Towards an open source architecture for multi-operator LTE core networks

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Journal of Network and Computer Applications


© 2016 The deployment of a new mobile telecommunication operator and its operation can lead to very high costs and a long entry time to business market. Sharing LTE network infrastructures and adopting network virtualization technologies are of paramount importance to reduce both capital and operational costs of future mobile networks. However, the number of openly available and realistic implementations to study and enhance such sharing technologies is simply inexistent. This paper proposes an architecture for enabling the sharing of Long Term Evolution (LTE) infrastructures based on Multi-Operator Core Network (MOCN), a well-known specification where different evolved Node B (eNB) base stations are shared among multiple mobile telecommunication operators in order to reduce capital (CAPEX) and operational (OPEX) costs. Technical details of the proposed architecture are described in this contribution. The proposed architecture has been implemented and validated. This contribution constitutes the first open source implementation available of an LTE-Emulator with infrastructure sharing capabilities. It also provides a complete empirical study of the effects of sharing eNBs between different providers. Results show an average overhead around 1.5% when sharing technologies are being utilized whereas the reduction of capital costs is ranging between 50% and 87% for a scenario where 8 telecommunication operators are sharing the infrastructure.

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