Standardization in the FLAME ecosystem

Standardization is generally seen as a major vehicle for impact creation and dissemination. This is no different to FLAME where we expect a number of key technologies to provide a significant differentiator to existing solutions. Standardization of those differentiators will allow for exploiting their value beyond the specific trial-based deployment planned throughout the lifetime of FLAME.

One such key area of differentiation compared to other solution is the FLIPS (Flexible IP Service) platform provided by InterDigital. FLIPS is at the heart of realizing the orchestration and service routing components of the FLAME architecture. Throughout 2017 and the early months of 2018, FLAME has been driving forward the standardization of major part of this FLIPS solution suite. For this, we followed an approach that divided contributions to major SDOs (standards defining organisations) into three categories, namely (i) use cases, (ii) deployment and (iii) solutions. The first category motivates the need for the solutions defined in the third, while the second category provides insights into how to deploy the solutions in typical telecom environments.

Following this approach, we identified a number of SDOs that would suit, as shown below.

For motivating the need for our solutions, the work in ETSI MEC (Multi Access Computing) is similar to our FLAME work on use cases with a focus on technical needs, such as low latency or high adaptability to communication mechanisms. In our work within the IMT2020 and 3GPP SA2 (System Architecture) groups, we focused on use cases pertaining to building highly efficient 5G mobile systems, which could benefit from the flexibility in service request routing that our solutions bring about. Based on those use cases and the work in associated SDOs, our solution work focused on the main standards organization for Internet protocols, namely the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Here, we contributed our ideas on service function chaining, i.e., the ability to flexibly assemble service functions through a programmable network. We complemented our contributions to the relevant SFC (service function chaining) WG through contributions to the BIER (Binary Indexed Explicit Replication) WG, outlining a solution over a transport network different from those we utilize in our trial environment but still relevant for, e.g., national scale deployments. Last but not least, we already started pushing core FLAME technologies beyond their current usage in FLAME itself with the contributions to the ICN (information centric networking) research group, outlining the realization of FLAME-like services directly on future 5G mobile terminals which would implement FLAME platform functionality not only in the network but also (partially) on the terminal itself.

The FLAME partner InterDigital has also organized dedicated so-called ‘side meetings’ around the solution space defined by the aforementioned FLIPS technologies during the IETF meetings in Prague and Singapore throughout 2017, with another such side meeting having taken place at the most recent IETF meeting in London during March 2018. These side meetings target the fostering of a technical community of interest dedicated to the core problems addressed by the FLAME, specifically the FLIPS technologies. This community has been growing since its first side meeting with stakeholders now including operators, major vendors, entrepreneurs as well as experienced IETF pioneers. Through such activities, we hope to increase the visibility for the solutions developed in FLAME, ultimately driving any future standardization work in this space and therefore increasing the value of our outcomes. One such community effort was the recent presentation to the Routing Working Group (RTGWG) at the IETF 101 in London, where InterDigital presented the ideas on service request routing to the overall IETF routing community.

Post from Dirk Trossen, InterDigital.