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Over its nearly 100-year history, Nokia Bell Labs has invented many of the foundational technologies that underpin information and communication networks and all digital devices and systems. This research has resulted in nine Nobel Prizes, four Turing Awards, three Japan Prizes and a plethora of National Medals of Science and Engineering, as well three Emmys, two Grammys and an Oscar for technical innovations. Nokia Bell Labs continues to conduct disruptive research focused on solving the challenges of the new digital era and innovating the technology that will define the next industrial revolution.
The network slicing concept for 5G networks has gained momentum in research and standardization communities (5GPPP, 3GPP). Slicing the network is foreseen as a solution for addressing new vertical market opportunities, for providing a multitude of services with diverse and sometimes incompatible requirements on the same infrastructure. Network slicing is the ability to offer dedicated and customized virtual end-to-end networks on a shared network infrastructure. Basically, a network slice instance is composed of a collection of virtualized network and service functions instances and their required infrastructure resources (typically virtualized resources or physical resources on specialized hardware) necessary to operate the self-contained logical mobile network.
As part of work on end-to-end (e2e) network slicing and in particular E2E orchestration, the Bell Labs Cloud Native Telecom Platforms research team is defining the necessary platform tools needed for deployment of cloud native 5G networks and in particular to support network slicing.
Some predict the need for thousands of slices sold as a service to vertical customers in smart factory, automotive, internet-of-things, and smart city segments. While detailed technical solutions for network slicing are available and standardized by 3GPP and GSMA, there is still a gap in making slices-as-a-service a reality as:
There is an insufficient focus on the expression of the service needs from customers, who may not be network experts and should not know about network slices.
There is a lack of translation functionality between customer service requests and an e2e service orchestrator
The slices span over multiple domains and multiple technologies behind, increasing thus the complexity of management
Full automation of management and orchestration solutions are in their first steps.
A feedback loop is still missing to fit the slice needs in realtime.
The design of a new OSS/BSS is being specified by the TM Forum with an open architecture ODA (Open Digital Architecture). It integrates the service-oriented principles with a separation of concern between the business offer, the customer facing services and the production of network services and resource functions. A set of open APIs for management from service order to service termination has already been specified by the TMF.
In parallel, automation of slice lifecycle management in the context of cloud network is very active with standard development (ETSI, 3GPP) or open source platform initiatives (e.g. ONAP). In this scope, intent-driven management provides high-level abstractions to describe the business and operational goals and alleviates the need for the user to derive the technical details on how to achieve those goals. Such an approach is gaining high momentum with standard initiatives (ETSI ZSM, IRTF-NMRG).
There is thus a need to study how service-oriented approach and intent based networking can be exploited and enhanced to fit into mechanisms of network slice service automated fulfilment.
OBJECTIVES OF THE APPRENTICESHIP
The aim of the apprenticeship is to investigate a new framework to automate the processing of network slice fulfilment from a high level service order and to participate to the implementation of a proof-of-concept.
The BL ENSA CNTP group proposes to study a framework to:
define a service request expression in simple terms and map it into a technology neutral service blueprint.
Automate the transformation into network and network functions resources for a dynamic and optimized deployment of this service onto the underlying network infrastructure
Unify the North-Bound Interface (NBI) Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for intent-based management
The solution shall be compatible with the standard defined mechanisms.
The following tasks have to be addressed by the candidate:
Learn and get familiar with 5G, the slicing concept, 3GPP and GSMA templates and TMF service specifications
Bibliography or state of art on 5G life-cycle management automation and intent based management mechanisms
Mastering and using a service resolver open source tool and TMF open APIs
Specify a solution of intent transformation from a high level service order into a service blueprint
Design and implement the intent transformation module interfacing with the service resolver module’s APIs.
Propose optimization or ML methods for an enhanced dynamic selection of resource used for deploying the service
Implementation of the proof-of -concept, integrating the intent transformation and resolver module with an E2E orchestrator
Autonomy and motivation.
Eager to tackle new challenges in the area of 5G, network slicing and network management automation.
Real Motivation for mathematical computations, skills in optimization or control theory, machine learning
Proficiency in programming Python/Matlab or C/C++
Experience in JSON, Postman, REST-APIs and Linux
Experience or understanding of docker containers and Kubernetes would be a bonus
Good communication skills (written and verbal) in both English and French
Final year project (BAC+5) or Master 2 Level
Either 6 months full-time internship or 12 to 14 months part-time apprenticeship (apprenticeship feasible only under the French Program involving being registered in a French engineering school/university with a contract via the Centre de Formation par Alternance (CFA)).
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