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ProCAST: Proactive Edge CAching for Content Delivery Networks powered by Hybrid Satellite/Terrestrial Backhauling

Funding source: FNR-CORE
Principal investigator: Prof. Bjorn Ottersten
VPIs: Dr. Symeon Chatzinotas, Dr. Thang X. Vu
Researchers: Dr. Symeon Chatzinotas, Dr. Thang X. Vu, Dr. Satya Vuppala, Sumit Gautam
Starting date and Duration: July 1st, 2018, 3 years

The vision of 5G networks is facing with the massive increase in traffic due to the proliferation of diverse connected devices, e.g., smart phones and IoT devices, and data-hungry application, e.g., 2K and 4K video. According to the CISCO white paper, “Global mobile data traffic grew 74 percent in 2015” and “Global mobile data traffic will increase nearly eightfold between 2015 and 2020”. This perspective seems very promising for content providers, since they can provide improved services and reap the benefits either through subscriptions or advertising. Nevertheless, looking at this from a telecom operator’s point of view, it is obvious that video traffic will become a bottleneck and put excessive strain on current communication networks. On the other hand, video traffic also results in revenue growth. However, telecom operators do not have direct access to the revenue generated through video content delivery and as a result they cannot use it to upgrade their infrastructure. To add insult to injury, spectrum has become scarce and the operators cannot easily access new bands to upgrade their wireless access and backhaul segments. Following a different paradigm, major telecom operators have been building their own Content Delivery Networks (also known as Telco CDNs) and in some cases have even joined forces with major network CDN players such as the Maldives operator with Google, and Orange with Akamai. CDNs aim at serving content to end-users with high availability and high performance by using in-network or edge caching. The main benefit in Telco CDNs is that the operators have access both to the physical infrastructure and the network services and this allows for a higher degree of cross-optimization and transmission efficiency.

Figure 1 High-level Network Architecture for Cellular Edge Caching

In this context, ProCAST will investigate how edge caching can prevent video traffic from congesting current communication networks. Particularly, caching at the network edge can be instrumental in reducing the long dumb pipes that move repetitive information through the core network. More importantly, hybrid satellite/terrestrial networks will be used to optimize the backhaul capacity needed for caching. This is a key element since satellite networks can deliver large amounts of delay-tolerant information with just two hops to multiple edge nodes through geocasting (broad/multicasting across large geographic areas). This will take the load off the multihop terrestrial backhaul networks which can be used to deliver the unicast broadband services that they were originally designed for.

Funding Details:

  • Funding Source: National Research Fund, Luxembourg
  • Project start date: July 1st, 2018
  • Expected End date: June 30th, 2021

Management Team:

Research Team: 

Structure and Work Packages:

  • WP1: State of the Art and Scenario Definition
  • WP2: Adaptive Transmission Strategies for Satellite-assisted Content Delivery
  • WP3: Proactive Edge Caching Algorithms with hybrid Satellite/Terrestrial backhauling
  • WP4: Energy-Efficient Design and Optimization for Edge-caching Content delivery networks
  • WP5: Project Management, Dissemination and Valorisation

Expected Outcomes:

  1. Novel integrated Satellite/Terrestrial backhaul for Wireless edge caching
  2. Proactive caching algorithms to improve the network KPIs
  3. Energy-efficient design for edge caching networks
  4. An edited book and publication portfolio