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Publication date 2013-12-11 Deadline Date 2014-11-25 17:00:00 (Brussels local time)
Total Call Budget €125,000,000 Main Pillar Industrial Leadership
Status Closed – 83 proposals received OJ reference OJ C361 of 11.12.2013

Advanced 5G Network Infrastructure for the Future Internet

Specific Challenge:
As Internet usages are proliferating communications networks are faced with new shortcomings.  Future networks will have to support in 2020 mobile traffic volumes 1000 times larger than today and a spectrum crunch is anticipated. Wireless access rates are today significantly lower than those of fixed access, which prevents the emergence of ubiquitous low cost integrated access continuum with context independent operational characteristics. Communication networks energy consumption is growing rapidly, especially in the radio part of mobile networks. The proliferation of connected devices makes it very difficult to maintain similar performance characteristics over an ever larger portfolio of technologies and requirements (e.g. Ultra High Definition TV vs. M2M, IoT). Heterogeneity of access technologies entails unsustainable cost with increasing difficulties to integrate an ever larger set of resources with reduced opex. Network infrastructure openness is still limited. It prevents the emergence of integrated OTT (cloud)-network integration with predictable end to end performance characteristics, and limits the possibility for networks to become programmable infrastructures for innovation with functionalities exposed to developers’ communities.
These are key issues for the competitiveness of the communication industry world-wide are globally researched in the context of future 5G integrated, ubiquitous and ultra-high capacity networks.


a. Research & Innovation Actions – Proposals are expected to cover one or more of the strands identified below, but not necessarily all of them.

Strand Radio network architecture and technologies
The challenge is to support an anticipated 1000 fold mobile traffic increase over a decade and to efficiently support very different classes of traffic/services. Actions may address the following topics:

  • Network architecture,  protocols and radio technologies capable of at least a ten times increase in frequency reuse, making possible low cost spectrum exploitation including for new frequency ranges above 3,6 GHz.  It covers real time and flexible radio resource allocation as a function of traffic/user distribution with possibility to guarantee and differentiate/prioritize quality of service. The work takes into account novel requirements from cloud networking, from a multiplicity/diversity of connected devices and services to be served and content delivery/cell broadcast/caching requirements. Reduction of energy consumption, significant bandwidth increase in current mobile bands and end-to-end latency are key drivers.
  • Versatile low cost ubiquitous radio access infrastructure equally supporting low rate IoT and very high rate (>> 1Gbit/s) access, enabling service access capability over radio links similar to  those of fixed access and a fixed-mobile seamless access continuum, and integrating satellite access where appropriate.
  • Flexible and efficient radio, optical or copper based backhaul/fronthaul integration with low latency, compatible with access traffic increase and additional signalling increase for multi cell operations.
  • Innovative architectures for 5G transceivers and micro-servers, with identification and prototyping of key hardware building blocks supporting low cost implementation of the identified spectrum usage scenarios.
  • Experiment based research preparing for large scale demonstrator and test-beds, leveraging where possible experimental facilities available in EU Member States or Associated Countries.

Strand convergence beyond last mile
The challenge is to support the integration of a ubiquitous access continuum composed of cooperative, cognitive fixed and heterogeneous wireless resources, with fixed optical access reaching at least the 10 Gb/s range and functionalities allowing unified control. Beyond technological aspects, access sharing issues related competition and support of new business models must be part of the requirements. Actions may address:

  • Solving the management heterogeneity of different technologies and protocols used to deploy fixed and heterogeneous wireless networks.
  • Architectures to i) optimise the reuse of (possibly virtualised) functionality across heterogeneous access technologies and their location (centralised vs. decentralised) in the network; ii) optimise the reuse and sharing of infrastructures across heterogeneous networks.

Strand network management
The challenge is to radically decrease network management opex through automation whilst increasing user perceived quality of service, of experience and security. Actions may address:

  • Novel simplified (low opex) approaches to overall management of the network, addressing both the network level management (e.g. Self-organising networks –SON) and the service level management with metrics enabling to map user perceived quality of services with the state of the underlying network infrastructure and enabling to value traffic data.
  • Combination of software defined network implementations with autonomic management of resources.
  • Network security across multiple virtualised or SDN domains, with analysis of risks and vulnerabilities, definition of threat models and authentication mechanisms across multiple domains. Intelligence driven security and data analytics may be considered.

b. Innovation Actions –  Proposals are expected to cover one or more of the strands identified below, but not necessarily all of them.

Strand Network virtualisation and Software Networks.
Significant work is on-going globally on the way equipment services and network applications can be designed and deployed, with a highly flexible, manufacturer-independent model of controlling reconfigurable resources supporting changing/emerging application requirements. Actions may address large scale validation, testing and standardisation in following domains:

  • Virtualisation: i) of network functionalities at infrastructure level, with physical resources reused by concurrent processes, with open interfaces (API) virtual machines; ii) of the implementation of network services running on top of the infrastructure, taking a broad approach to network services (routing, NAT, firewalls..), beyond fully programmable nodes as high‐speed, forwarding devices. Migration paths and co-existence with legacy networking devices is to be considered.
  • Orchestration logic (SDN), enabling network programmability, automation of cross domain network configuration, simplification and programmability of devices, moving towards Operating System (OS) like orchestration mechanism of the software components of the network. Open source approach may be considered.
  • Tighter integration between the application/service layers and the networking layers, with full landscape aware decision capability enabling improved   reconfiguration capability and time to reconfigure.
  • Support of open network functionalities for dynamic integration with third party and OTT cloud environments offering guaranteed and negotiable end to end SLA’s including security aspects, and enabling exposure of network resources to third party application developers.

c. Support Actions –  Proposals are expected to cover one or more of the themes identified below, but not necessarily all of them.

In order to ensure coherence and maximum impact of the PPP, additional activities are foreseen:

  • Overall programme integration through projects cooperation agreement and analysis of the outcomes generated by the various PPP projects (project portfolio analysis);
  • Horizontal supervision of the societal perspective of the addressed technologies.
  • Monitoring of the openness, fairness and transparency of the PPP process, including sector commitments and leveraging factor.
  • Analysis of international activities in the relevant 5G domains and identification of international co-operation opportunities, in view of fostering global solutions, standards and interoperability.
  • Support to standardisation bodies through early identification of promising technologies.
  • Support to spectrum policy: spectrum requirement identification and operational analysis, also covering more efficient use of licensed spectrum.
  • Development and maintenance of a “5G web site” acting as a “one stop” shop for 5G activities under the PPP, including also economic, spectrum and regulatory aspects.
  • Roadmaps for key PPP technologies and for experimental requirements and facilities.

Expected impact:

a. Research & Innovation actions

At macro level, the target impact is to keep and reinforce a strong EU industrial base in the domain of network technologies, which is seen as strategic industry worldwide. Retaining at least 35% of the global market share in Europe regarding future network equipment would be a strategic goal.
At societal level, the impact is to support an ubiquitous access to a wider spectrum of applications and services offered at lower cost, with increased resilience and  continuity, with higher efficiency of resources usage (e.g. spectrum), and to reduce network energy consumption.

At operational level, following impacts are sought:

  • 1000 times higher mobile data volume per geographical area.
  • 10 times to 100 times higher number of connected devices.
  • 10 times to 100 times higher typical user data rate.
  • 10 times lower energy consumption for low power Machine type communication.
  • 5 times reduced End-to-End latency (5ms for 4G-LTE).
  • Ubiquitous 5G access including in low density areas .
  • European industry driving the development of 5G standards, at least for the radio part, and to retain control of 5G SEP (standards essential patents),  20% as a minimum.  International co-operation with countries having bold R&D initiatives in the field (Korea, Japan, US, China) may be considered on a win-win basis.
  • Availability of a scalable management framework enabling deployment of novel applications, including sensor based applications, with reduction of network management opex by at least 20%. Availability of security/authentication metrics across multi domain virtualised networks.

b. Innovation actions

At macro level, the target impact is i) to create an NFV/SDN industrial capability in Europe with European providers able to compete on a US dominated market by 2020; ii) to reach large scale operational deployment of NFV/SDN based networks in Europe by 2020.
At operational level, following impacts are expected:

  • Network function implementation through generic IT servers (target) rather than on non-programmable specific firmware (today).
  • Fast deployment of large scale service platforms on top of network infrastructures, from 90 days (today) to 90 minutes (target).
  • Trustworthy interoperability across multiple operational domains, networks and data centres. International co-operation with countries having bold R&I initiatives in the field (Korea, Japan, US, China) may be considered on a win-win basis.

c. Support actions

The expected impact relates to the PPP management as a strategic European programme including projects cooperation, exploitation of results, dissemination and standardization, coherent and systematic research approach, support to roadmapping and constituency building.

Types of action:

a. Research & Innovation Actions – Proposals requesting a Large contribution are expected
b. Innovation Actions – Proposals requesting a Large contribution are expected
c. Coordination and Support Actions

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