, Connectivity for drones, Industrial and Localized Real-time Control, Tactile Internet, Natural disaster…
  • The coexistence with legacy systems was expressed as a key requirement. In order to support the different use cases and business models with their varying demands it is expected that the 5G system will include one or more 5G RAT optimized for different market segments. The support of co-existence of new 5G RAT(s) and an E-UTRAN would cater for a sound migration path. However, seamless handover between the 5G RAT(s) and GERAN or UTRAN is not required.
  • The secure storage for subscriber identity and network access credentials was debated. This topic actually was the big controversial issue, split between the Operator’s proposal of maintaining the dedicated  physical secured and tamper resistant entity (UICC) controlled and managed by mobile operator, and the Vendor’s proposal (e.g. Qualcomm, Intel) of adding something new at least to address low complexity devices market and use cases.

Since the number of use cases  and discussion is expected to be high, an extraordinary SA1 meeting Ad Hoc for SMARTER will be held in October 2015 to match the target completion date of March 2016.

More information available in the SMARTER Study Item.

Carmen Catalano - Maria Pia Galante

 

ITU turns spotlight on 5G core networks

ITU SG13 kicks off Focus Group -IMT2020 on the 5G to look at standardisation requirements of wireline networks to support 5G RANs.

The network study group is within the purview of ITU’s Standardisation Sector (ITU-T), an ITU bureau, which is expected to parallel the 5G standardisation work of ITU-R (ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector).
While ITU-R is briefed with coordinating international standardisation of “IMT-2020” RAN systems, ITU-T has a similar role on the wireline side.
“Air interfaces and radio access networks are progressing rapidly, but there is a need to devote more attention to the networking aspects of IMT-2020,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Wireline communications will transform significantly in support of IMT-2020, and the coordination of ITU’s standardisation and radiocommunication arms will ensure that the wireline and wireless elements of future networks develop in unison.”
ITU flagged various 5G applications – including virtual reality, automated driving, and robotic systems – that will require one millisecond end-to-end latency (and co-ordination between fixed and wireless networks).
“Following on from the successful development of IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced, the standards for all of today’s 3G and 4G mobile systems, the work to be carried out by ITU-T on the network aspects will be an important complement to the activities undertaken by ITU-R in developing the radio interface standards for IMT-2020,” asserted Francois Rancy, director of the ITU-R bureau.
The new focus Group, which is open to participation by any “interested party”, is to follow an “intensive work plan” to complete its study before a December meeting of ITU-T’s expert group responsible for future networks, cloud computing and network aspects of mobile communications.
Telecom Italia is involved in the initiative with a leading role, as Luca Pesando has become one of the four vice chairs of the new FG, in representation of the operators as well as of the european industry, together with representatives of ETRI (Nam-Seok Ko ), S.Korea, China Mobile (Yachen Wang), and NTT Advanced Technology (Hideo Imanaka), Japan.
The chairman of the FG is Peter Ashwood-Smith, Huawei Technologies, Canada.

Luca Pesando

 

VoLTE roaming

3GPP has recently started addressing technical issues associated with a new candidate architecture for VoLTE roaming: the S8 Home Routing (S8HR) model. Discussions among vendors and Operators have started in April meetings and are expected to overheat Release 13 agenda.

Since the introduction of the first mobile communication systems in 1991, the business model and the technical design philosophy for roaming have not changed and supported the growth of mobile phone business around the globe. These very same principles have been the cornerstones even in the LTE “all IP” era and influenced Voice over  LTE (VoLTE) roaming architecture, designed by 3GPP in 2011:

 
  1. Routing of media for Voice (& video) over IMS at least as optimal as that of current voice over Circuit Switched (CS) domain. 
  2. Same charging model for roaming as the one used in CS domain.
  3. The Home PLMN may decide, based on service and/or regulatory obligations, to enforce the routing of the traffic to itself (i.e. home routing).

The Rel11 3GPP RAVEL (Roaming Architecture for VoicE over IMS with Local Break Out) activity, in recent years, has defined a VoLTE roaming architecture based on Local Breakout (LBO) which perfectly complies with the three principles above. Using LBO, the Visited Network (VPLMN) serving calls from/to an inbound roamer becomes “service aware” and thus is able, for example, to route an emergency call directly to the local operating center (closest to the caller) or to invoke Lawful Interception procedures if needed.
However, the recent global market dramatic changes and the increasing competitive and regulatory pressure, raised the need for a more agile roaming model, as first claimed by NTT DoCoMo in GSM Association in 2014. The idea was then supported by few other operators (among those Verizon Wireless) and took the shape of the so called “S8 Home Routing” (S8HR) architecture. Compared to RAVEL, S8HR model focus is to fulfill requirements of fast deployment and simplified roaming agreements between roaming partners rather than preserving well-established CS voice model.

A closer look into S8HR

Differently from RAVEL, S8HR is an architecture for voice roaming whereby all the IMS platform serving the call is residing in the Home network, i.e. the PGW, PCRF, P-CSCF, ATCF and ATGW are located in the HPLMN also when the UE is roaming in a Visited PLMN.
One of the main implications is that S8HR architecture is not using LBO anymore and therefore the IMS APN is resolved to point to a PGW in the HPLMN (rather than in the VPLMN). Also, it requires QoS level roaming support (i.e. service specific QoS other than the default QoS are supported on the home-routed PDN connection when roaming). 

 

S8HR simplicity, however, is not only its strength but also its weakness, as it is the source of some serious technical issues that will have to be solved. The analysis of these issues is on the Rel13 3GPP agenda for the next months, but may overflow to Rel14. Let’s see what these issues are, more in detail:

Regulatory requirements - S8HR roaming architecture needs to meet all the current regulatory requirements applicable to voice roaming, specifically:

  • Support of emergency calls - The issues in this context are several. For example, authenticated emergency calls rely on the existence if an IMS NNI between VPLMN and HPLMN (which S8HR does not provide); conversely, the unauthenticated emergency calls, although technically feasible in S8HR, are allowed only in some Countries subject to the local regulation of VPLMN. Also, for a non-UE-detectable IMS Emergency call, the P-CSCF in the HPLMN needs to be capable of deciding the subsequent action (e.g. translate the dialed number and progress the call or reject it with the indication to set up an emergency call instead), taking the VPLMN ID into account. A configuration of local emergency numbers per Mobile Country Code on P-CSCF may thus be needed.
  • ­Support of Lawful Interception (LI) & data retention for inbound roamers in VPLMN -  S8HR offers no solution to the case where interception is required in the VPLMN for inbound roamers. 3GPP is required to define a solution that fulfill such vital regulatory requirement, as done today in circuit switched networks. Of course VPLMN and HPLMN can agree in their bilateral roaming agreement to disable confidentiality protection to support inbound roamer LI but is this practice really viable from a regulatory point of view?

Voice call continuity – The issue is that when the inbound roamers lose the LTE coverage to enter into  a 2G/3G CS area, the Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC) should be performed involving the HPLMN in a totally different way than current specification (i.e. without any IMS NNI being deployed).
Coexistence of LBO and S8HR roaming architectures will have to be studied since an operator may need to support both LBO and S8HR VoLTE roaming architecture options for roaming with different operators, on the basis of bilateral agreement and depending on the capability.
Other issues relate to the capability of the home based S-CSCF and TAS (Telephony Application Server) to be made aware about the VPLMN identity for charging purposes and to enable the TAS to subsequently perform communication barring supplementary services. Also, where the roaming user calls a geo-local number (e.g. short code, or premium numbers), the IMS entities in HPLMN must do number resolution to correctly route the call.
From preliminary discussions held at Working Group level in SA2 (architecture) and SA3 (security) in April, it was felt useful to create a new 3GPP Technical Report to perform comprehensive technical analysis on the subject. Thus it is expected that the discussions will continue in the next months until the end of 2015 and will overheat Release 13 agenda due to their commercial and “political” nature. Stay tuned to monitor the progress of the subject or contact the authors for further information!

Mario Madella - Maria Pia Galante

 

LTE support for the connected car

Widely deployed LTE based infrastructure provides the opportunity for the vehicle industry to realize the concept of ‘connected car’. This is the scope of a newly approved 3GPP Rel14 Study Item: “LTE support for Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) services”

The pace of LTE network deployment is accelerating all over the world, which enables more and more advanced services and Internet applications making use of the inherent benefits of LTE such as higher data rate, lower latency and enhanced coverage, etc. Widely deployed LTE based infrastructure provides the opportunity for the vehicle industry to realize the concept of ‘connected car’. By providing a vehicle access into the LTE network infrastructure, a vehicle can be connected to the Internet and other vehicles so that a broad range of existing or new services can be envisaged for the vehicle industry and the mobile industry as well.

 

Technology-wise, it seems all the fundamental bricks to enable this new challenging picture are almost there: Proximity Service (ProSe) introduced in Release 12 can provide functionalities to implement V2X services (e.g. direct discovery and communication) while LTE-based broadcast services such as Public Warning System and eMBMS could complement those with additional functionalities for broadcast communications.
So time is mature for 3GPP to start a study on V2X use cases and to assess the applicability of LTE technology to meet the operator, end-user and automotive industry expectations.
This is, in fact, the scope of one of the most interesting new Rel14 Study Items approved at SA#67 in March this year: “LTE support for Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) services”, strongly pushed forward by LG Electronics and supported by 22 telco companies (among those: AT&T, Telia Sonera, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei).
An official liaison was sent by the 3GPP SA plenary to all external organizations interested in this activity (incl. ETSI ITS, GSMA Connected Living and IEEE).
The vehicular communication in this study contains the following three different types:

  • Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications
  • Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) Communications
  • Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) Communications

Transport entities, such as vehicles, roadside infrastructure, and pedestrians, can collect knowledge of their local environment (e.g., information received from other vehicles or sensor equipment in proximity) to process and share that knowledge in order to provide more intelligent services, such as cooperative collision warning or autonomous driving. As you can imaging, LTE V2X as a technology could enormously benefit a wide range of different stakeholders:

  • Service providers: increase the number of subscribers, deliver new smart-phone based safety apps, get new business partners in the automotive sector
  • Automotive industry: leverage on mature and well-deployed LTE infrastructure, create new business models
  • Consumers (drivers, passengers, pedestrians): be provided with safety/driver assistant services, get information to optimise the route taken and thus saving time, resources…and reducing pollution!
  • Road authorities: get information on safety aspects (e.g. dangerous parts of roads, traffic patterns and behaviour, …), control traffic flows

After only two SA1 meetings the completion percentage of the Study is 50%.
As requested from RAN groups the V2V Activity  has been prioritized with respect to V2I and V2P.
During the last SA1#70 (April), the distance between between the Tecos’ and the Automotive/Telematics’ industry became evident. There were lengthy discussions about the need of defining a new “V2X” UE (as per Honda and General Motors proposals) versus extending  the current “UEs”  to support the V2X service (as per all others companies’ proposal).  Despite the controversial discussions, there were some improvements with the addition of new use cases such as: V2V pre-crash, V2I road safety, V2P pedestrian safety; and  even the inclusion of target reference parameterisation (maximum tolerable latency, relative velocity between 2 UEs supporting V2X Services, etc). The parameterization values were derived by ETSI Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) activity-related to this topic. Moreover, SA1 reached the preliminary agreement to start the normative activity at their next August meeting.
More information on this work is available in document SP-150051 (Study on LTE support for V2X services).

Carmen Catalano - Maria Pia Galante

 

NETWORK MANAGEMENT

 

TMF is undergoing a deep reorganization

After Years of stasis with just few updates, the FrameworxTM, and eTom in particular, heavy changes are undergoing, started in Rel 14.5 but continuing in Rel. 15, to take into account the evolution of the Business for Telcos toward Digital Services and the presence of many new stakeholders.  Even ZOOM project is continuing its evolution better considering the Impact over Management Systems, the evolution of Operation and of the WorkForce.

It is more than a year when we heard about “Engaged Parties” and in December 2014  with the delivery of Rel 14.5 of Frameworx, we were witness of the greater reorganization of eTOM in years. The introduction of horizontal domains, and among these the new “Engaged Parties” one, with plenty of new processes and the revision of others. By June it is expected to have a the merge of “Supplier Party” domain in the new “Engaged Parties” together with of the full reorganization of the numbering of the processes. Indeed, all TMF Strategic Projects are based on the common Infrastructure of Frameworx and everything changing here has important impacts.
All this is done targeting the evolution toward services of the Forum and a better and easier adoption of Frameworx by its customers.
Great interest on these items  is expressed by Telecom Italia  “Cantiere Processi“ initiative that is reorganizing our internal processes by mapping them to Telecom Italia  Business Process Framework based on eTOM.
Telecom Italia in the TMF since its foundation is in the right condition to monitor and even gain the maximum advantage from this re-organization with Luigi Licciardi in the Executive Committee and the interest by IT Telecom to re-gain a place in the Board for TI CIO.
Main areas of interest are:

NFV and the virtualization this is an hot topic for TI and we are paying great care to the ZOOM Project activities.
We are working in the stream “Operation Transformation for the Digital Ecosystem” working on the topic of PLM (Product LifeCycle Management) and in FMO (Future Mode of Operation). This embeds the evolution of NETOPS in the direction of more dynamic DEVOPS approach, considering the high impact of virtualization (hence of software) on network management, the careful analysis of the impact of virtualization on Management Systems (OSS/BSS), and on WorkForce management.

Frameworx evolution. Already mentioned in the headline, it is important to underline the impact on Digital Services Initiative who are working on “Digital Services Toolkit”.
This is designed to enable Frameworx consumers to quickly and easily find the Frameworx assets they need, based on the business problem they are trying to solve, and to create, evolve, and manage digital services rapidly and efficiently without the need to deal with the complexity of their organizations.

BigData. In Frameworx 14.5 has been delivered the “Big Data Analytics Solution Suite 2.0” containing Detailed Use Cases and Building Blocks aiming at helping to unlock business value in the Telecoms domain. We are revising some of the Use Cases to take clearer the vision of Telco Operators in the activity.

Standard Interfaces. One of the most important parts of the TM Forum Integration Framework is a set of standard interfaces that enable rapid, repeatable, and flexible integration among operations and management systems. TM Forum REST based APIs are designed for use on all the topics: IoT, Digital Health, Smart Grid, Big Data, NFV, Next Generation OSS/BSS and more. The current end-to-end API developments include Product Lifecycle, Catalog, Ordering, Billing and Usage Management.

In the forthcoming TM Forum Live event in Nice 2015 (June 1-4) TI will contribute to the event as sponsors of two Catalyst: “Closing the Loop: Customer Experience, Policy & Virtualization” that continues in analyzing the implementation of services in an heterogeneous network with strong virtualized components, now by analyzing in depth the customer experience. The second catalyst is “Operations Transformation and simplifications enabled by vCPE Catalyst Home” whose purpose is to simplify the distribution and installation of a virtual residential gateway with sophisticated parental control features.
In addition to this, in the NFV track it is planned a Panel “The low-down on standards“ with the participation of Luigi Licciardi (O.GA.SCTD) and the speech “Unlocking virtualization’s full potential” presented by Mario Bonnet (O.ET.CNI.NFV)

Massimo Banzi - Cecilia Corbi

 

VIRTUALIZATION

 

Mobile Edge Computing

Mobile-Edge Computing offers cloud-computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the mobile network. This environment is characterized by ultra-low latency and high bandwidth as well as real-time access to radio network information that can be leveraged by applications and QoE platforms.

 

The initiative
The Mobile-Edge Computing (MEC) is a new Industry Specification Group (ISG) within ETSI, started at the end of 2014 and set up by Huawei, IBM, Intel, Nokia Networks, NTT DOCOMO and Vodafone.
After less than six months from its foundation, MEC, at April 2015, counts on 38 members/participants, including Telecom Italia, who decided to actively join this initiative last February. One of the main drivers for entering MEC was to exploit the proximity of the QoE platforms to the radio access, since up to now these can only operate on top of SGi/Gi interface due to the traditional mobile protocol encapsulation, e.g. GTP.

Scope and use cases
MEC can be considered as an intermediate step for the evolution towards 5G, providing IT service environment and cloud-computing capabilities within the Radio Access Network (RAN), in close proximity to mobile subscribers. “Edge” in this context may mean the base station itself (eNodeB, RNC, …), but also data centers close to the radio network (e.g. at “aggregation points”). Operators can open their RAN edge to authorized third-parties, allowing them to flexibly and rapidly deploy innovative applications and services towards mobile subscribers, enterprises and vertical segments. MEC use cases include:

  • Consumer-oriented services
    • These are innovative services that generally benefit directly the end-user. This may include: gaming, remote desktop applications, augmented and assisted reality, cognitive assistance, etc.
  • Operator and third party services
    • These are innovative services that take advantage of computing and storage facilities close to the edge of the operator's network. They are usually not directly benefiting the end-user, but may be operated in conjunction with third-party service companies: active device location tracking, big data, security, safety, enterprise services, etc.
  • Network performance and QoE improvements

These services are generally aimed at improving performance of the network, either via application-specific or generic improvements. The user experience is generally improved, but these are not new services provided to the end-user: content/DNS caching, performance optimisation, video optimisation, ecc.

 

Interactions with other groups and standards
The ISG MEC will align and liaise with ETSI ISG NFV, 3GPP and with other related initiatives, reusing existing specifications where appropriate. The introduction of a Mobile-Edge Computing server is intended to be transparent to the 3GPP network architecture and the existing interfaces. User Equipment (UE) and Core Network elements that comply with the existing 3GPP specifications should not be affected by the presence of the MEC server as well as the applications being hosted on it. MEC complements the work on other standards as NFV and SDN: it uses a virtualization platform for applications running at the mobile network edge. The infrastructure that hosts their respective applications or network functions is quite similar. In order to allow operators to benefit as much as possible from their investment, it would be beneficial to reuse the physical infrastructure and infrastructure management of NFV architecture framework to the largest extent possible, by hosting both VNFs (Virtual Network Functions) and MEC applications on the same platform. Coordination on specific topics between ETSI NFV and in ETSI MEC (e.g. related to Management & Orchestrator functions) thus seems to be needed in order to avoid inconsistencies and possibly also to enable joint optimizations of allocation of computational and network resources. Telecom Italia is actively addressing in the ETSI group the need of such a coordination between the two standards.

MEC groups
There are two main ETSI groups:

MEC-ISG
The purpose of the ISG MEC is to produce Group Specifications that will allow the hosting of third-party applications in a multi-vendor Mobile-Edge Computing environment. MEC-ISG-TECH is the technical sub-group.

MEC-IEG (Industry Enabling WG)
The Industry Enabling WG will drive the deployment of the MEC concepts within the industry (Proof-of-Concepts, examples of service scenarios, stimulation for applications deployment, etc). IEG shall coordinate its work with the technical activities within the ISG MEC and  coordinate its MEC market development activities with external industry organizations.
For more information, please visit http://www.etsi.org/technologies-clusters/technologies/mobile-edge-computing

Maria Pia Galante  - Dario Sabella -  Alessandro Vaillant 

 

APPLICATION LAYER

 

OMA

OMA Generic Open Terminal API Framework (GotAPI) for smartphone applications to access external devices through device APIs using Web technologies, has been released (including the Open Source Project).

 

OMA Generic Open Terminal API Framework (GotAPI) has been released in February 2015 (http://openmobilealliance.org/oma-gotapi-to-facilitate-interaction-between-smartphones-and-iot-devices/). This enabler can play a key role in the ‘Smartphone Society’ and Internet of things world as it defines a framework for applications (running in a smartphone) to access external devices through device APIs using Web technologies. This allows developers to create applications (using Web technologies) compatible with a variety of devices. Users can have applications running in browsers on their smartphones that can access external devices consistently across any OS, for example accessing a monitor or printer from the same application through the same device API. This gives developers the opportunity to create a new ecosystem of interoperable devices and applications, and the users will benefit of it.
Moreover the GotAPI Open Source Project has been launched in October 2014 to enable device vendors to reduce costs and time to develop applications interworking with smartphones (https://github.com/DeviceConnect/DeviceConnect).
In Japan the Device WebAPI Consortium has been launched in April 2015 (http://device-webapi.org/) to promote device Web APIs based on OMA GotAPI enabler.

Cecilia Corbi

 

W3C

W3C celebrates in Paris twenty years of work accomplished by European stakeholders for the benefit of the Web (W3C@Europe).

W3C celebrates in Paris twenty years of work accomplished by European stakeholders for the benefit of the Web (W3C@Europe). From a technical standpoint the mainstreams are Web Payments, Web of Things, ongoing discussion on Web for automotive and a renewed effort on media and real time communications. The recent Social Web working group F2F meeting had brought together several promising initiatives to design the next generation decentralized Social Web (Activitypump, Micropub, Solid).

Cecilia Corbi