ARBAT: A flexible network architecture for QoE-aware communications in 5G systems
The expansion of the service scope of cellular networks to include a wide variety of services such as mobile broadband, Internet of Things, and mission-critical machine-type communications has significantly shaped the evolution towards 5G and beyond systems. All these services impose divergent and often mutually exclusive requirements in terms of data rate, latency, and energy efficiency. To satisfy heterogeneous requirements, 5G systems should have properties such as Quality-of-Experience awareness, adaptability and flexibility, scalability and reliability, support for multiple RATs, and backward compatibility, all at a low CAPEX and OPEX. To this end, software-defined networking and network function virtualization have been envisioned as key enabling technologies for 5G, and represent a major paradigm shift for 5G systems. In recent years, a plethora of software-defined mobile network architectures have been introduced worldwide, each with their unique features and drawbacks. Within this context, this paper introduces a new architecture called ARBAT which has been designed to satisfy and exceed the requirements put forth by 5G. ARBAT is characterized by many innovative features such as the Universal Network Device and Unified Cellular Network concepts, multi-slice modular resource management with the AirHYPE wireless hypervisor, network-user application interaction through the xStream platform, and simplified multi-tenant orchestration through ServiceBRIDGE. The novel features of the ARBAT infrastructure plane, data plane, control plane and Management and Orchestration entity are also explained in the paper in detail. Furthermore, a qualitative evaluation and feature comparison of ARBAT with other state-of-the-art architectures is conducted to demonstrate that ARBAT satisfies the aforementioned objectives of the 5G systems.