CONCERT: a cloud-based architecture for next-generation cellular systems


Cellular networks are one of the cornerstones of our information-driven society. However, existing cellular systems have been seriously challenged by the explosion of mobile data traffic, the emergence of machine-type communications, and the flourishing of mobile Internet services. In this article, we propose CONCERT, a converged edge infrastructure for future cellular communications and mobile computing services. The proposed architecture is constructed based on the concept of control/data (C/D) plane decoupling. The data plane includes heterogeneous physical resources such as radio interface equipment, computational resources, and software-defined switches. The control plane jointly coordinates physical resources to present them as virtual resources, over which software-defined services including communications, computing, and management can be deployed in a flexible manner. Moreover, we introduce new designs for physical resources placement and task scheduling so that CONCERT can overcome the drawbacks of the existing baseband-up centralization approach and better facilitate innovations in next-generation cellular networks. These advantages are demonstrated with application examples on radio access networks with C/D decoupled air interface, delaysensitive machine-type communications, and realtime mobile cloud gaming. We also discuss some fundamental research issues arising with the proposed architecture to illuminate future research directions.

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