Objective: To design, implement and validate a prototype of a Virtualised Network Functions:
VNFaaS (Virtual Network Functions as a Service) has the potential to expose the telecommunications satellite community to VNF market perspectives and contribute to significant growthof the satellite-oriented virtual appliance market. The targeted improvement of satellite broadband ground segment refers to: flexibility in function allocations, simplification of ground segment deployment, performance enhancement when/where and for the time this is needed. It means also that there isno need for dedicated H/W for the PEPs leading to cancellation of the HW cost for these elements.
Satellite networks make up a low percentage of the total market value of the telecommunication sector. At the same time satellite networks are retailed by service providers whose platformsare interconnected and supported by terrestrial infrastructures.
Virtualised Network Functions (VNF) are part of the currently developing solutions in terrestrial networks and infrastructures: it is a new way to roll out distributed networks capabilitiesthat can be dynamically allocated and deliver carrier-grade services, via highly resilient, multi-tenantnetwork infrastructures. One of the prevailing scenarios pursued in terrestrial networksis the VNFaaS (Virtual Network Function asa Service). It targets customers who migrate functionalities from hardware network appliances to their virtualised counterparts andease greenfield deployments.
The VNFaaS scenario is seen as highly relevant to Satcom broadband networks, since it provides the capability to enhance the satellite network service offering withadded-value VNFs, lower the satellite network deployment CAPEX/OPEX,and simplify ground terminals deployment. Practically, VNF functions aim to extend the end nodes of thesatellite network with cloud networking capabilities. These nodes give the opportunity for the satellite Virtual Network Operators (VNO) to deploy on demand complete virtual networkinfrastructures customized to the service requirements. The customization does not include only the delivery of the service to the customers, but also the communication between thedifferent network elements. The VNF orchestration gives the possibility to adapt the overall infrastructure during runtime, as well as to control the sharing of the environment betweenmultiple Virtual Network Operators (VNOs) or between different customized services of the same VNO.
The resources of the VNFs are allocated so as to match the requirements/SLA ofthe customers.In satellite broadband networks, the functions which are the most suitable tobe virtualized are the ones which are computational intensive and able to support a high parallelization such asTCP/IP PerformanceEnhancing Proxies (PEPs). These VNF-PEPs can be instantiated at the satellite hub and at satellite terminals. PEPs are necessary tocounteract the satellite links longpath delay and enhance the TCP/IP performance. However, due to their non-standardised mechanisms, they introduce a number of challenges as they split the end-to-end TCP connection.
These challenges relate mainly to ossification of transport mechanisms used over satellite networks, security, mobility, multi-homing support and control plane interactions.Consequently, VNF implementation of new PEPs mechanisms shall enable quicker and lower cost implementation of new congestion control algorithms as necessary for new services andapplications that may be disabled, e.g. IPSec VPNs, mobility flows handled by tunnelled Mobile IP. Such issues inhibit the seamless integration of satellite and future terrestrial networksand the efficient support of future network usages.The activity shall develop a prototype implementation of VNF-PEPs in satellite hub and remote terminals offering also enhanced Explicit Rate Notification (ERN) TCP, multi-path TCP(MP-TCP) and Information Content Networking (ICN) support for seamless integration with future terrestrial links. Both fixed and mobile terminals are considered.The prototype implementation shall cover the specific functionalities such as establishment of the virtual network infrastructure and the end-to-end network performance assessment of theVFN-PEPs including the comparative evaluation of the new congestion control algorithms ERN-PEP, MPTCP, ICN. The implemented functionalities shall include also, both the physicaland hypervisor functionalities and set of generic enablers addressing mobility and security (IPsec) support. An over the air demonstration shall be performed for selected use cases.