Challenges in 5G: how to empower SON with big data for enabling 5G

Imran, A., Zoha, A. and Abu-Dayya, A. (2014) Challenges in 5G: how to empower SON with big data for enabling 5G. IEEE Network, 28(6), pp. 27-33. (doi: 10.1109/MNET.2014.6963801)

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While an al dente character of 5G is yet to emerge, network densification, miscellany of node types, split of control and data plane, network virtualization, heavy and localized cache, infrastructure sharing, concurrent operation at multiple frequency bands, simultaneous use of different medium access control and physical layers, and flexible spectrum allocations can be envisioned as some of the potential ingredients of 5G. It is not difficult to prognosticate that with such a conglomeration of technologies, the complexity of operation and OPEX can become the biggest challenge in 5G. To cope with similar challenges in the context of 3G and 4G networks, recently, self-organizing networks, or SONs, have been researched extensively. However, the ambitious quality of experience requirements and emerging multifarious vision of 5G, and the associated scale of complexity and cost, demand a significantly different, if not totally new, approach toward SONs in order to make 5G technically as well as financially feasible. In this article we first identify what challenges hinder the current self-optimizing networking paradigm from meeting the requirements of 5G. We then propose a comprehensive framework for empowering SONs with big data to address the requirements of 5G. Under this framework we first characterize big data in the context of future mobile networks, identifying its sources and future utilities. We then explicate the specific machine learning and data analytics tools that can be exploited to transform big data into the right data that provides a readily useable knowledge base to create end-to-end intelligence of the network. We then explain how a SON engine can build on the dynamic models extractable from the right data. The resultant dynamicity of a big data empowered SON (BSON) makes it more agile and can essentially transform the SON from being a reactive to proactive paradigm and hence act as a key enabler for 5G's extremely low latency requirements. Finally, we demonstrate the key concepts of our proposed BSON framework through a case study of a problem that the classic 3G/4G SON fails to solve.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Zoha, Dr Ahmed
Authors: Imran, A., Zoha, A., and Abu-Dayya, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:IEEE Network
ISSN (Online):1558-156X
Published Online:24 November 2014

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