Design and Evaluation of a K8s-based System for Distributed Open-Source Cellular Networks


Virtualization in cellular networks is one of the key areas of research where technologies, infrastructure and challenges are rapidly changing as 5G system architecture demands a paradigm shift. This paper aims to study the viability and the performance of cloud-native infrastructures for hosting network functions. The selected frameworks implement both the 4G and the 5G stacks and their network functions. This work considers a variety of scenarios for enabling the deployment of a distributed and open-source cellular network: a baremetal setup, an all-docker-based setup and the proposed Kubernetes setup. Moreover, an analysis of the impact that the Radio Access Network (RAN) and the Core Network (CN) have on computational resource utilization is presented as the network conditions vary. The design proposed in this work has been validated and analyzed using the proposed prototype and testbed. This paper proposes a design to increase resource usage flexibility and performance and reduction of deployment time. The analysis of the gathered data reveals that the deployments of containerized cellular networks display better performance in terms of flexibility, low startup times, and ease of deployment while consuming the same resources as the non-containerized.

Proc. of IEEE IWCMC. Marrakesh, Morocco