A multi-site NFV testbed for experimentation with SUAV-based 5G vertical services

Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
With the advent of 5G technologies, vertical markets have been placed at the forefront, as fundamental drivers and adopters of technical developments and new business models. Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAVs) are gaining traction in multiple vertical sectors, as key assets to generate, process, and distribute relevant information for the provision of value-added services. However, the enormous potential of SUAVs to support a flexible, rapid, and cost-effective deployment of vertical applications is still to be exploited. In this paper, we leverage our prior work on Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and SUAVs to design and build a multi-site experimentation testbed based on open-source technologies. The goal of this testbed is to explore synergies among NFV, SUAVs, and vertical services, following a practical approach primarily governed by experimentation. To verify our testbed design, we realized a reference use case where a number of SUAVs, cloud infrastructures, and communication protocols are used to provide a multi-site vertical service. Our experimentation results suggest the potential of NFV and SUAVs to flexibly support vertical services. The lessons learned have served to identify missing elements in our NFV platform, as well as challenging aspects for potential improvement. These include the development of specific mechanisms to limit processing load and delays of service deployment operations.
Network functions virtualization (NFV), Open Source MANO (OSM), Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAV), Test facilities, Vertical services
Bibliographic citation
IEEE Access, (2020), v. 8, pp.: 111522-111535.