OpenAirInterface: A Flexible Platform for 5G Research

N. Nikaein, M. Marina, S. Manickam, A. Dawson, R. Knopp, C. Bonnet
Appears in: 
CCR October 2014

Driven by the need to cope with exponentially growing mobile data traffic and to support new traffic types from massive numbers of machine-type devices, academia and industry are thinking beyond the current generation of mobile cellular networks to chalk a path towards fifth generation (5G) mobile networks. Several new approaches and technologies are being considered as potential elements making up such a future mobile network, including cloud RANs, application of SDN principles, exploiting new and unused portions of spectrum, use of massive MIMO and full-duplex communications. Research on these technologies requires realistic and flexible experimentation platforms that offer a wide range of experimentation modes from real-world experimentation to controlled and scalable evaluations while at the same time retaining backward compatibility with current generation systems. Towards this end, we present OpenAirInterface (OAI) as a suitably flexible platform. In addition, we discuss the use of OAI in the context of several widely mentioned 5G research directions.