The MARSAL addresses the need of network densification in the complex and dynamic network ecosystem of the future. Key paradigm of the beyond-5G network is the cell-free design, where “cellular” network is obsoleted with new distributed design of coordinated distributed units (DU) and Radio units (RU). In this complex and dynamic network ecosystem, an end-to-end performance analysis and optimization will be key features, to effectively manage the diverse requirements imposed by multiple vertical industries over the same shared infrastructure. To enable such a vision, the MARSAL targets the development and evaluation of a complete framework for the management and orchestration of network resources in 5G and beyond, by utilizing a converged optical-wireless network infrastructure in the access and fronthaul/midhaul segments. In MARSAL project, three design pillars are proposed to enable novel cell-free concept for beyond 5G networks:
The role of IS-Wireless in MARSAL is to deliver vO_CU-UP and vO-DU for a cell-free vRAN architecture and integrate it with O-RAN compliant control plane (vO_CU-CP) from a consortium partner (Acceleran). From the other hand, IS-Wireless will also develop a prototype of cell-free vO-DU and integrate it with cell-free high-PHY from another consortium partner (KU-Leuven).
IS-Wireless will also deliver a MAC layer intelligent scheduler for cell-free operation. The vO-DU from IS-Wireless will utilize the FAPI-like device driver from KUL (lightweight version) and on the side of NearRT-RIC from Acceleran will receive E2 compliant interface. IS-Wireless will be providing the user plane and control plane integration points for the NearRT-RIC. In MARSAL, ISW will lead the WP6 (Integration, Experimentation and Proof-of-Concept), the T3.4 (integration and testing of MARSAL’s cell-free B5G network. Moreover, IS-Wireless also participating in WP2 (overall architecture, system requirements, and interfaces) and WP3 (cell-free access for 5G and beyond), respectively.