Selfnet is an ambitious project which aims to give 5G networks self-healing properties. These properties take the form of an autonomic network management framework, which can forecast demand and ensure enough bandwidth has been allocated in advance. So for example during sporting events there will still be enough capacity for all network users.
It’s also being designed to protect against network failures, by automatically detecting and mitigating potential problems.
On top of that it will have built in protection against cyber-attacks, to prevent hackers from damaging it.
All of these things are currently manually addressed by network operators, so by automating them Selfnet will reduce operational costs and improve user experience.
This could be beneficial for any network, but it’s going to be especially useful for 5G, which is its focus, as it will help open up new possibilities.
For example, 5G is set to be fast enough for self-driving cars, but network stability when driving could still be an issue, one which Selfnet aims to address with its automatically allocated resources.
Similarly, improved bandwidth and reliability could mean that digital health services, such as mobile surgery, become viable.
Lead researcher Dr Jose Alcaraz-Calero said: "Put simply, Selfnet will allow 5G networks to make possible things that would have been considered science fiction just a few years ago.
"Of course, the improvement to ordinary phone users would also be vast. HD video streaming and conferencing would become a much more enjoyable experience, even when travelling, through self-optimisation."
Selfnet is being headed up by Dr Alcaraz-Calero and Dr Qi Wang at the University of the West of Scotland. It’s an EU-funded project set to run for three years and is one of 19 schemes taking place across Europe to design a cutting-edge 5G network. It consists of partners from the UK, Germany, Greece, Italy, Israel, Portugal and Spain.
- Visit the Selfnet website