The 5TONIC laboratory includes a solid baseline of facilities, infrastructure and equipment to support advanced experimentation in the 5G virtual network function and wireless systems areas. In this respect, the laboratory offers a data center with space for 10 racks, including one rack for communications. 5TONIC provides access to a common infrastructure with specific-purpose hardware, to assist in experiments, trials and demonstrations with particular 5G network technologies, as well as to commodity hardware, which allows a cost-effective approach to configure different network topologies of variable size and capacity. Although, due to confidentiality reasons, we cannot disclose all the software and hardware available in our laboratory, in the following we present a non-exhaustive list of components offered to 5TONIC members.

The NFV infrastructure (NFVI) equipment includes 3 high-power servers to test real deployments, equipped with 8 cores in a NUMA architecture, 12 modules of 16GB RDIMM RAM and 8 10Gbps Ethernet optical transceivers with SR-IOV capabilities. These servers are connected between them to deploy the data planes, by using a switch with 24 10Gbps Ethernet optical ports. To complement this NFVI, the laboratory provides a set of 30 mini-PC computers with DPDK capabilities, supporting the experimentation with Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) at smaller scale, as well as the management and orchestration of virtual machines. Furthermore, the MANO part of the laboratory includes 4 servers, where each of them includes 4 cores, 2 modules of 8GB RDIMM RAM and 4 1Gbps Ethernet cards. Additionally, 18 blade servers can be used for the MANO infrastructure, or for any other purpose related with NFV. The different elements of the test-bed can be flexibly interconnected using a pool of 50 low-power single board computers, with Ethernet and WiFi network cards, which can be configured to deploy diverse network functionalities, such as OpenFlow switches, wireless routers, WiFi access points, firewalls or load balancers. The NFV network is completed with 3 100BASE-TX 802.1Q capable switches and 5 10GbE OpenFlow switches.

Considering the previous information on the available infrastructure and equipment, the initial set-up of the 5TONIC test-bed, focusing on NFV/SDN functionalities, is schematized in the following figure. This setup allows the deployment and/or testing of different NFV/SDN domains, multi-layer control & orchestration, multi-tenancy NFV/SDN and multi-vendor NFV/SDN. Secure external access, both for control and for distributed inter-site connection is also provided via VPN gateways.

Figure 1: partial view of the NFV/SDN test-bed

Considering research on the 5G air interface and other radio aspects, 5TONIC infrastructure includes equipment to support advanced experimentation with Software Defined Radio (SDR) systems. This equipment consists of a set of 2 eNodeB with 8 FPGA cards, to run high speed and computationally intensive physical layer operations in WiFi/LTE, 4 radio frequency transceivers and a real-time controller, able to execute MAC and PHY control algorithms with micro-second resolution. Driven by the 5G vision, which considers to extend the use of the radio spectrum, the infrastructure also supports communications in the frequency band between 30Ghz and 300Ghz (mmWave), as well as low frequency communications. In particular, the test-bed includes several scalable SDR platforms, along with a set of 60Ghz down/up-converters, supporting the generation and reception of arbitrary signals in the frequency bands under consideration.

To support the operation of the abovementioned components, the 5TONIC infrastructure provides a common infrastructure of 7 high-performance servers, which are used for different purposes: storage and backup of 5G experimental data, execution of NFV management software, deployment of SDN controllers, performing intensive computing simulations (e.g., using distributed computing or NS-3 simulator) and baseband processing of frequency signals, among others. The test-bed is completed with a heterogeneous set of end-user equipment for experimentation purposes, including 20 laptops/workstations (these may also be used as mobile nodes) and a pool of smartphones; a set of VPN gateways, to support the remote access to the 5TONIC laboratory; and different wireless measurement equipment, e.g., supporting equipment to generate baseband signals for transmission in the 60 GHz band, as well as 2 signal analyzers to inspect baseband and/or intermediate frequency 60 GHz signals. Additionally, the laboratory incorporates a fleet of 5 programmable Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), supporting novel experimentation activities related with the use of micro-drones as 5G points of presence.

Finally, the 5TONIC laboratory includes a metro-core network, which can be connected to the components described before in several ways. The metro-core network setup is composed by IP/MPLS and optical devices. The core control plane test-bed is conformed by GMPLS nodes with software developed internally. The experimental setup is built with emulated nodes, which run in an Ubuntu server Linux distribution. Each emulated node implements a GMPLS stack (including RSVP, OSPFv2 and PCEP) and a Flexible Node emulator.


TThe 5TONIC innovation laboratory will support a wide range of systems, functionality, services and applications, including end-user terminals and outdoor equipment if needed, as well as edge and cloud based back-office functionality. More areas may be incorporated in the future if considered convenient, according to the needs and interests of 5TONIC members. In addition to focused technological areas, 5TONIC may include horizontal technical topics considered relevant, such as: (1) energy efficiency, harvesting and management, in particular for IoT devices; (2) security and privacy; and (3) measurements and monitoring. In the short-term, and considering the research and experimentation activities carried out by 5TONIC members, the following equipment will be acquired and incorporated to the laboratory:

  • Extension of the SDR infrastructure with: 8 single-boards able of providing continuous frequency coverage in the band 70Mhz-6Ghz; 8 workstations to support the management of SDR cards, 6 FPGAs to support rapid prototyping of high-performance wireless communication systems in the band 400MHz to 4.4. GHz; 6 laptops; and a pool of smartphones.
  • Additional equipment to support millimeter wave experimentation.
  • Introduction of novel 5G communications technologies. In this respect, 5TONIC will shortly incorporate equipment to support experimentation in the field of Visible Light Communication (VLC), particularly a Li-Flame system (a high-speed wireless network solution based on VLC) with 6 access points and 4 stations, 2 WARP v3 hardware platforms and diverse embedded hardware, ancillary electronics and peripherals; the laboratory will also target novel underwater communication approaches, with the inclusion of 5 hydro-acoustic modems and appropriate cabling.
  • The short-term evolution of 5TONIC also contemplates the extension of the NFV/SDN infrastructure, with 5 computation servers and 1 administration/orchestration, as well as 2 high-performance storage servers.