Sharing gNB components in RAN slicing: A perspective from 3GPP/NFV standards

by   Oscar Adamuz-Hinojosa, et al.

To implement the next Generation NodeBs (gNBs) that are present in every Radio Access Network (RAN) slice subnet, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) enables the deployment of some of the gNB components as Virtual Networks Functions (VNFs). Deploying individual VNF instances for these components could guarantee the customization of each RAN slice subnet. However, due to the multiplicity of VNFs, the required amount of virtual resources will be greater compared to the case where a single VNF instance carries the aggregated traffic of all the RAN slice subnets. Sharing gNB components between RAN slice subnets could optimize the trade-off between customization, isolation and resource utilization. In this article, we shed light on the key aspects in the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)/NFV standards for sharing gNB components. First, we identify four possible scenarios for sharing gNB components. Then, we analyze the impact of sharing on the customization level of each RAN slice subnet. Later, we determine the main factors that enable isolation between RAN slice subnets. Finally, we propose a 3GPP/NFV-based description model to define the lifecycle management of shared gNB components


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