SoftCell: Scalable and flexible cellular core network architecture

Xin Jin, Li Erran Li, Laurent Vanbever, Jennifer L. Rexford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

254 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cellular core networks suffer from inflexible and expensive equipment, as well as from complex control-plane protocols. To address these challenges, we present SoftCell, a scalable architecture that supports fine-grained policies for mobile devices in cellular core networks, using commodity switches and servers. SoftCell enables operators to realize high-level service policies that direct traffic through sequences of mid-dleboxes based on subscriber attributes and applications. To minimize the size of the forwarding tables, SoftCell aggregates traffic along multiple dimensions-the service policy, the base station, and the mobile device-at different switches in the network. Since most traffic originates from mobile devices, SoftCell performs fine-grained packet classification at the access switches, next to the base stations, where software switches can easily handle the state and bandwidth requirements. SoftCell guarantees that packets belonging to the same connection traverse the same sequence of middleboxes in both directions, even in the presence of mobility. We demonstrate that SoftCell improves the scalability and flexibility of cellular core networks by analyzing real LTE workloads, performing micro-benchmarks on our prototype controller as well as large-scale simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCoNEXT 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages163-174
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781450321013
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Event2013 9th ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies, CoNEXT 2013 - Santa Barbara, CA, United States
Duration: Dec 9 2013Dec 12 2013

Publication series

NameCoNEXT 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies

Other

Other2013 9th ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies, CoNEXT 2013
CountryUnited States
CitySanta Barbara, CA
Period12/9/1312/12/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications

Keywords

  • Architecture design
  • Cellular core networks
  • Software-defined networking

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  • Cite this

    Jin, X., Li, L. E., Vanbever, L., & Rexford, J. L. (2013). SoftCell: Scalable and flexible cellular core network architecture. In CoNEXT 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies (pp. 163-174). (CoNEXT 2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/2535372.2535377