OPOSSUM – Open Flow based system for multi Energy Domain

OPOSSUM provides a Software-defined Networking infrastructure for multiple domains in a heterogeneous telecom infrastructure.

OPOSSUM provides a Software-defined Networking infrastructure for multiple domains in a heterogeneous telecom infrastructure. To integrate a SDN based solutions will enable the possibility to establish different services on one physical infrastructure. This is the premises to establish metering system of different domains, e.g.: water, heat, and power, on one secure and reliable infrastructure or establishing critical or non-critical services, like control systems on top of the new architecture. This fulfils also the requirement of the strategic view of the EC to explore the possibility of deploying dedicated services on shard telecom infrastructure.

Project Sheet Projectsheet Opossum engl. (pdf)

To share a communication infrastructure with other applications and different service providers is a challenge and increases both the risk for security issues and the effort for network and configuration management. It is difficult to clearly separate multiple applications using the same IP-based infrastructure in a secure way. OpenFlow provides the possibility to properly isolate communication connections from each other and thus allows sharing of the available physical communication infrastructure in form of multiple virtual networks. This way OpenFlow helps to mitigate potential security risks, increase reliability through isolation from configuration errors of other applications and networks, and simplify configuration and management for both infrastructure users and providers.

Using this approach SDN opens the possibility for small telecom infrastructure and service providers to offer their physical communication infrastructure in the last mile to other application and service providers. In the past many projects for the establishment of a local broadband internet infrastructure were supported by local governments and the EC, for example through initiatives like “Fiber to the Home” or “Breitbandinitiative”. Network virtualization, by using an OpenFlow-based SDN architecture, is an innovative approach to share the physical broadband infrastructure in a secure and manageable way.

The project OPOSSUM tries to implement a conceptual evaluation of an OpenFlow-based SDN architecture for multiple energy (and other) service providers on a shared telecom infrastructure. For this purpose the requirements of (energy) applications regarding the network are analysed. Qualities of service parameters for example include properties like bandwidth, delay, jitter and packet loss. A conceptual architecture is designed that allows controlling and configuring the application-specific network flows. Finally, the architecture is validated in a continuous validation process in a real network in productive use with different energy applications. As an example application an already installed heat control system will be enabled to share the bandwidth of the physical infrastructure, based on a broadband fibre technology, with other applications. Such an application could for example be the water metering systems for the local government. After a successful implementation and integration both systems will run on the same telecommunication lines but each with their own upper-layer communication stacks. Because of potential security and implementation issues this type of common usage of a communication infrastructure among different application domains has been rarely implemented in the past. A virtual network configuration, based on software-defined networking, reduces the effort for communication providers to offer communication services on a shared infrastructure and will at the same time increase the willingness of service and application providers to accept and use such an architecture.

The main focus of already available and installed software-defined networks is to provide communication for big data centres around the world. Our approach is to find a solution for a broadband communication infrastructure provider to establish new products and acquire new users by sharing the available network. SDN/OpenFlow is the key technology to jointly use already installed broadband infrastructure.

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