MUSCLES: Mobile Ubiquitous Small Cells for Low-cost Energy and Spectrum efficient service delivery












































































MUSCLES Overview








Multimedia applications and specifically video delivered to your smart phone are blooming with internet services, which are increasingly becoming a standard in today’s generation. Additionally, video is starting to dominate the mobile traffic, exceeding 50% for the first time in 2012 ‎[1]. All these applications are must have on the move, on any device. These trends have pushed the mobile traffic to reach unprecedented growth rate, which is expected to continue ‎[1]. To address the capacity requirements, operators have been heavily investing in 4G networks, based on LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard and its evolution, LTE-A. This increase in capacity, taking place especially in urban centers, has been achieved thanks to the newly adopted concept of mobile network densification, which implies large investments from the mobile operators to acquire new base stations and other network equipment. Furthermore, as the 4G system (in addition to the coming 5G) will need to coexist with existing networks (e.g. 3G / WiFi), the result will be a dense, and complex, heterogeneous network topology (HetNet). This situation poses new challenges in the management of the radio access network, which has implications in the operating and maintenance costs of the network.
In the competitive environment of mobile communications sector, all issues related to optimization and cost reduction are of utmost importance. In this context, MUSCLES project aims to investigate, and implement a software platform that supports the autonomous management of self-organizing LTE-A networks, which is capable of automatic detection and resolution of issues that are currently manually handled by mobile operators, thereby reducing the operating costs (OPEX) substantially.
The project commits to the creation of tangible outputs, this includes not only implementations and showcases, but also the creation of commercially exploitable intellectual property. By definition, MUSCLES is a research not a development project, however a number of products are envisaged:

  • Self-organizing on-demand mobile small cell;
  • A system level simulator (SLS), which can serve as an experimental platform to investigate new complicated scenarios;
  • A new Software product for automatic management of mobile networks, based on the latest SON algorithms;
  • A SW tool for the design of dense backhaul/access networks operating at mmwave frequencies based on GIS information and a variety of installation and operation constraints;
  • New business models built on top of the disruptive network structure, where services provide a sophisticated, solely IP-based audio-visual content delivery system to the content provider with transparent and seamless handover to the mobile operators’ network.

Foreseen products and software

  • A system level simulation platform that can be offered to mobile operators or service providers, for sale or for providing a service by running evaluation campaigns for them;
  • A software for automatic management of mobile network providing SON functionalities to reduce OPEX of mobile operators;
  • A network design tool, accessible via a web browser interface, capable of full mm-wave network design including the selection of sites, connectivity determination, network synthesis subject to a variety of user constraints, interference planning;
  • A new product for virtual TV playout station, allowing players to easily setup own, low-cost, on-the-go TV channels.



The MUSCLES project is structured into 6 Work Packages (WPs).









WP1 – Management
This work package mainly aims at the overall management of the project.

WP2 – Scenarios, Architecture Definition and Business Cases
WP2 is mainly concerned with the definition of the scenarios for demonstrating practical solutions for the deployment of mobile small cells and automated network management. The scenarios will be further elaborated to include the technical framework/objectives and performance metrics that will act as the launch pad for technical activities of the remaining WPs.

WP3 - Self-organizing networks for heterogeneous mobile networking and mobility
This WP represents the main core of the MUSCLES project. Within such WP, the main proposed algorithms and solutions will be studied and designed. This WP is responsible for the design of all the building blocks of the overall MUSCLES solution.
The first task will investigate two research challenges of the project: positioning and the analysis of the network data. The second task deals with the automation of the mobile network management. The task will address both self-optimization, as well as self-healing features for enabling and enhancing the automatic management of the radio network based on SON functionalities. The third task is dedicated for the multimedia services that can be offered on top of the envisioned infrastructure of network of heterogeneous cells. The task will address the provision of different mobile services, while the final task is responsible for studying GIS and geo-location assisted robust mm-wave mesh network design tool.

WP4 - System-level Simulator (SLS) design and algorithm analysis
WP4 represents the first phase of the validation process of the MUSCLES proposed solutions. The WP will be designated to design and implement a full system-level simulator (SLS), with capabilities to simulate all the new functionalities of the envisioned heterogeneous network. Accordingly, the SLS will be used to validate and assess the performance of the different proposed algorithms of MUSCLES project.

WP5 - MUSCLES system integration and validation
The objective of WP5 is to provide a proof of concept of MUSCLES solution showcasing the enhancements achieved in the performance of the mobile networks, in addition to the verification of the automation of the network management, based on SON functionalities. The main demonstrative showcase of MUSCLES will be built based on the ALB’s tool ALTAIA.

WP6 - Dissemination and standardization
This activity requires preparing plans for dissemination of knowledge gained during the project, for exploitation of the results and for demonstration of the system concept developed within the project. The goal is to promote dissemination of the project results in conferences, journals and other means such as social media outlets, as well as to demonstrate the MUSCLES system concept at key events and exhibitions. Moreover, inputs to standardization bodies are foreseen and if possible, clusters with related European and international research projects will be established.