SoftCell: Taking Control of Cellular Core Networks
Existing cellular networks suffer from inflexible and expensive equipment, and complex control-plane protocols. To address these challenges, the authors present SoftCell, a scalable architecture for supporting fine-grained policies for mobile devices in cellular core networks. The SoftCell controller realizes high-level service polices by directing traffic over paths that traverse a sequence of middleboxes, optimized to the network conditions and user locations. To ensure scalability, the core switches forward traffic on hierarchical addresses (grouped by base station) and policy tags (identifying paths through middleboxes). This minimizes data-plane state in the core switches, and pushes all fine-grained state to software switches at the base stations.