Asynchronous Time-Sensitive Networking for 5G Backhauling

Fifth Generation (5G) phase 2 rollouts are around the corner to make mobile ultra-reliable and low-latency services a reality. However, to realize that scenario, besides the new 5G built-in Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URLLC) capabilities, it is required to provide a substrate network with deterministic Qual-ity-of-Service support for interconnecting the different 5G network functions and services. Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) appears as an appealing network technology to meet the 5G connectivity needs in many scenarios involving critical services and their coexistence with Mobile Broadband traffic. In this article, we delve into the adoption of asynchronous TSN for 5G backhauling and some of the relevant related aspects. We start motivating TSN and introducing its mainstays. Then, we provide a comprehensive overview of the architecture and operation of the Asynchronous Traffic Shaper (ATS), the building block of asynchronous TSN. Next, a management framework based on ETSI Zero-touch network and Service Management (ZSM) and Abstraction and Control of Traffic Engineered Networks (ACTN) reference models is presented for enabling the TSN transport network slicing and its interworking with Fifth Generation (5G) for backhauling. Then we cover the flow allocation problem in asynchronous TSNs and the importance of Machine Learning techniques for assisting it. Last, we present a simulation-based proof-of-concept (PoC) to assess the capacity of ATS-based forwarding planes for accommodating 5G data flows.