5G is a massive undertaking of many different stakeholders (i.e. far beyond equipment vendors and network operators) to evolve current mobile and fixed networks into a new, consolidated, integrated, any-traffic, any-service, extremely flexible, cost efficient and energy efficient network ready for the socio-economic requirements in 2020. While in some parts 5G is evolutionary and backwards compatible (e.g. supporting existing radio networks such as UMTS and LTE), the general direction points to a rather revolutionary approach and result. 5G technology and business studies often focus on the underlying drivers and requirements to justify that, while it is more important to look at the underlying facilitators to understand the new situation before going into dedicated 5G scenarios.

RINA provides a series of value propositions in the context of the 5G vision:

  • Use RINA theory or parts of  it to design 5G architectures and specify 5G models. The RINA values here are a complete naming and addressing architecture, a simple and complete repeating pattern for resources (single resources, network stacks/layers, networks), security by isolation as a property of the repeating pattern, simplification of network protocols (in number, limiting them to two, as well as in complexity, especially looking at the finite number of operations in CDAP), the clear focus on maximising the invariants and minimising the variants (e.g. of a system), and the identification of a complete set of management activities (operating system, DIF, DAF and name space). ARCFIRE’s contribution here is to further strengthen the RINA theory by providing practical evidence, at scale in the FIRE testbed infrastructure.
  • Use the RINA architecture, in form the PSOC standards and based on the results of previous research projects (EU and US funded) and apply them to 5G architectures, models and networks. In addition to the RINA theory, the architecture provides value in detailing how immutable infrastructure for network elements is designed (the parts of an IPC Process), how the parts of this infrastructure interact with each other (data transfer, data transfer control, layer management in IPC Processes), how a stable model of the actual infrastructure is designed and built as well as shared (the RIB model, including the developed language and tool chain from PRISTINE), how additional measures (e.g. keys and key management) can be introduced to eliminate possible attack vectors from a RINA network (across multiple (i.e. all) layers, largely based on the results of the PRISTINE project), how RINA provides a consistent Quality of Service (QoS) model across multiple (i.e. all) layers in a RINA networks, and how network management can be drastically simplified applying RINA concepts and using RINA architectural elements (largely based on the Distributed Management System (DMS) developed in PRISTINE). ARCFIRE’s contribution here is to emphasise these architectural benefits in a large scale environment, and to further develop parts of them, e.g. the RINA management by enhancing the DMS.
  • Use a RINA implementation along with the architecture as the ultimate 5G network. This would mean to replace the entire 5G network with RINA deployed in an operational context. Taking the IRATI stack as an example, this would mean that we can prove that the implementation is customer-grade software that can deal with all functional aspects of a 5G network as well as all non-functional aspects such as scale and performance. It will also mean, regardless of the selected network stack, that currently realised investment in classic infrastructure (i.e. IP nodes) would need to be discarded or upgraded to operate a RINA network instead of a TCP/IP network. While this is the ultimate ambition of RINA, in the ARCFIRE context we believe it is safe to say that this is a value proposition that ARCFIRE cannot achieve. ARCFIRE’s contribution here can be towards this value, but not to finally create it. Furthermore, ARCFIRE does not focus on the development of (hardware or virtualised) nodes, but on providing evidence for RINA’s applicability in an operational context, thus only parts of what would be required to achieve this value.
  • Use a RINA implementation for a service (or use case), or a selected set of services (or use cases) in a 5G network. For this value proposition, we need to understand 5G services and use cases and then determine how our RINA development can and will support them. ARCFIRE’s contribution here is to provide solutions for selected services and use cases.
  • Use a RINA implementation for a part, or a selected set of parts, of a 5G network. This part of a network can be in the (i) vertical (e.g. a data center or transport or core), (ii) in the horizontal (e.g. parts of the top layers of the network), or (iii) in both (e.g. the top layers in a data center, in transport, or in the cloud). This can mean to take a RINA stack implementation (e.g. the IRATI stack) and use it in a particular part of a 5G network (e.g. cloud, data centre, Network Function Virtualisation (NFV), core, transport). This can also mean to take for instance the developed RINA management system DMS as a management solution for a non-RINA network (which will require to substitute the RIB model and implementation or to translate from/to it from the actual use 5G resource model). Some of these values have already been created in previous projects (for instance the use cases of PRISTINE). ARCFIRE’s contribution here is to strengthen those use cases and provide evidence for them to be candidates for a RINA deployment in an operational context. The results of the ARCFIRE tests will need to be evaluated in detail to see how much of this value the project will have created when it finishes.

From an ARCFIRE perspective, the main value proposition is number 4: use a RINA implementation for a service or use case. However, we will (in deliverable D2.2) also address number 1 and 2, as well as discuss avenues towards number 5. The value proposition number 3 is, due to its massive scope, out of the scope of the ARCFIRE project. However, we will continue to work towards this value as the ultimate goal of RINA and the investment realised in RINA projects, their dissemination and exploitation. For the immediate exploitation of RINA, in ARCFIRE, the value proposition 4 seems to be the ideal candidate. Here, we can substitute some of the top layers of a 5G network in a particular part of the network (in in a particular vertical) with RINA technology.