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Existing cellular networks suffer from inflexible and expensive equipment, complex control-plane protocols, and vendor-specific configuration interfaces. In this position paper, the authors argue that Software Defined Networking (SDN) can simplify the design and management of cellular data networks, while enabling new services. However, supporting many subscribers, frequent mobility, fine-grained measurement and control, and real-time adaptation introduces new scalability challenges that future SDN architectures should address. As a first step, they propose extensions to controller platforms, switches, and base stations to enable controller applications to express high-level policies based on subscriber attributes, rather than addresses and locations, apply real-time, fine-grained control through local agents on the switches, perform deep packet inspection and header compression on packets, and remotely manage shares of base-station resources.
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