vrAIn: A Deep Learning Approach Tailoring Computing and Radio Resources in Virtualized RANs
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The virtualization of radio access networks (vRAN) is the last milestone in the NFV revolution. However, the complex dependencies between computing and radio resources make vRAN resource control particularly daunting. We present vrAIn, a dynamic resource controller for vRANs based on deep reinforcement learning. First, we use an autoencoder to project high-dimensional context data (traffic and signal quality patterns) into a latent representation. Then, we use a deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) algorithm based on an actor-critic neural network structure and a classifier to map (encoded) contexts into resource control decisions. We have implemented vrAIn using an open-source LTE stack over different platforms. Our results show that vrAIn successfully derives appropriate compute and radio control actions irrespective of the platform and context: (i) it provides savings in computational capacity of up to 30% over CPU-unaware methods; (ii) it improves the probability of meeting QoS targets by 25% over static allocation policies using similar CPU resources in average; (iii) upon CPU capacity shortage, it improves throughput performance by 25% over state-of-the-art schemes; and (iv) it performs close to optimal policies resulting from an offline oracle. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that thoroughly studies the computational behavior of vRANs, and the first approach to a model-free solution that does not need to assume any particular vRAN platform or system conditions.