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During the last years, the telecom/network community is pursuing a paradigm shift towards the virtualisation/ “softwarisation” of infrastructure components, enabling a novel “cloud networking” model, which allows the flexible management of network resources and functionalities in a cloud-like manner. Future networks are envisaged to consist of heterogeneous wireless and wired physical infrastructures, whose resources are abstracted via virtualisation mechanisms, unified, dynamically pooled and offered as-a-Service to multiple tenants.
In order to be able to benefit from such a progress and also seamlessly integrate with future networks in the 5G context, it would be advisable that satellite communication platforms follow this transformation, currently occurring in the terrestrial segment. The CloudSat study focuses on this issue, studying the applicability of virtualisation and softwarisation technologies to satcom platforms and determining the benefits and the challenges associated with the integration of satellite infrastructures into future cloud networks.
To this end, the CloudSat study:
Satellite/terrestrial federated services via virtualisation (SDN/NFV)
The project addresses key issues associated with the inclusion of satellite components into future federated virtualised networks in the 5G context, such as:
CloudSat designs and implements (in lab environment) a federated satellite-terrestrial network platform supporting virtualization and programmability.
The CloudSat proof-of-concept implementation features three essential segments: the emulated satellite network segment, the terrestrial network segment and the management and orchestration segment.
CloudSat proof-of-concept architecture
The satcom community is expected to derive significant benefits from the adoption of the SDN/NFV model and the interoperability/integration with terrestrial software-based networks. Some high-level benefits can be identified per category of stakeholders as follows:
The project started September 2014 and has a duration of 15 months. The technical project work is broken down into four workpackages:
Three project milestone reviews are planned:
FR at the end of the project reviews the outcome of WP4 as well as the entire project.
The project was completed successfully, and all the objectives were met. The state-of-the-art review in software network technologies was completed, followed by a suitability analysis, scenario identification and definition of federated satellite/terrestrial virtualisation-capable network architectures. The architectures were implemented and validated in a lab environment using carefully selected use case scenarios. In parallel, the techno-economic analysis which was carried out, revealed and quantified significant cost savings and also opportunities for increased revenues for satellite service providers via the use of virtualisation technologies. A roadmap was eventually drafted, containing recommendations for the optimal uptake and exploitation of the proposed technologies.