5G mobile networks target a 1000 times capacity increase. Three courses have been identified to achieve this target: more spectrum, new radio transmission technologies and new networking architecture. New radio technologies may indeed increase capacity 10-fold, but a 10-fold increase in suitable spectrum is more problematic. Thus, greater emphasis is being placed on new networking technologies: the focus of NIRVANA.
A key question is how to create mobile networks in 10 years’ time which are not only faster, to overcome capacity and efficiency bottlenecks, but also smarter and greener. This needs a new network infrastructure. NIRVANA proposes an intelligent and virtualised heterogeneous network infrastructure. A key aspect is virtualisation.
Highly-flexible virtualisation is provided in a Cloud-Radio Access Network (C-RAN) which allows interchangeable, overlaid connections between centralised BS baseband units (BBUs) and remote radio heads (RRHs). It also exists for the user equipment (UE): the mobile clone in the mobile cloud.
Another important aspect of NIRVANA is its strong support of network heterogeneity. NIRVANA innovatively combines the device-to-device (D2D) and device-to-infrastructure (D2I) communications (including the use of 60-GHz mesh networking) into the network infrastructure. D2D, for users in close proximity, effectively shortens radio transmission distance, saving energy.
Finally, network performance and guaranteed QoS/E are possible only through informed decision making. This reflects the third key aspect of NIRVANA: intelligent information gathering.