Special Issue "Vertical-Oriented Network Services over SDN/NFV towards 5G"

A special issue of Future Internet (ISSN 1999-5903).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Barbara Martini

Head of Research – CNIT - National Laboratory of Photonic Networks and Technologies
Website | E-Mail
Interests: software-defined networking for clouds; service and management platforms for IP/optical next-generation networks; network virtualization and orchestration; security in multi-domain networks
Guest Editor
Dr. Federica Paganelli

University of Pisa
Website | E-Mail
Interests: service-oriented systems; network function virtualization; software defined infrastructures; orchestration of cloud and network resources; context-aware systems; web of things

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

5G will not only be an evolution of mobile broadband networks, it will bring new unique network and service capabilities by integrating networking, computing and storage resources into one programmable and unified infrastructure while serving a multitude of distributed smart devices and applications (e.g., robots, drones, smart vehicles), in turn being part of the infrastructure itself. Moreover, new radio capabilities will foster significantly higher throughput and lower latencies that will enable new applications in several domains, e.g., verticals, such as automotive, cloud robotics, smart cities, health, just to mention a few. This multi-facet technology evolution promises tremendous commercial opportunities for service providers provided that they enhance their network capabilities and operations toward higher scalability and flexibility to address stringent requirements of many different vertical services.

Technologies, such as Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN), play a prominent role in the strategic blueprint for service providers, enabling the scalable and flexible network operation demanded by vertical applications. Indeed, SDN allows for programmable network control and elastic allocation of the network resources. On the other hand, NFV enables software-based network functions while leveraging scalability of cloud technologies. Another correlated trend is the deployment of distributed micro-clouds located at the network edge (e.g., Edge/Fog Computing) providing service platforms to vertical applications that need a tighter interaction with users and low latency.

A scenario can be envisioned where (telco) service providers may offer not only communication services, but also provide complete virtual networks along with distributed virtualized computing and storage resources by elastically slicing the infrastructure into partitions (i.e., network slices) customized for specific verticals. These slices will elastically deliver a composition of both network functions (e.g., security, traffic optimization, virtual radio network) and application services (e.g., machine learning, data analytics) specialized for the vertical application.  

To address a new set of more stringent requirements while considering the peculiarities of each vertical industry, 5G networks have to be deployed through intelligent control and management platforms leveraging orchestration to encompass with heterogeneous resource pools (i.e., network, compute and storage) and to cope with a dynamic context of users, services and resources. An end-to-end vision is mandatory where applications and network services are dynamically composed and flexibly provisioned across virtualized infrastructures and leveraging distributed service delivery platforms serving end-users and smart devices/terminals.

This Special Issue calls for conceptual, theoretical and experimental contributions discussing and treating challenges that derive from such emerging scenario where systems, processes, and workflows used in both computing and communications domains are converging. The special issue welcomes contributions from both computing and network-oriented research communities, with the aim of presenting interdisciplinary approaches, innovative solutions and best practices toward a real programmatic use of virtualized infrastructures toward addressing peculiar vertical service platforms requirements. We invite researchers and practitioners from academia, industry, network operators, and service providers to submit papers describing original, previously unpublished work, not currently under review by another conference, workshop, or journal.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • 5G network slice management
  • orchestration of distributed clouds (including fog/edge computing environments)
  • integrated network and computing resource control, management and orchestration
  • multi-domain and multi-tenant orchestration issues
  • control, abstraction and orchestration of heterogeneous resources in 5G networks
  • abstraction, interface and protocols for vertical-oriented resource orchestration QoS/QoE in SDN/NFV addressing vertical service requirements
  • vertical-oriented network slice management
  • software engineering and operating systems techniques applied to orchestration for 5G services
  • AI techniques for network orchestration and automation
  • testbed experiments on orchestrations for 5G, vertical services and slicing
  • optimal orchestration algorithms
  • dynamic service composition and delivery
  • functional architectures of orchestrating elements
  • standardization issues in orchestration and slice management
  • run-time orchestration for vertical-oriented slice deployments
  • studies and experiments of vertical services (e.g., smart cities, automotive, health, Internet of Things, etc.) leveraging 5G SDN/NFV infrastructures
Prof. Barbara Martini
Dr. Federica Paganelli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Future Internet is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • network slicing
  • resource orchestration
  • vertical-oriented networks
  • Software Defined Networking
  • Network Function Virtualization
  • 5G

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Civil Aviation Communications Path towards 5G
Author: George Elmasry
Abstract: This paper discusses the impact of 5G on the civil aviation communications industry showing how incremental steps can be considered as 5G evolves. The paper shows the competing forces that can influence the evolution path of the civil aviation communications where air-to-ground links can be (1) broadband satellites links for backhauling; (2) mm-wave backhauling links pointing to the ground; or (3) futuristic 5G non terrestrial links where the aircraft mm-wave antenna will track and point to the 5G space platform (satellite or High Altitude UAS Platform -- HAP). The paper also shows how 5G may need to be tied to developing an aircraft Software Defined Router (SDR) that allows the adaptation to the unforeseen requirements for using 5G in this highly regulated industry.
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