Date of Degree

2-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Engineering

Advisor(s)

Mohamed A. Ali

Subject Categories

Electrical and Electronics

Keywords

LTE, WiMAX

Abstract

The phenomenal growth of mobile backhaul capacity required to support the emerging fourth-generation (4G) traffic including mobile WiMAX, cellular Long-Term Evolution (LTE), and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) requires rapid migration from today's legacy circuit switched T1/E1 wireline and microwave backhaul technologies to a new fiber-supported, all-packet-based mobile backhaul infrastructure. Clearly, a cost effective fiber supported all-packet-based mobile backhaul radio access network (RAN) architecture that is compatible with these inherently distributed 4G RAN architectures is needed to efficiently scale current mobile backhaul networks. However, deploying a green fiber-based mobile backhaul infrastructure is a costly proposition mainly due to the significant cost associated with digging the trenches in which the fiber is to be laid.

These, along with the inevitable trend towards all-IP/Ethernet transport protocols and packet switched networks, have prompted many carriers around the world to consider the potential of utilizing the existing fiber-based Passive Optical Network (PON) access infrastructure as an all-packet-based converged fixed-mobile optical access networking transport architecture to backhaul both mobile and typical wireline traffic. Passive Optical Network (PON)-based fiber-to-the-curb/home (FTTC/FTTH) access networks are being deployed around the globe based on two Time-Division Multiplexed (TDM) standards: ITU G.984 Gigabit PON (GPON) and IEEE 802.ah Ethernet PON (EPON). A PON connects a group of Optical Network Units (ONUs) located at the subscriber premises to an Optical Line Terminal (OLT) located at the service provider's facility.

It is the purpose of this thesis to examine the technological requirements and assess the performance analysis and feasibility for deploying TDM-based next-generation (NG) PON solutions in the access arena as multiservice, all packet-based 4G mobile backhaul RAN and/or converged fixed-mobile optical networking architecture. Specifically, this work proposes and devises a simple and cost-effective 10G-EPON-based 4G mobile backhaul RAN architecture that efficiently transports and supports a wide range of existing and emerging fixed-mobile advanced multimedia applications and services along with the diverse quality of service (QoS), rate, and reliability requirements set by these services. The techno-economics merits of utilizing PON-based 4G RAN architecture versus that of traditional 4G (mobile WiMAX and LTE) RAN will be thoroughly examine and quantified.

To achieve our objective, we utilize the existing fiber-based PON access infrastructure with novel ring-based distribution access network and wireless-enabled OLT and ONUs as the multiservice packet-based 4G mobile backhaul RAN infrastructure. Specifically, to simplify the implementation of such a complex undertaking, this work is divided into two sequential phases. In the first phase, we examine and quantify the overall performance of the standalone ring-based 10G-EPON architecture (just the wireline part without overlaying/incorporating the wireless part (4G RAN)) via modeling and simulations. We then assemble the basic building blocks, components, and sub-systems required to build up a proof-of-concept prototype testbed for the standalone ring-based EPON architecture. The testbed will be used to verify and demonstrate the performance of the standalone architecture, specifically, in terms of power budget, scalability, and reach.

In the second phase, we develop an integrated framework for the efficient interworking between the two wireline PON and 4G mobile access technologies, particularly, in terms of unified network control and management (NCM) operations. Specifically, we address the key technical challenges associated with tailoring a typically centralized PON-based access architecture to interwork with and support a distributed 4G RAN architecture and associated radio NCM operations. This is achieved via introducing and developing several salient-networking innovations that collectively enable the standalone EPON architecture to support a fully distributed 4G mobile backhaul RAN and/or a truly unified NG-PON-4G access networking architecture. These include a fully distributed control plane that enables intercommunication among the access nodes (ONUs/BSs) as well as signaling, scheduling algorithms, and handoff procedures that operate in a distributed manner.

Overall, the proposed NG-PON architecture constitutes a complete networking paradigm shift from the typically centralized PON's architecture and OLT-based NCM operations to a new disruptive fully distributed PON's architecture and NCM operations in which all the typically centralized OLT-based PON's NCM operations are migrated to and independently implemented by the access nodes (ONUs) in a distributed manner. This requires migrating most of the typically centralized wireline and radio control and user-plane functionalities such as dynamic bandwidth allocation (DBA), queue management and packet scheduling, handover control, radio resource management, admission control, etc., typically implemented in today's OLT/RNC, to the access nodes (ONUs/4G BSs).

It is shown that the overall performance of the proposed EPON-based 4G backhaul including both the RAN and Mobile Packet Core (MPC) {Evolved Packet Core (EPC) per 3GPP LTE's standard} is significantly augmented compared to that of the typical 4G RAN, specifically, in terms of handoff capability, signaling overhead, overall network throughput and latency, and QoS support. Furthermore, the proposed architecture enables redistributing some of the intelligence and NCM operations currently centralized in the MPC platform out into the access nodes of the mobile RAN. Specifically, as this work will show, it enables offloading sizable fraction of the mobile signaling as well as actual local upstream traffic transport and processing (LTE bearers switch/set-up, retain, and tear-down and associated signaling commands from the BSs to the EPC and vice-versa) from the EPC to the access nodes (ONUs/BSs). This has a significant impact on the performance of the EPC. First, it frees up a sizable fraction of the badly needed network resources as well as processing on the overloaded centralized serving nodes (AGW) in the MPC. Second, it frees up capacity and sessions on the typically congested mobile backhaul from the BSs to the EPC and vice-versa.

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