Communication Networks Division

The Communication Networks division (CND) aims at optimizing the network infrastructure end-to-end. This includes core, metro, and access, optical and wireless, transport and aggregation, fixed and mobile networks. Its research goes beyond fundamental and theoretical research, moving towards a more practical and experimental stage by developing complete simulation frameworks and testbeds with the goal of transferring the technology to industry, hence reaching higher technology readiness levels (TRLs).

CND has two departments:



The goal of the MONET department is to increase the flexibility whilst optimizing the performance of future heterogeneous and dynamic (wireless) networks by combining cloud computing, data networking and mobile networking design principles. This includes the integration of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) in the RAN, backhaul, and core towards a programmable, self-organized, and energy efficient network operation.

This goal is achieved by working on three main research lines: i) elastic mobile networks, which includes software-defined mobile networks and network resource virtualization including the smooth orchestration of computing and mobile and transport networks, ii) big data for mobile networks, dealing with self-organized networks and cognitive network optimization (incl. LTE-U and LAA coexistence scenarios) by applying machine learning, as well as the exploitation of network-level information to optimize processes external to the network, such as those of a city or utility grids, and iii) sustainable mobile networks, which include energy efficient algorithms and nearly-zero energy networks that exploit harvested energy.

At the methodological level, two main tools are being developed by the MONET department. The open source ns-3 simulator is not only used as simulator, but also as emulator in our experimental proof-of-concepts. More specifically, the LTE network simulator/emulator (LENA), which has become the de facto standard in the research community for LTE simulations, also provides an LTE protocol stack for our experimental evaluations. The experimental work of the department is carried out over the EXTREME Testbed®, an SDN/NFV-based experimental framework for the evaluation of mobile network services, featuring a number of generic computing, storage, and networking elements to evaluate a wide range of scenarios of interest.

The goal of the ONS department is to contribute in defining the evolution of future transport networks (spanning from metro packet/circuit aggregation to core optical networks) towards intelligent (dynamic, self-star), high-capacity, low-cost, highly-flexible, scalable, and energy-efficient software-defined optical networks seamlessly integrated with massive cloud/fog computing and storage services. To achieve this goal, it focuses on two main research lines:


i)          Network Control and Service Management, to perform research on advanced service and resource control and orchestration, in an environment characterized by automated, adaptive and virtualized end-to-end infrastructures encompassing both heterogeneous multi-domain networks spanning access, aggregation metro and backbone network segments and geographically distributed computational resources, extending the Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) principles, main concepts and models.


ii)            Optical Transmission and Subsystems to provide SDN-enabled, programmable, adaptive and resource-efficient multi-dimensional optical transmission systems based on multicarrier modulation (MCM) technologies for dynamic and scalable elastic optical networks, as well as advanced performance monitoring and impairment mitigation techniques, fostering photonics technologies/devices to target novel advanced features and cost / energy consumption requirements.


Demonstration and validation of proof of concepts are performed by means of the ADRENALINE Testbed®, an experimental infrastructure designed and developed by the CTTC ONS Department to conduct cutting-edge research activities in the context of: i) end-to-end SDN and NFV services integrating cloud, metro and core networks; ii) coherent and direct detection Optical MCM and programmable multi-adaptive systems for backhaul and backbone networks.