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ETSI launches specs for next-gen IP protocols and 5G services

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ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, has released a new specification and reports to optimise the performance, efficiency and scalability of new 5G services.

Such services include network slicing or ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLC). In an ETSI report entitled Recommendation for New Transport Technologies there is an analysis of current transport technologies such as Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and its limitations.

The report offers some high-level insights and guidance as to the architectural features needed in transport technology that would support new applications for 5G, as well as a framework that has a clear separation between control and data planes.

“Current IP protocols for core and access networks need to evolve and offer a much better service to mobile traffic than the current TCP/IP-based technology,” said John Grant, chairman of the ETSI Next Generation Protocol ISG. “Our specifications offer solutions that are compatible with both IPv4 and IPv6, providing an upgrade path to the more efficient and responsive system that is needed to support 5G.”

In a separate report called End-to-end Network Slicing Reference Framework and Information Model it examines network slicing and the design principles behind it. In addition, it includes the resources used by services in network slices to provide sharing of physical networks across multiple administrative and technology domains with the capacity of each user being assured.

As for the new ETSI specification GS NGP 013, it describes Flexilink – a deterministic packet forwarding in user plane, packet formats and forwarding mechanisms. The new specification specifies user plane packet formats and routing mechanisms that allow core and access networks to support the new services for 5G.

IP packets for example carry all the information needed to route it to its destination but newer technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) route flows instead of individual packets. Flexilink in contrast enables packet headers to a label, which acts as an index into the routing table offering improved header compression and improved security.