Network function virtualization (NFV) prescribes the instantiation of network functions on general-purpose network devices, such as servers and switches. While yielding a more flexible and cost-effective network architecture, NFV is potentially limited by the fact that commercial off-the-shelf hardware is less reliable than the dedicated network elements used in conventional cellular deployments. The typical solution for this problem is to duplicate network functions across geographically distributed hardware in order to ensure diversity. In contrast, this letter proposes to leverage channel coding in order to enhance the robustness on NFV to hardware failure. The proposed approach targets the network function of uplink channel decoding, and builds on the algebraic structure of the encoded data frames in order to perform in-network coding on the signals to be processed at different servers. The key principles underlying the proposed coded NFV approach are presented for a simple embodiment and extensions are discussed. Numerical results demonstrate the potential gains obtained with the proposed scheme as compared to the conventional diversity-based fault-tolerant scheme in terms of error probability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Network function virtualization (NFV)
- channel coding
- fault tolerance