COMBO is an FP7 ICT European project started in 2013. It gathers 15 partners from 7 countries (France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Turkey) :
- 5 network operators or service providers: Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Fon Technology, Argela.
- 5 manufacturers and SMEs: Ericsson, Adva Optical Networking, JCP-Connect, Aitia International, Telnet Redes Inteligentes.
- 5 academic labs or public research institutes: Telecom Bretagne, Centre Tecnologic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya, Politecnico di Milano, Budapesti Muszaki Es Gazdasagtudomanyi Egyetem, Lunds Universitet.
5G network architecture will have to deal with increasing traffic and changing applications. It should improve placement of intelligence in an open environment integrating fixed and mobile infrastructures. For this purpose, COMBO has defined an architectural framework based on Next-Generation Point of Presence (NG-POP). NG-POP will be an important location in the operator infrastructure, which hosts in particular the subscriber IP edge for all access types (fixed, Wi-Fi, mobile). NG-POPs can be distributed at main central offices, close to the user; or centralized at fewer locations at core central offices, at the boundary between aggregation and core networks.
The COMBO European project has organized in Lannion on 28th April 2016 a public demonstration of both distributed and centralized NG-POP flavours in a fully converged environment. This demonstration followed 7 weeks of integration and measurements on the COMBO demo platform. Five booths have described and demonstrated key transport and functional enablers of fixed mobile network integration. In particular, the demonstration featured unification of transport resources in fixed, mobile and Wi-Fi access and aggregation networks thanks to an integrated optical infrastructure supported by an 18-km field fibre ring. It also demonstrated the concept of Universal Access Gateway (UAG) as a set of virtualized network functions hosted in NG-POP and allowing unification of user authentication and data path management for all fixed, Wi-Fi and mobile users.
These demonstrations were illustrated by typical use cases showing how user experience could be improved in multi-access situations thanks to advanced virtualized network functions of UAG such as universal AUThentication (uAUT) and universal Data Path Management (uDPM), as well as uDPM-assisted distributed caching. As an example, one use case has shown seamless authentication of the user on several access types with the same credentials. Another one has shown the combined use of two access types by a given user session and its individual traffic flows. Another use case has demonstrated how distributed caching units assisted by uDPM functions will allow an improved performance for video streaming applications.
This COMBO demo event fully reached its technical and dissemination objectives, with fruitful experimental results and about 40 external visitors. The various booths shown at this demo event have also been video-recorded, so as to allow further dissemination of COMBO experimental outcomes and vision on integration of fixed and mobile networks for 5G architecture. Leveraging on this achievement, the COMBO project is pushing its ideas into the on-going work towards 5G standardization.