5G!DRONES Architecture: The basis of collaboration with 5G facilities
5G!Drones derives from the need to support and validate UAV use cases, by running trials on top of 5G systems, leveraging ICT-17 5G facilities and modern test methodologies and advancements. Indeed, for actual experimentation of UAV use cases, highly-complex setups are required in order to validate the vertical KPIs when investigating for example: a) enhancements required in the LTE and 5G networks in order to support the “moving cell” concept or emerging scenarios of public-safety, b) how fog and edge computing design principles fit into the integrated environment, or c) what network enhancements are necessary in both the data and control planes of multiple wired/optical/wireless technologies in order to support IoT/M2M/D2D. This list is indicative and can be quite extensive.
5G!Drones is driven by the selected UAV vertical use cases, which cover the three 5G service classes (i.e., eMBB, uRLLC, mMTC). Based on these use cases, 5G!Drones will identify the necessary 5G components to enable the trials, and the needed 5G KPIs to validate, as well as the UAV application performance aspects to test. 5G!Drones relies on the 5GPPP ICT-17 facilities to build the trials, by reusing the existing components (e.g., MANO and RAN resource management) and adding new ones (e.g., supporting APIs, virtual Core Network relocation capability, and MEC services) at the facility, or interconnecting a partner site to the facility, in case the required components cannot be moved to the trial site. 5G!Drones will build a software layer that allows UAV verticals to describe, using high-level APIs, the trial scenarios and the 5G KPIs to test as well as the application performance characteristics to monitor. The high-level APIs will abstract and hide the complexity and level of detail to access to the 5G facility and run the trial. The 5G!Drones software layer, namely 5G!Drones trial controller, will be in charge of building and securely running the trial scenarios.
The 5G!Drones system consists of three distinct actors, namely the UAV vertical, 5G!Drones trial controller, and the 5G Facility. The UAV Vertical, via a predefined use case model, uses the 5G!Drones trial controller northbound API to run a test. The northbound API allows to specify the 5G KPIs to test as well as the UAV applications to run. The vertical can also use a monitoring/management API to have access to the (secured) Network Slice(s) running the UAV applications. In addition, the northbound API shows the obtained results regarding the key 5G KPIs as well as the UAV application performance. The 5G!Drones trial controller is in charge of enforcing the trial scenario by using the APIs provided by the 5G Facility and those provided by the 5G!Drones Enablers. The latter are the components developed by the 5G!Drones project to enable the UAV use cases. As stated earlier, the 5G!Drones enablers could be also deployed at a partner site, which is remotely interconnected to the 5G Facility. The 5G!Drones trial controller, will translate the high-level trial scenario description to a set of 5G network components required to run on top of the facility. For example, based on the vertical use case description, the latter will be translated to a (secured) Network Slice using the 5G facility blueprint if available. The blueprint describes all the necessary network components to run the trial, such as the VNFs, RAN resources, and duration of the trial. The 5G!Drones trial controller will access the UAV VNFs and UEs (onboard drones or deployed on the ground) to obtain the necessary results and KPIs at the application level, while it uses the 5G Facility (extended by 5G!Drones) to monitor the 5G KPIs. Besides, the 5G!Drones trial controller will allow the simultaneous run and control of multiple UAV use cases, demonstrating the capability of 5G to guarantee different service requirements at the same time.
The 5G!Drones project will deploy significant efforts on data analysis and intuitive representation of trial results. These features, often neglected in the validation and simulation platforms, are becoming essential to handle and understand the high amount of data generated by the automated trial systems. To do so, 5G!Drones will leverage open-source tools (e.g., the ELK stack [ELK18]) which allows real-time actionable insights on any type of unstructured data. Partners in 5G!Drones, who are already employing such solutions to manage large amounts of data they produce, will contribute to these tools by extending them with new features for (i) visualizing 5G-related parameters, and (ii) for performing advanced statistical data analysis by applying correlation techniques and machine learning algorithms that will be devised within the project to satisfy its specific needs.
The 5G!Drones trial controller is the main component of the 5G!Drones trial architecture. Several modules compose the 5G!Drones trial controller: the Web Portal, the Trial Engine, the Trial Enforcement and the KPI monitoring modules. The web portal allows the verticals to describe their respective trial scenarios and to indicate the KPIs to measure for each scenario. The web portal also displays the results obtained from the trial and allows the management of the network resources dedicated to the slice(s) running the trial. The trial engine is in charge of instantiating virtual and physical functions according to the trial scenario defined by the vertical. It is also in charge of the lifecycle management of the trial. It uses a local database to save all information regarding the trial (i.e. the detailed scenario, the obtained results from the trial, and the slice configuration of the trial). The trial enforcement module is in charge of enforcing the trial scenario as per the request of the trial engine module. To this purpose, it uses the facilities APIs. The trial enforcement module will be in charge of: (i) instantiating the Network Slice(s) needed to run the trial; (ii) onboarding the necessary UAV components (VNFs) of, for instance, UTM functions and the UAV vertical application; (iii) configuring the embedded slice manager element to gather service level KPIs; and (iv) configuring the monitoring information made available by the facility on 5G KPI and the virtualized resources used by the Slice(s). Once these tasks are done, the trial enforcement module returns the interfaces allowing to connect to the slice manager and the monitoring information as provided by the facility (natively or added by the 5G!Drones enablers) to the Trial Engine, which communicates them to the KPI monitoring component in order to monitor the KPI requested by the trial scenario. The verticals can request to modify the configuration of the slices running the trials, for instance, by requesting more resources from the facility (i.e., CPU and RAM). This request will pass by the web portal and then the trial engine will update the database and request the new resource allocation via the Trial Enforcement module. It shall be noted that elements, highlighted in blue in the figure, will be developed and provided by the 5G!Drones project, while those highlighted in green will be available at the 5G Facilities premises. To build the different components of 5G!Drones, a thorough analysis of the use case requirements as well as the 5G facility components is needed. They will allow to specify the Northbound API and the 5G!Drones enablers and identify the 5G!Drones controller functions. Once this step is done, all 5G!Drones components will be implemented, allowing to execute a trial and to obtain the results using the Northbound API.
The first step is to start by analysing the requirements of the UAV use cases, which will allow for running the two other tasks in parallel, i.e., the 5G!Drones trial controller and the 5G!Drones enablers. Once these steps are accomplished, the trial starts using the 5G Facilities. 5GDrones will execute extensive experiments over two ICT-17 5G Facilities (i.e., 5GENESIS and 5G EVE) and two additional sites (Oulu 5GTN and Aalto X-Networks) in Finland.