Using Reinforcement Learning to Allocate and Manage Service Function Chains in Cellular Networks

by   Guto Leoni Santos, et al.

It is expected that the next generation cellular networks provide a connected society with fully mobility to empower the socio-economic transformation. Several other technologies will benefits of this evolution, such as Internet of Things, smart cities, smart agriculture, vehicular networks, healthcare applications, and so on. Each of these scenarios presents specific requirements and demands different network configurations. To deal with this heterogeneity, virtualization technology is key technology. Indeed, the network function virtualization (NFV) paradigm provides flexibility for the network manager, allocating resources according to the demand, and reduces acquisition and operational costs. In addition, it is possible to specify an ordered set of network virtual functions (VNFs) for a given service, which is called as service function chain (SFC). However, besides the advantages from service virtualization, it is expected that network performance and availability do not be affected by its usage. In this paper, we propose the use of reinforcement learning to deploy a SFC of cellular network service and manage the VNFs operation. We consider that the SFC is deployed by the reinforcement learning agent considering a scenarios with distributed data centers, where the VNFs are deployed in virtual machines in commodity servers. The NFV management is related to create, delete, and restart the VNFs. The main purpose is to reduce the number of lost packets taking into account the energy consumption of the servers. We use the Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO2) algorithm to implement the agent and preliminary results show that the agent is able to allocate the SFC and manage the VNFs, reducing the number of lost packets.


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