Integration of 5G Experimentation Infrastructures into a Multi-Site NFV Ecosystem
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Network Function Virtualization (NFV) has been regarded as one of the key enablers for the 5 th Generation of mobile networks, or 5G. This paradigm allows to reduce the dependence on specialized hardware to deploy telecommunications and vertical services. To this purpose, it relies on virtualization techniques to softwarize network functions, simplifying their development and reducing deployment time and costs. In this context, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Telefónica, and IMDEA Networks Institute have developed an NFV ecosystem inside 5TONIC, an open network innovation center focused on 5G technologies, enabling the creation of complex, close to reality experimentation scenarios across a distributed set of NFV infrastructures, which can be made available by stakeholders at different geographic locations. This article presents the protocol that has been defined to incorporate new remote NFV sites into the multi-site NFV ecosystem based on 5TONIC, describing the requirements for both the existing and the newly incorporated infrastructures, their connectivity through an overlay network architecture, and the steps necessary for the inclusion of new sites. The protocol is exemplified through the incorporation of an external site to the 5TONIC NFV ecosystem. Afterwards, the protocol details the verification steps required to validate a successful site integration. These include the deployment of a multi-site vertical service using a remote NFV infrastructure with Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAVs). This serves to showcase the potential of the protocol to enable distributed experimentation scenarios.