SD-RAN project is based on the µONOS architecture, which is centered on micro-services and use of gRPC APIs for
inter-process communication. As such, the project relies on several µONOS platform components and libraries,
The µONOS RIC (RIC for short) follows a similar structure to other µONOS subsystems in that it clearly delineates roles of its southbound, northbound and core/store components. O-RAN specification portrays the near-RT apps (xApps) as being part of the overall RIC. This is similar to how apps are placed in the ONOS classic architecture - as kernel extensions.
The high-level structure of the RIC is depicted in the following schematic:
The RIC system can be thought of as a “chassis”. This chassis includes a number of key subsystems that constitute the RIC platform. The near-RT applications can then be installed into this “chassis” and will use gRPC-based APIs to interact with the various RIC platform services.
The following are the key RIC platform services and a summary of their roles:
E2 Termination - handles external ASN.1/SCTP connections to E2 nodes and acts as a relay for applications to receive and send E2SM messages
A1 Termination - handles external JSON/HTTP REST API requests from northbound orchestration systems and non-real time applications
O1 Termination - handles external XML(YANG)/NETCONF configuration requests and various operations-related tasks
E2 Subscription Management - manages subscription requests for E2SM messages and assists in routing of messages between E2 termination nodes and applications
R-NIB Service - tracks and disseminates information about the E2 nodes and their relationships in the RAN environment
UE-NIB Service - tracks and disseminates information about the end-nodes (UEs)
Storage Facilities - facilities for applications to maintain their state in a distributed, scalable and highly-available manner
Each of the above services is (or will be) be implemented as a separate micro-service and each will allow running multiple instances to provide for scalability and high-availability. The plan is to implement all services in Golang, for consistency with the other µONOS services and to take advantage of a number of µONOS patterns and libraries. One small exception may be some parts of the E2 termination, which may utilize some C libraries to assist in transcoding ASN.1 and protobuf messages.
Each of the “termination” services provides an exterior interface to interact with the outside environment using the protocols and encodings specified by the O-RAN standards. They will also provide an interior gRPC interface for use by the RIC applications.
To simplify development of RIC applications and to avoid proliferation of similar code-patterns, an SDK is provided in form of a library that applications can link with. The role of the SDK is to encapsulate some of the complexities of dealing with individual gRPC services and to provide implementation of client-side logic, which is likely to be shared by many applications. One example of this is handling individual connections to E2T nodes in order to be able to receive E2 indications.
The initial version of SD-RAN platform instantiates the above elements of the architecture as follows:
E2 Termination - implemented via
A1 Termination - not implemented yet
O1 Termination - partially implemented via
onos-configand gNMI, rather than via NETCONF
E2 Subscription Management - implemented via
R-NIB Service - backed by
UE-NIB Service - initial implementation relies on apps to maintain their inventory of UEs
Storage Facilities - backed by
atomixand related libraries