ETSI launches new group on Non-IP Networking addressing 5G new services

Sophia Antipolis, 7 April 2020

ETSI is pleased to announce the creation of a new Industry Specification Group addressing Non-IP Networking (ISG NIN). The kick-off-meeting took place on 25 March and John Grant, BSI, was elected as the ISG Chair, and Kevin Smith, Vodafone, was elected as ISG Vice Chair.

With the increasing challenges placed on modern networks to support new use cases and greater connectivity, Service Providers are looking for candidate technologies that may serve their needs better than the TCP/IP-based networking used in current systems.

ISG NIN intends to develop standards that define technologies to make more efficient use of capacity, have security by design, and provide lower latency for live media.

In 2015, several mobile operators identified problems with the TCP/IP-based technology used in 4G. These included the complex and inefficient use of spectrum resulting from adding mobility, security, quality-of-service, and other features to a protocol that was never designed for them. The subsequent fixes and workarounds designed to overcome these problems themselves incur increased cost, latency, and greater power-consumption. TCP/IP was therefore deemed as non-optimal for the more advanced 5G services.

An ETSI Industry Specification Group on Next Generation Protocols (ISG NGP), created in 2015, had the mission to analyse these problems and suggest alternative solutions. ISG NGP identified candidate technologies that would address the issues directly, dramatically reducing header sizes, per-packet processing, and latency experienced by live media, while remaining compatible with the current Internet and with newer technologies such as SDN and MPLS. ISG NGP also published a set of Key Performance Indicators that allow an objective assessment of the ability of networking protocols to meet operators’ needs.

Today, we see the evolution of ISG NGP in a new group dedicated to the specification of alternative technologies to better serve the new 5G applications, as well as being more efficient and easier to manage, with lower CapEx and OpEx, when used for current applications.

It is expected that the work of ISG NIN will be applicable initially to private mobile networks such as factory automation, and then expanded to public systems, both in the Core network and eventually end to end including the Radio elements.

The group’s first output will be a Report detailing the shortcomings of TCP/IP, and how the new alternative system would overcome those shortcomings. ISG NIN will also work on specifying how the technologies initially identified by ISG NGP will form the basis of the new protocols, as well as creating a framework for testing the efficiency and effectiveness of the new protocols, including over radio.

I’m really happy to have been entrusted with the Chairmanship of this group. Finding new protocols for internet more suitable to the 5G era was essential. Big data and mission-critical systems such as industrial control, intelligent vehicles. and remote medicine cannot be addressed the best way with current TCP/IP-based networking” says John Grant, Chair of ISG NIN.

The IP stack and OSI layer model have undeniably enabled global connectivity – but since they originated in the 1970s, their design reflects the demands and capabilities of that era. Reassessing the fundamental design principles of network protocols offers the opportunity to deliver performance, security and efficiency gains for 2020 access networks and use cases, and may be achieved with simplification rather than expensive add-ons. The work of ETSI ISG NIN, in co-operation with industry organizations, can provide operators with a cutting-edge protocol suite to add to their service portfolio” says Kevin Smith, Vice Chair of ISG NIN.

About ETSI
ETSI provides members with an open and inclusive environment to support the development, ratification and testing of globally applicable standards for ICT systems and services across all sectors of industry and society.  We are a not-for-profit body with more than 900 member organizations worldwide, drawn from 65 countries and five continents. Members comprise a diversified pool of large and small private companies, research entities, academia, government and public organizations. ETSI is officially recognized by the EU as a European Standards Organization (ESO). For more information please visit us at https://www.etsi.org/.

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Claire Boyer
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