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Enabling Disaster Resilient 4G Mobile Communication Networks

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TitleEnabling Disaster Resilient 4G Mobile Communication Networks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsReynaud, L., K. Gomez, L. Goratti, and T. Rasheed
JournalIEEE Communications Magazine
Month PublishedDecember

The 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) is the cellular technology expected to outperform the previous generations and to some extent revolutionize the experience of the users by taking advantage of the most advanced radio access techniques (i.e. OFDMA, SC-FDMA, MIMO). However, the strong dependencies between user equipments (UEs), base stations (eNBs) and the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) limit the flexibility, manageability and resiliency in such networks. In case the communication links between UEs-eNB or eNB-EPC are disrupted, UEs are in fact unable to communicate. In this article, we reshape the 4G mobile network to move towards more virtual and distributed architectures for improving disaster resilience, drastically reducing the dependency between UEs, eNBs and EPC. The contribution of this work is twofold. We firstly present the Flexible Management Entity (FME), a distributed entity which leverages on virtualized EPC functionalities in 4G cellular systems. Second, we introduce a simple and novel device-to- device (D2D) communication scheme allowing the UEs in physical proximity to communicate directly without resorting to the coordination with an eNB.