Over the years, ICT Research Communities (including publicly funded R&D Projects in US, Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, and in many other parts of the world), together with the Industry, have been working on various topics on building and implementing Testbeds for various purposes, including ICT Testbeds and Testbeds for Vertical Applications (such as certain applications in the areas of transportation, finance & banking, healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, production plants, retail, entertainment & broadcasting, etc, that leverage ICT technologies and infrastructures). Note: “Verticals” in the context of this workshop refers to these types of applications.
Today there are many Testbeds available for Research purposes and many Testbeds continue to be built by the Research Communities and by the Industry as well. What has often been noticed is that some Testbeds built for Research are usually useful for research purposes only, while some Testbeds may be used by both researchers and industry players interested in trying out pre-deployment uses cases for certain technologies. The Industry continues to build its own Testbeds that are used internally within organizations such as CSPs (Communications Service Providers) or Solution Vendors, and in some cases some industrial Testbeds are useable to multiple organizations based on certain collaboration agreements that are closed only to the partners. Over the years it has increasingly been experienced that singly isolated standalone Testbeds are not sufficient to test and trial out certain technology uses cases because the use cases rather require the use of components and resources located in various Testbeds (due to the varying capabilities of the different Testbeds that need to be used). New ICT Technologies, Networks and Vertical Applications are becoming increasingly complex to test using Standalone Testbeds. Hence, Federated Testbeds bring sustainability in fostering environments for quick innovations and testing of complex technologies and use cases, and for quicker time to market for products and services. And so, federated testbeds bring a lot of value to research use cases and industrial use cases. Yet, Standards have been lacking in this increasingly very important area of Testbeds Federations and Interoperability.
What is the desire of the Industry now and into the future regarding the area of Testbeds Federations?
There is an urgent need to build an Ecosystem for enabling Sustainable Testbeds Development, Evolutions, and Federations based on the newly required Standards for Testbeds Federations (including the required APIs (Applications Programming Interfaces) for Testbeds Federations) and Interoperability. This call by the Industry (i.e. this Requirement) is becoming immensely louder across the whole ICT Industry and Verticals alike, especially in this era of automation and consideration of emerging impacts of pandemics like COVID-19 on products developments and lifecycle management. Motivated by this growing Industry Requirement for Standards based Testbeds Federations and Interoperability and the required Ecosystem, the scope of this Workshop is Testbeds Federations for 5G & Beyond, Interoperability of the Testbeds Federations, and Standardization of Testbeds Federation Reference Model & APIs. Standards are the enablers for Interoperability and for ensuring fair share among the various stakeholders, on Innovations Opportunities and Time-to-Market Acceleration for Products and Services. Standards based Frameworks for Testbeds Federation also enable to realize New Business Models for Testbeds Suppliers.
It is important to note that Research Communities and the Industry (Solutions vendors/suppliers, CSPs, Enterprises, and Standards Development Organizations (SDOs)/Fora) all have roles to play in this desired Ecosystem that should be built now and into the future, in this era of
“Software’rization” of ICT Networks, 5G and Beyond. Part of the Objectives of this Workshop is to help identify and communicate the roles of the various stakeholders, moving forward.
ITU-T, ETSI and IEEE are major SDOs working on the topic of Testbeds for 5G and Beyond.
IEEE is working on the following aspects regarding Testbeds for 5G and Beyond:
One of the objectives of the IEEE Future Networks Initiative (FNI) Testbeds WG is to collaborate with the vendor community and research community and thus expand upon the existing testbeds towards federated development of testbeds for next generation networks. The Group is part of the larger International Network Generations Roadmap (INGR) project, a semi-annual technical document highlighting network technology evolutions and challenges over 3-, 5- and 10-year horizons across 15 WGs. The Group is also curating a directory of available 5G and beyond networking testbeds for use by both academic and industry research groups. By leveraging the IEEE community, the directory of testbeds and instrumentation can be used to showcase platforms currently available for use and what their specifications and capabilities are. Such a directory will also identify gaps in availability and capabilities.
NOTE: Such a Directory can be one of the very important enablers for building Federated Testbeds and associated Standards.
When implemented, the directory aims to provide the following:
While on the other hand, ETSI TC INT and ITU-T SG11 recently launched Joint Work on Standardization of an Architectural Reference Model and APIs for Testbeds Federations for 5G and Beyond, and some Instantiation Use Cases of the Generic Reference Model. The hope of this Joint Work of ETSI and ITU-T is that the Architectural Reference Model being defined and is to be standardized by ETSI and ITU-T can be used by other SDOs/Fora and Research Communities working on Testbeds Federations to guide them on how they can help address the Testbeds Federation APIs being defined in the Reference Model and its Instantiations in implementations of specific Types of Testbeds (e.g. Internet-of-Things(IoT) Testbed, RAN Testbed, MEC Testbed, Transport Network Testbed, Core Network Testbed, Data Centre Testbed, Industrial Internet Testbed, etc.). The reason being that there may be some APIs already defined and implemented in industry and/or by research communities that would fulfil the APIs Requirements or can be extended to fulfil the Requirements being prescribed by the Reference Model. Some APIs may need to be newly developed in any SDOs/Fora Group that may be able to work on specific APIs (e.g. in IEEE, ETSI or ITU-T or other SDOs/Fora) or by Research communities working on 5G and Beyond, in order to fulfil the APIs Requirements being outlined in the Reference Model Standard. In this area there is need to join forces and build synergies in order to foster a global harmonized ecosystem on Standards for Testbeds Federations as to be guided by the Reference Model. Two Levels of APIs are being defined in the Reference Model, namely:
OBJECTIVES OF THE WORKSHOP
- Generic APIs that are agnostic to the Type of Testbed,
- APIs that are specific to a Type of Testbed, with Generic APIs invoking Testbed Specific APIs during Testbeds utilization for various Use Cases and Test Scenarios
This Workshop provided a platform for ETSI, ITU-T and IEEE to Brainstorm and share ideas on Testbeds Federation Challenges, including:
the Testbeds Federation Reference Model being jointly standardized by ETSI and ITU;
APIs Requirements for Testbeds Federations and what may have been achieved in this area with respect to existing API implementations by Research communities and the Industry;
how to use the Reference Model to guide Research and Industry to contribute to the development of the APIs being prescribed by the Reference Model;
- how the SDOs can potentially share the burden on APIs Standardization and on Roadmaps in a harmonized and collaborative way;
Potential New Business Models for Testbeds Suppliers that derive from the Testbeds Federations Reference Model.
The Workshop aimed to engage the various Stakeholders (Research Communities, Researchers on 5G and Beyond, Industry Users of Testbeds, Testbeds Suppliers for 5G Testbeds and other Testbeds, CSPs, Infrastructure Vendors/Suppliers for ICT and Verticals, Open Source & Open Hardware Projects, Regulators, and any other interested parties) to discuss the roles the various Stakeholders can play in the desired Ecosystem to be built by the SDOs. With main focus and target being Testbeds Federations for Industry-grade Use Cases.
Registration was mandatory to access the workshop via remote tool.
Participation in the workshop was open for ITU Member States, Sector Members, Associates and Academic Institutions and to any individual from a country that is a member of ITU, who wishes to contribute to the work. The event was open to ETSI and IEEE members and non-members, particularly Research Communities, Researchers on 5G and Beyond, Industry Users of Testbeds, Testbeds Suppliers for 5G Testbeds and other Testbeds, CSPs, Infrastructure Vendors/Suppliers for ICT and Verticals, Regulators, and any other interested parties or stakeholders active in this field of expertise.
Watch recorded sessions below