Cutting Edge Features

TurboRAN 5G testbed is designed to accommodate a multitude of research themes for future mobile cellular networks. To enable these research themes, TurboRAN will incorporate cutting edge features that will leverage high performance hardware combined with state-of-the-art commercial and open source software.


Multi-tier Cellular Network:

The mobile cellular network deployed as part of TurboRAN includes three tiers of cells including ~200m radius micro cells, ~20m radius small cells, and 1m-5m radius nano cells. The network will enable testing of multi-layer handover and load balancing tests along with other use cases related to ultra-dense heterogeneous networks.


Fiber Optic Backhaul:

TurboRAN infrastructure includes outdoor micro and small cells that will be connected to dedicated core network through fiber optic cable backhaul. The cabling will be laid out solely for the purpose of this project to ensure the possibility of testing Gigabit speed transmissions that are one of the key requirements for 5G mobile cellular networks.


Open Source and Commercial EPCs:

One of the key features of TurboRAN are the open source and commercial packet cores deployed to support the multi-tiered mobile cellular network. The commercial packet core will allow the use of state-of-the-art LTE features for development of SON solutions for immediate in the near future. For development of longer term solutions, TurboRAN will have an open source packet core which will allow testing of customized protocol stacks to enable solutions like CDSA and D-MUD. The combination of commercial and open source packet cores will ensure the solutions developed at TurboRAN will be relevant in the immediate and long-term future.


Open Source Cell Protocol Stacks:

Radio nodes included in the TurboRAN infrastructure will use open source protocol stacks to enable need-based customizations for SON solution development. The use of open source protocol stacks will tie in with the use of open source EPC core to enable testing of solutions such as CDSA.


Physical and Emulated Ues:

TurboRAN mobile cellular network includes a combination of physical and emulated UEs. The emulated UEs will be used to perform load testing on the radio and core network whereas physical UEs will be used to perform call, data and mobility testing. The use of physical UEs will also be used to collect network performance data that would be used to develop proactive SON solutions.


Mobile UEs and Cells:

TurboRAN includes mobile capabilities for both UEs and cell nodes. While UE mobility is a basic feature of any mobile cellular network, the use of mobile cells will allow testing of the network under different coverage conditions and development of proactive self-healing solutions. Mobility of cells will be ensured by mounting cells on autonomous mobile vehicles including autonomous ground and aerial robots.


Indoor and Outdoor Cellular Environments:

The RAN part of TurboRAN will include indoor and outdoor deployment of cells. The top two tiers including micro and small cells will be deployed in outdoor environment whereas the bottom tier will be deployed indoors. However, TurboRAN will incorporate mobility between each tier to emulate the ultra-dense heterogeneous networks of future mobile cellular networks.


Multiple Radio Access Technologies:

TurboRAN includes IEEE and 3GPP based cells to test the co-existence of LTE and Wi-Fi cells. Co-existence testing and protocol development is key in technologies such as LTE-U and License Assisted Access which are intermediary technologies between LTE and 5G networks.


mmWave, MIMO and beamforming:

TurboRAN cells consist of mmWave, MIMO and beamforming technologies. The use of these technologies is essential for the development of proactive SON solutions for future cellular networks. In TurboRAN, the micro cells will be equipped with antenna arrays to enable MIMO and beamforming capabilities whereas indoor nano cells will be equipped with mmWave antennas and specialized cell nodes for mmWave cell deployment and testing.


Autonomous Ground and Aerial Vehicles:

TurboRAN uses a combination of autonomous ground and aerial vehicles to enable mobile UEs and cells. Additionally, these machines will be used to developed empirical 3D signal propagation and interference models for mmWave and MIMO channel maps.


High-Performance Hadoop Data Processing Cluster:

TurboRAN is empowered by a high-performance Hadoop data processing cluster with 1 master and 16 slave nodes with high specifications and multi-Gigabit connectivity for high-speed transmission and processing. The cluster will empower big-data aided proactive SON solutions as well as other data-aided experiments to be developed by the PI and contributing research community.