Providing multitenant, multiaccess, and multiservice solutions in communities is a key enabler to sustain innovations and economic development in society. This article investigates a solution for rearchitecting a telecommunications company’s (telco’s) central office to offer services in a smart community, enabled by virtual network function elements running on a smart edge. At the same time, these elements manage a multiaccess underlying infrastructure and deploy telco services with minimal resource consumption. This solution has successfully been implemented in a living lab model the authors built within a Canadian university, providing various Internet of Things (IoT) services such as smart grid monitoring and public safety. The virtual smart edge flexibly routes traffic, aggregates, and splits flows across a heterogeneous network to achieve network operational efficiency, as well as optimizes computing resource allocation for last-mile IoT services hosted close to the end user. Instead of reducing resource consumption in a single home as in the traditional approach, this solution minimizes a community’s global consumption.
Keywords: CORD, NFV, smart edge, virtualization