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CellSDN: Software-Defined Cellular Networks

Report ID:
April 2012
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Existing cellular networks suffer from inflexible and expensive equipment,
complex control-plane protocols, and vendor-specific configuration interfaces.
In this paper, we argue that software defined networking (SDN) can simplify the
design and management of cellular data networks, while enabling new services.
However, supporting many subscribers, frequent mobility, fine-grained
measurement and control, and real-time adaptation introduces new scalability
challenges that future SDN architectures should address. As a first step, we
present a software-defined cellular network architecture that (i) allows
controller applications to express policies based on the attributes of
subscribers, rather than network addresses and locations, (ii) enables
real-time, fine-grained control via a local agent on each switch, and (iii)
extends switches to support features like deep packet inspection and header
compression to meet the needs of cellular data services, (iv)
supports flexible ``slicing'' of network resources based on the attributes of
subscribers, rather than the packet header fields, and flexible ``slicing'' of
base stations and radio resources by having the controller to handle radio
resource management, admission control and mobility in each slice.

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