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5G PPP Research and Validation of critical technologies and systems
Deadline: Nov 8, 2016  

 Energy Efficiency
 International Cooperation
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

This challenge frames the 5G PPP initiative, whose phase 2 will be implemented under this LEIT-ICT Work Programme. The challenge is to eliminate the current and anticipated limitations of network infrastructures, by making them capable of supporting a much wider array of requirement than is the case today and with capability of flexibly adapting to different "vertical" application requirements. The vision is that in ten years from now, telecom and IT will be integrated in a common very high capacity and flexible 5G ubiquitous infrastructure, with seamless integration of heterogeneous wired and wireless capabilities. 5G Networks have to cover a wide range of services from different use case and application areas/verticals, for increasingly capable user terminals, and for an extremely diverse set of connected machines and things; to cope with an increasingly cloud-based service access (>90% of the internet traffic will go through data centres); to support a shift from the “Client-Server” model to “Anything” as a Service (XaaS), without needs of owning hardware, software or the cognitive objects themselves. Network elements will become "computing equivalent" elements that gather programmable resources, interfaces and functions based on virtualisation technologies, to implement control functionalities ad-how as a function of the use case.

This challenge includes optimisation of cost functions (capex/opex) and of scarce resources (e.g. energy, spectrum), as well as migration towards new network architectures.

A particular issue is to leverage work and results of phase 1 (WP 2014-15)[[This is not limited to results worked out under the H2020 context, but may include results from other R&I initiatives, e.g. in Member States]] and to accelerate on proof of concepts and demonstrators. Where technological maturity permits, validation of research results, of the most demanding KPI's and of the most promising 5G technology options will be supported by experimental testing conducted in the context of use case in active cooperation with the various potential "vertical" sectors driving the innovative requirements. This validation activity is also expected to be boldly leveraged in the context of the important standardisation (3G PP) and spectrum (WRC 19) milestones that will appear over this WP implementation period.


a. Research and Innovation Actions covers three strands that complement each other. Proposal may address parts of a strand or parts that cut across several strands.

Strand 1 covers wireless access and radio network architecture/technologies:

  • Novel air interface technologies i) supporting efficiently a heterogeneous set of requirements from low rate sensors including mission critical M2M communications to very high rate HD/3D TV and immersive services; ii) supporting local and wide area systems, heterogeneous multi-layer deployments, assuring uniform performance coverage, capacity, e.g. through advanced Multi Antenna Transceiver Techniques, including 3D and massive MIMO beam-forming; iii) enabling usage of frequency bands above 6GHz, for ultra-high speed access, backhaul and fronthaul, based on fully characterised channel models.
  • Hardware architectures technologies and building blocks for 5G low cost low-within relevant spectrum range;
  • (Radio) Network functional architectures and interfaces leading to a stable vision / reference architecture for 5G in support of the standardisation work expected to culminate under the 2017-2020 period. It provides a platform for technical coordination with other 5G initiatives. This architecture efficiently supports different deployment topologies ranging from fully distributed to fully centralised, with reduced management complexity and minimised signalling overhead. It also covers technologies like WiFi. It supports the “5G services and verticals” framework embracing the machine-type of communication services, the Internet of Things. It covers solutions that unify connection, security, mobility, multicast/broadcast and routing/forwarding management capable of instantiating any type of virtual network architecture;
  • Co-operative operation of heterogeneous access networks integrating virtual radio functions into service delivery networks, including broadcast/multicast technologies (terrestrial and satellite based) and supporting Software Defined Networking (SDN) and virtualisation techniques of RAN functions, providing the environment for multi-base station attachment;
  • Support of numerous devices with different capabilities, with unified connectivity management capabilities, in terms of security, mobility and routing. It includes cloud and edge computing for low latency requirements and carrier grade communications for Machine Type Communications (MTC) with resource-constrained sensor and actuator nodes with multi-year battery life operation;
  • Coordination and optimization of user access to heterogeneous radio accesses including ultra-dense networks, supported by intelligent radio resource management framework. This covers the joint management of the resources in the wireless access and the backhaul/fronthaul as well as their integration with optical or legacy copper networks;
  • Multi-tenancy for Radio Access Network (RAN) sharing, covering ultra-dense network deployments with the ability to allocate traffic to shared MNOs infrastructure while satisfying their SLAs. Load and deployment are key aspects. Impacts in other segments of the network (e.g., backhaul), is taken into account for joint management;
  • Integration of Satellite Networks to support ubiquitous coverage, resilience, specific markets, and where appropriate further complement terrestrial technologies (e.g. in traffic off loading, backhaul, or content delivery).

Strand 2: High capacity elastic - optical networks

The objective is to support very high traffic and capacity increase originating from an (5G) heterogeneous access networks with matching capabilities from the core and metro environments, at ever increasing speeds and in more flexible and adaptive form. It covers new spectrally efficient, adaptive transmission, networking, control and management approaches to increase network capacity by a factor of >100 while at the same time providing high service granularity, guarantees for end-to-end optimization and QoS - reducing power consumption, footprint and cost per bit and maintaining reach. The integration of such new optical transport and transmission designs with novel network control and management paradigms (e.g., SDN) are expected to enable programmability.

Disruptive approaches for a massive capacity scaling may impact network infrastructure, and system architectures which need to be assessed for integration and migration aspects.

Strand 3 covers the "Software Network", including work on:

  • Software network architecture to support an access agnostic converged core network and control framework enabling next generation services (including services for vertical sectors) and integrating next generation access and devices. The architecture leverages the SDN/NFV paradigm and is able to integrate/manage next generation transport and optical technologies, both for backhaul and fronthaul, to flexibly meet increasing system capacity requirements;
  • A unified management of connectivity, with end to end security mobility and routing (including multicast/broadcast) beyond current concepts (e.g. tunnelling) for flexible introduction of new services. This aims at a unified physical infrastructure and includes corresponding abstractions – (virtual) resources, functions, hardware etc. – for control and orchestration. Solutions to provision SDN networks across administrative boundaries (e.g. multiple operators, customer networks, datacentres) and interoperability issues between multiple SDN control domains are in scope;
  • Solutions (e.g API's and corresponding abstractions) that allow re-location or anycast search of services and their components, as a function of the context. This includes problems involved in portability of virtual network functions and naming of deployed functions and services. It supports co-existence of multiple network domains and easy migration;
  • Scalability and efficiency related to increasing deployment of software-based network equipment and functions as well as corresponding more diverse services and usages. These include ease of deployment of multitenant networks, cost and energy efficiency, "five 9" reliability, flexibility and perceived "zero latency" where relevant;
  • Realisation of the "plug and play vision” for computing, storage and network resources through appropriate abstraction, interfaces, and layering. It covers the full network infrastructure from core network to heterogeneous access, also with integration of the 5G architecture with legacy infrastructure. The target is for a Network Operating System (NOS) with hardware and user interfaces to manage and orchestrate unified access to computing, storage, memory and networking resources. The approach towards a NOS may also be considered in the context of experimental facilities, in view of integrating multiple heterogeneous European experimental facilities. The goal is to allow proper testing and comparison of the different 5G technological components. OSS solutions are preferred;
  • Management and security for virtualised networks and services to support service deployment decisions related with location and lifecycle management of network functions, and flexible configuration of network nodes. Network analytics tools, knowledge reasoning and cognition, may be extended towards network operations to cope with complex, heterogeneous, and dynamic networks featuring large numbers of nodes, and to correlate all monitoring sources in order to create a real-time supervision of Quality of Service and Quality of Experience. Management of security (privacy where appropriate) across multiple virtualised domains is a key aspect to be cobered by this call.

For the 3 strands above, projects will be implemented as a programme and be expected to actively contribute key horizontal results to the integration process led by the programme level CSA. Therefore all grants awarded under this topic will be complementary to each other and to the grant agreement(s) under the topic ICT-08-2017 a). The respective options of Article 2, Article 31.6 and Article 41.4 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied [[]]. International cooperation with clear EU industrial benefits may be considered, preferably with nations having launched strategic 5G initiatives (e.g. China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, USA).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 and 8 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts, in particular for proposals targeting significant experiment/demonstrations activities in relation to well identified use cases justifying higher amounts.

b. Coordination and Support Actions

5G PPP projects will be implemented as a programme through the use of complementary grants and the respective options of Article 2, Article 31.6 and Article 41.4 of the Model Grant Agreement [[]] will be applied. This calls for activities to ensure a sound programmatic view of the implemented 5G Research and Innovation Actions (RIA) and Innovation Actions (IA) results. The proposed support actions shall liaise with the 5G RIA and IA actions to exploit synergies in the implementation of the activities that include:

  • Programme level integration through management and orchestration of 5G PPP project cooperation for horizontal issues of common interests (security, energy efficiency, spectrum, standardisation, societal impact of 5G…) in support of the commitments of the 5G PPP contractual arrangement and mapping the strategic programme of the 5G industrial Association;
  • Portfolio analysis, coverage, mapping and gap analysis, roadmaps for key PPP technologies and for experimental requirements and facilities, also taking into account national developments;
  • Proactive support to the emergence of a 5G PPP "5G vision", to key international co-operation activities. A clear proactive strategy is expected to channel relevant 5G PPP project outcomes towards key SDO's like 3G PP (standardisation work expected to start in 2016) and to valorise relevant spectrum work in the context of future WRC's;
  • Organisation of stakeholder events, including reaching out to users and key verticals;
  • Monitoring of the openness, fairness and transparency of the PPP process, including sector commitments and leveraging factor;
  • Maintenance of the "5G web site".

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU up to EUR 3 million would allow this area to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

a. Research and Innovation Actions

  • Overarching impact: 40% of the world communication infrastructure market for EU headquartered companies;
  • Demonstrated progress towards core 5G PPP KPI's: 1000x capacity, 1ms latency, 90% energy savings, 10x battery lifetime, service creation in minutes, better/increased/ubiquitous coverage, 10 times to 100 times higher typical user data rate, 10 times lower energy consumption for low power Machine type communication, Lowered EMF levels compared to LTE solutions;
  • Novel business models through innovative sharing of network resources across multiple actors;
  • Finer grained management of optical metro and core capacity and capacity increase by a factor of 100 (only for Strand 2);
  • Optimised optical backhaul architectures and technologies (only for Strand 2);
  • Ubiquitous 5G access including in low density areas (only for Strand 1 and 2);
  • Definition of 5G network architecture and of core technological components (only for Strand 1 and 3);
  • Proactive contribution to the 3G PP standardisation activity on 5G, and to other standardisation activities, e.g. ONF, ETSI-NFV, IEEE; proactive contribution to the WRC 19 preparation for 5G spectrum.
  • Proof-of-concept and demonstrators beyond phase one and validating core functionalities and KPI's in the context of specific use cases with verticals closely associated to the demonstrations and validation. Indicative sectors include: automotive, connected cars; eHealth; video/TV broadcast; Energy management; very high density locations and events (only for Strand 1 and 3);
  • Novel connectivity paradigms, beyond the Client server model and enabling massive edge network deployments (only for Strand 1 and 3);
  • Network function implementation through generic IT servers (target) rather than on non-programmable specific firmware (today) (only for Strand 3);
  • OS like capabilities to orchestrate network resources (only for Strand 3);
  • Trustworthy interoperability across multiple virtualised operational domains, networks and data centres;
  • Solutions for the management of multi domain virtualised networks with coverage of security architectures based on industry characterised threat models.

b. Coordination and Support Actions

  • Maximised output and exploitation of 5G PPP project results in key domains (standardisation, spectrum) through managed projects cooperation on horizontal issues;
  • Constituency building, stakeholder support, support to key international cooperation events; dissemination, support to core international cooperation activities, to relevant stakeholder events;
  • Definition of future R&I actions through roadmapping.

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